Dr. Amy Kim, a dermatologist and mother of two, has created Dr. Amy’s Daily 4 – the 4 steps you need to take each and every day to keep your baby’s skin healthy and soft.
The fourth step of the Daily 4 is Spotting and Soothing eczema. Eczema impacts nearly 20% of the U.S. population and can strike babies as young as one month old. The medical terms for eczema is atopic dermatitis, and it is included in the atopic triad which includes atopic dermatitis, hay fever, and asthma. There is a continuous spectrum of eczema ranging from mild cases that can be spotted and treated at home, to moderate and severe cases that need the diagnosis and guidance from a dermatologist. In general, eczema results when sensitive skin gets too dry and irritated and becomes rashy. Eczema typically appears as an ill-defined pinkish to red rash, and it typically affects different body areas based on age. From one month old to two years old, eczema most commonly afflicts babies’ cheeks and the outer sides of the arms and legs. From two years old to 10 to 12 years old, the flexural areas like the antecubital and the popliteal areas are affected. From youth to adulthood, eczema can appear as small, round spots randomly on the body called nummular eczema to the focal eyelid or hand eczema.
Soothing eczema means both preventing and treating eczema as soon as you spot it. Begin soothing eczema with these four baby eczema treatment tips:
- Continue bathing your baby – Secondary infections drive eczema so you want to avoid that. Use pH-balanced cleansers. The pH of the skin is actually an acid ranking 4.5 to 5.5 in pH. A pH-balanced cleanser matches our skin acidity and ultimately makes you feel squeaky clean because fewer oils are taken away from the skin.
- Keep moisturizing your baby – Always slather on a moisturizing cream or ointment after the nightly bath routine. This allows a natural moisture to be sealed and locked in. Using an ointment based moisturizer is the best option during an eczema flare. Simply making the switch to an ointment-based moisturizer and using it once to multiple times a day can be all your baby’s skin needs to soothe the beginnings of an eczema flare.
- Use fragrance-free products only – The fragrance has become one of the top contact allergens founded testing of allergic contact dermatitis. It can take up to one hundred chemicals to compose a scent of one fragrance. Remember fragrance is there for us parent’s pleasure and not for our baby’s pleasure. If you choose to use a product with a scent, pick one using an essential oil like lavender, rosemary, or thyme. These oils have a lower allergen profile.
- Topical corticosteroids can be used for baby eczema treatment – The most common over-the-counter preparation of a topical corticosteroid is over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream. As a corticosteroid, hydrocortisone works by being anti-inflammatory and thus rash calming. At the first signs of an eczema flare, over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream can be used twice daily for two to three days for preventing eczema in babies. Please note that the Baby Pibu team and I recommend that all of its customers contact a physician before using a topical corticosteroid on your baby.
After 2 to 3 days, if symptoms have not improved, see your pediatrician or dermatologist for baby eczema treatment. Now that you’ve learned how to spot and soothe eczema, move on to learn how to spot and soothe diaper rash and cradle cap.