Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin problem that causes dryness, redness and itching on the skin. The skin of children with eczema is more sensitive than other people. Eczema rashes in babies usually appear on the scalp, cheeks, forehead and around the mouth. Eczema does not usually develop in the diaper area. In young school-age children, eczema rashes are usually seen in the elbow folds, behind the knees, on the neck and around the eyes.
What causes eczema?
Eczema is caused by problems in the skin barrier. There is a special protein called “filaggrin” in the outer layer of the skin, which plays an important role in the skin’s barrier function. Most children with eczema don’t have enough of this protein, so it becomes harder for the skin to retain water and keep out bacteria and environmental irritants. Eczama tends to occur along with other allergic conditions such as asthma and allergic rhinitis. Most children with eczema also have food allergies, so care should be taken about food allergies.
Eczema is not contagious.
Eczema is not contagious, but children with eczema are more prone to skin infections. Since children with eczema do not have a strong enough skin barrier, microbes that usually live harmlessly on everyone’s skin can cause infections in children with eczema. If inflammation, discharge, crusting, increased redness or swelling occur on the eczema rash, a doctor should be consulted.
Baby skin care routine
Eczema can be challenging for children and their parents, especially as it can reduce sleep quality due to itching. Symptoms can be alleviated with a good treatment planned by the doctor and a healthy skin care routine.
- In babies with eczema, the skin barrier cannot retain water well. As a result, the skin becomes dry, cracked and itchy. Moisturize your baby’s skin every day with a fragrance-free moisturizer.
- Use only fragrance-free, hypoallergenic cleansers. Avoid scrubbing your baby’s skin with anything rough. Don’t use bubble bath in the bath water. Apply moisturizing cream to your baby’s skin after each bath while the skin is still damp. If your doctor has prescribed any topical medications, apply them to the rash areas before moisturizer.
- Dress your baby in 100% cotton, soft fabrics. Use mild, unscented laundry detergents, do not use softeners.
- American Academy of Pediatrics (2023). Eczema in Babies and Children. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/skin/Pages/Eczema.aspx
- American Academy of Pediatrics (2023). How to Treat & Control Eczema Rashes in Children. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/skin/Pages/How-to-Treat-and-Control-Eczema-Rashes-in-Children.aspx