Eczema is a skin condition that affects up to one in five children, typically before the age of five with almost half of cases occurring before six months of age. There are several different ways to try baby eczema treatment which we will discuss in this blog post. These tips are here to help you soothe your baby and for you to use alongside expert medical advice from your GP on how to help baby eczema.
How to Identify Eczema
The key signs of eczema in babies are itchy, red and angry patches of dry skin which are sometimes scaly or flaky. The patches typically appear in some or all of the following areas:
- Behind the ears
- Creases of the neck
- Creases of the knees
- Creases of the elbows
Because of the itching and dryness, the patches of skin are likely to cause your baby to scratch them. This can irritate the skin further and cause breakage, which can sometimes result in infections in the agitated area. Any of the symptoms of eczema can, understandably, unsettle and upset your baby, but there are a number of ways to help soothe the pain and itching.
How to Help Baby Eczema
To help relieve some of the dryness, applying a moisturiser to the red patches throughout the day can help put moisture back into the skin. Many moisturisers and skin creams include harsh ingredients that exacerbate dryness, so it’s important to choose a cream with no perfume or colourings. Your pharmacist will be able to recommend a dermatologically-approved, eczema-friendly cream without a prescription. Apply this cream by gently smoothing it over the sore areas without rubbing it in or wiping away residue; letting it sit on the skin and absorb by itself will feel cooling to the skin.
If you find this doesn’t help, your GP may prescribe a steroid cream as baby eczema treatment.
Avoid exposure to irritants
Check any other chemicals you might be exposing your baby to. Seemingly innocent products like soaps, water-based creams, and bubble baths can dry the skin out further and exacerbate irritation. Some laundry detergents and sprays can agitate eczema, so it’s worth reviewing any use of air fresheners or laundry pods and powders. Sadly, pets can also be a contributing factor to eczema so if you own an animal it may help to keep it away from your baby for a few days as a trial, to see if the symptoms subside at all. Cigarette smoke can also make eczema worse.
It’s not just products that can irritate the skin. Some fabrics can also agitate dry areas so if in doubt, stick to natural, breathable fabrics like cotton and steer clear of wool and nylon in clothing and bedding for your baby.
Cool it down
While you want your baby to be warm and snugly, overheating and sweat can make eczema worse. A room thermometer can help you manage the temperature of your baby’s bedroom. Opening a window or using a quiet fan can help regulate your baby’s body temperature. If you’re not sure if your baby is overheating, please check our blog post on the five signs your baby is too hot whilst sleeping.
Does eczema affect helmet treatment?
With the likelihood of babies getting eczema, you may wonder if this affects helmet treatment or not. At the start of treatment, babies might experience more sweating than usual just for the first few nights. This is completely normal while your baby is adjusting to the new helmet. Naturally, if your baby suffers from eczema, the extra sweat might make a difference to their symptoms at first, but this should last for no more than a few days if at all.
Strictly speaking, the helmet does not come into contact with the creases in the neck and generally touches the temples more than the cheeks, so the eczema-prone areas are not touching the helmet. If you’d like some guidance with this, one of our clinicians will happily advise. There is no reason for the helmet to have any further impact on your baby’s eczema if you take care to ensure your baby’s hair is dry after bath time and that any lotion is fully absorbed before reapplying the helmet.
We hope these tips reassure you in how to help baby eczema. As with anything, you know your baby best and know what is normal for them and what isn’t, so keep an eye on them as they settle into helmet therapy and remember we are at the end of the phone if you have any questions. Our blog post will help you know when to contact a clinician during plagiocephaly treatment.
As you and your baby adjust to the helmet treatment, you might also find it helpful to read our blog post on how to keep a routine with the TiMBand.