Baby eczema - information and advice

Eczema in babies is becoming increasingly common. In this article we describe baby eczema symptoms for you to look out for and offer some guidance on treatment and some small everyday changes that can really help.
Baby eczema symptoms - what should I look for?

Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes the skin to become itchy, reddened, dry and cracked.

Eczema is a common childhood skin condition, which affects up to one in five children. Eczema is linked to asthma and hay fever, though it does not always mean that your child will develop either of these conditions if they have eczema.

Eczema is thought to run in families though often it is not passed directly from parent to child. Eczema is sometimes called 'infantile 'or ' 'childhood' eczema. You may also hear eczema called 'dermatitis'. They are both the same thing.

Eczema can begin in babies from about six weeks old. It usually starts on the face and scalp but may then appear on other areas of the body. Usually it affects the creases of the body such as the back of the knee and the inside of the elbow, but it can appear anywhere.

Eczema can look different in each child. Usually the skin is very itchy, the main sign of eczema, and you may see very young babies rubbing their faces on cot sheets or clothes.

The skin may look very dry and red, or it may be weepy and swollen, sometimes with blisters.
Some children have dry skin, which is easy to look after, while others may need a lot of treatment. You will get to know what your child's eczema looks like and will know when to visit your doctor. However, if the eczema gets worse, or looks different, you should always take your child to the doctor to have the skin looked at.

About two thirds of children with eczema will 'grow out of it' by their early teens. There is no way of telling when the eczema will go. Some children have it until they are adults, others may find that their eczema goes sometime during their childhood only to come back in later life.
Baby eczema treatment - what can I do to help?

The best thing that you can do for your child is to follow a good skincare routine. Eczema is a dry skin condition. The skin does not produce enough grease and loses too much water so it becomes dry and broken. You will need to replace the grease and the water with special products called emollients.

There are lots of different emollients and you may need to try quite a few until you find the right one for your child. Try to use a new emollient for at least a month, unless you can see it is making the eczema worse.

Tip: You should always test any new product before trying it all over the body. To do this, put a small amount of cream on an area of skin which has no eczema, and then leave it for one to two days. If there is no reaction, carry on and use it on the eczema.

People that suffer from sensitive skin or conditions such as eczema or psoriasis report that organic skin care products work better for them as they contain either tiny amounts of synthetic chemicals, or no synthetic chemicals at all.
Parents are increasingly choosing organic products for their babies and children as their bodies are still developing and are more susceptible to chemicals in non-organic products and more likely to develop allergic reactions to ingredients such as fragrances commonly used in non organic toiletries, even those claiming to be suitable for sensitive skin.
Beaming Baby's Certified Organic Baby Care range contains organic aloe vera, which has been proven to ease eczema symptoms.

Dr. Peter Atherton, one of the leading authorities on Aloe Vera in the UK, conducted a study which revealed that Aloe Vera works mainly on two areas, on repairing epithelial tissue and on boosting the immune system. The skin, the largest organ in the body, is also the largest patch of epithelial tissue. It is thus easy to understand why Aloe Vera hastens healing of burns and provides relief of eczema skin symptoms, as well as mouth or stomach ulcers, or a problematic bowel lining; all of which are epithelial tissues. Many eczema sufferers also experienced improved skin quality with the use of Aloe Vera. They reported that their eczema skin symptoms reduced, with smoother and softer skin.

It is important to note that there is no known cure for Eczema but Aloe will stop the itching, accelerate the healing of broken skin, fight secondary infection, heal without scarring and leave no visible signs of Eczema.

Living with baby eczema - little changes that help.
As well as choosing carefully the creams and bath products that you use on your babies skin, it helps to think about other items that will be in contact with your babies skin all day, such as clothing.
Organic cotton can help babies with eczema because it doesn't contain the finishing chemicals or pesticide residues found in conventional cotton. There is much anecdotal evidence to say that babies with sensitive skin or eczema do much better wearing organic cotton clothing.
Specialist organic cotton baby clothing such as our range by Frugi, has details which make the clothing highly suitable for babies with eczema.
· Flat seams which avoid rubbing delicate or sore skin
· No neck labels which can rub and be itchy
· Nickel-free poppers (nickel allergy can be a problem for many babies)
· Soft, pure, chemical-free organic cotton. Not only is organic cotton free of chemicals, baby clothes made from organic cotton are much softer, so more suited to eczema-prone skin.
Also be aware of how you wash your baby's clothing. Washing powders and liquids contain a lot of chemicals, and are not completely removed from clothing after washing. Using eco friendly products such as Ecover, which contain substantially fewer chemicals, will mean less residue is left on the clothes to cause irritation to delicate skin.
There are many other things that you can do to make your child more comfortable and less itchy. Here are a few tips:
· Distract your child as much as possible by playing with them.
· Try not to tell them to 'stop scratching '.
· Keep their nails short and try scratch mittens or all-in-one sleep suits at night.
· Keep your home cool as overheating makes the itching worse.
· Use cotton clothing as much as you can as it is cool and comfortable. Wool can make the skin itch.
For more information about Eczema, visit the National Eczema Society website.

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