Eczema in Babies – Symptoms, Causes and How to Diagnose Tips, Remedies
Created by Dr Reetika Inderjeet Juneja Updated on Nov 03, 2021
As a new mother you tend to get anxious about even a small scratch or a bruise on your baby's skin, so your reaction to a persistent rash that is making your child uncomfortable is quite imaginable. So how do you ensure that whether the skin rash on your baby's skin is eczema (a kind of rash that wherein the skin becomes itchy and rough) or a regular rash that your baby may develop through either a mosquito bite or anything harmless?
While your doctor will be able to diagnose the signs of eczema just by examining your baby, it is important that you as a parent are aware of eczema in children. So first of all let's see what eczema in infant is, what are the signs, symptoms, how to diagnose and home treatment for eczema in babies and how not to mistake it for cradle cap etc.
What Is Eczema In Babies?
Eczema that comes from a Greek word meaning to ‘boil over' is essentially a skin rash that makes your baby's skin looks reddish, dry and scaly and in some cases flare up into tiny red blisters as well. The rashes can be quite uncomfortable for your baby, as they don't know how to scratch and hence become cranky and irritated.
What Are The Basic Symptoms of Eczema?
While the main symptoms of eczema are rough dry patchy skin, it is difficult to generalize the symptoms, as each baby will have different symptoms. Your baby's rash may also develop into blisters. However, while looking for an eczema rash you may like to look for the following
- Dry, thickened, scaly skin, that might be made up of tiny red bumps that ooze or become infected if scratched
- Scratching may also cause thickened, darkened, or scarred skin over time
- While eczema is not contagious, it can make the baby uncomfortable because it is extremely itchy and since babies don't know much about scratching they end up being cranky and irritated
What Are The Causes Of Eczema in Children?
While the exact cause of eczema flare-up is not yet known, skin specialists believe that eczema is usually inherited from either of the parents or their families. Hence the chances of your baby suffering from eczema will increase if you or someone close in your family has had a history of eczema, asthma or other allergies.
The other things that can trigger eczema in babies are as follows
- Fabrics like wool
- Perfumed toiletries
- Dry skin
- Sudden temperature changes
What Causes Eczema In Breastfed Babies?
Since Eczema in babies is not to be compared to an allergic reaction to any allergens or irritants in the environment, however, do note that the irritants like cigarette smoke and pollens from flowers can trigger it. In breastfeeding babies, eczema can be triggered by allergens in your diet, hence you need to consult your doctor for the same.
Eczema Related Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Catch Eczema By Cuddling A Baby?
No, Eczema is not contagious and hence cuddling a cute baby will not make you catch eczema. While the real cause of eczema in babies is not really known, it is believed that babies who develop eczema do so because of their genes and other environmental triggers like allergens etc.
How Do You Know That Your Child Is Suffering From Eczema?
Well there are rashes and then there are rashes that are itchy and red in colour. So how to diagnose that the rash on your baby's skin is eczema? Look for the following signs.
- Red, crusty patches on your baby's skin: If you see red crusty patches on your baby's skin, quite often within couple of months of their birth then you need to consult your doctor as it can be eczema
- Rashes appear on joints of your baby's skin: If these red coloured patches appear on the neck, elbows or behind the knees and are quite itchy. Then you may have some hint that it is eczema and you need to consult your child's doctor for the same, wherein he or she will be able to confirm whether your child is suffering from eczema or not
What Does Baby Eczema Look Like?
While each Infant is different the eczema flare-up in each baby will appear differently and at different areas as well. However, if there are patches of red or dry skin and the skin is always itchy and rough too then you can know that your child is suffering from Eczema.
What Is The Difference Between Eczema And Cradle Cap?
It's quite easy to confuse baby eczema, which is also known as infant eczema, with cradle cap. However there are some key differences between the two.
While cradle cap in babies is much less red and scaly, it generally clears up by 8 months, and usually appears on the scalp, sides of the nose, eyelids and eyebrows, and behind the ears. Eczema in babies is quite itchy and appears in the joints like neck area, behind the knees, or on elbows.
What Can Worsen Eczema In Babies?
Like I said earlier, each baby is different. But there are some common eczema triggers that you need to avoid to ensure that your baby stays safe from eczema.
- Dry skin: Dry skin can make the itch worse so ensure that the skin is always well hydrated. Always ensure that there is some moisture in the air and avoid using heater or blower for prolonged periods
- Fabric Irritants: Avoid using woollen clothes, polyester fabrics for your baby
- Perfumed toiletries: In addition avoid using perfumes yourself and also avoid using scented soaps and even laundry soaps that are heavily scented
- Dairy allergens: While it is not yet proven, however some experts say that certain dairy products like cow's milk, eggs can trigger eczema in babies. Hence avoid eating or drinking these dairy items till you are breastfeeding
- Sudden temperature changes: Sudden changes in temperature can make eczema flare-up, so try not to let your baby get too hot and then cool quickly, or vice versa. Try to maintain the room temperature to an optimum level
Home Treatment For Eczema in Children
- Moisturisers: Since the dry skin is the main cause that can make eczema flare-up try to keep your baby's skin hydrated all times. And use a no-scented moisturiser to keep the skin hydrated
- Keep the Bath Short: Keep the bath as short as possible ideally no more than 10 minutes. And once you have taken your baby out dry him or her completely and then moiturise the skin either with a good moisturizer or petroleum jelly so that skin stays hydrated
- Avoid Using Scented Toiletries: Like I said earlier use mild, unscented body and laundry soaps. Perfumed, deodorant, and anti-bacterial soaps can be rough on a baby's sensitive skin and aggravate eczema in babies
Did you like the blog on eczema in babies? Please share your views and feedback in the comments section below.
| Oct 27, 2017
I can well relate with this Dr Dr Reetika Inderjeet Juneja . As my 3 yr old son suffered from this when he completed his first birthday. It took whole one year to reduce its affect . Even eczema catches him more often now. What I learnt is moisturizer and aloe vera creams witj few medicated ointments are the only solution. patience is the key that is really a challenge.
| Nov 21, 2017
While eczema also called dermatitis is inflammation of skin of any body part characterised by red itchy raw sore area of skin that may be oozy or rarely pus filled sometimes associated with pain, thickened skin, cracks ,crust, fluid filled blisters, pigmentation etc depending upon duration and type. Eczema is a broad term and incorporates a variety of conditions that leads to an allergic rash. The cause can be external or internal .External causes include contact dermatitis(hair dye,plants,fertilizers,cosmetics etc) ,photo dermatitis(due to sunlight) etc. internal causes include atopic eczema, seborrhoeic dermatitis, stasis eczema (due to engorged varicose veins), eczema associated with dry skin, systemic illnesses and drug intake for various ailments.