Recognizing Baby Eczema: Tips to Identify and Address the Condition

*We have partnered with Aveeno so that you can read your baby’s skin clearly.

You often have to rely on body signals when it comes time to understand your baby. Baby can’t tell you exactly what is wrong so everything from his drinking habits to the way he poop could be used as a form of communication. Since the skin is the largest organ of the body, it reacts quickly when something’s wrong. Dry patches, redness or scales could indicate allergies or irritation…or even eczema.

We asked dermatologist Dr. Jeanine Dowie to help us better understand the skin of our infants and how we can treat it. Here is her advice for spotting and treating eczema.

What is the prevalence of eczema among babies?

Ezcema can be inherited. It is possible that if a member of your family has allergies, asthma, or eczema it will show up in your child. Approximately 50 million people suffer from allergies, asthma, or eczema. Of these, half are babies. As you grow older and experience different stages of life, the severity of it may change.

What is eczema and where can it be found?

You’ll usually see a thickened area of skin with reddish pigmentation. It may be red or hyper-pigmented, or scaly. Eczema can affect one part of your body or the whole body, depending on who you are.

What makes your baby more susceptible to it?

There are many triggers if your child is genetically predisposed to it. Environment does play a part. Most people get flares during cooler months when the skin is less moist and dry due to the lack of humidity. Many flare up in the summer when sweating increases, causing irritation.

What are some common skin irritations that could increase the risk of my baby developing eczema.

Stick to cotton fabrics instead of wool. Also, laundry detergent can irritate the skin. Avoid colognes, perfumes, or products with strong scents, as they can cause allergic reactions.

What are some simple things I can do to reduce skin inflammation in my daily routine?

Cut your nails! When we scratch with our nails, they carry bacteria and debris. Be sure to trim your nails and those of your child often. After you have cut your nails, use a file to smooth them out so there is no visible white.

How can you treat eczema if you determine that your baby is affected?

You can treat eczema in a variety of ways, from over-the counter to prescription. What I would suggest is in this order:

Creams/balms that are available over-the-counter. It is helpful to use creams that contain oatmeal.

2)Prescription Rx – immunomodulators i.e. (Elidel)*

Antihistamines available over the counter. Ask your doctor what he recommends based on your baby’s age.

Prescription Rx- Steroids (Topical).

Oral steroids – prescription Rx

Your doctor will decide what is appropriate and safe for any prescription. For babies younger than 2 years old, there aren’t a lot of prescriptive options.

What can I do to help my child at home?

Consult your doctor if you notice hyperpigmented, irritated skin. Create a plan for your child to cope with the changes in their environment. It is harder to give your child certain creams and medications if they are under the age of 2. However, there are some over-the counter remedies that may help.

*Not recommended for children under 2 years of age

**Can be prescribed to children under 2 years of age