A baby's perfect and smooth skin is the reason for phrases like "baby face," but there are a whole host of problems that can come with any baby's new and very sensitive skin. One of those problems is a red, pink or white scaly, itchy or burning rash called "eczema."
Eczema is a problem with chronic dry skin and can be caused by allergens coming in contact with the baby's epidermis. It can be confused with cradle cap, but cradle cap isn't red and scaly near as much as eczema. Most infants who develop eczema as babies will outgrow it but some will keep it through adulthood, with times of clear skin, followed by times of irritation.
What are the possible causes?
Some of the causes of an eczema flare can include: getting too hot or sweating, being too cold mixed with dry air (like running the heater without a humidifier), irritants in soaps, clothing, detergents and shampoos, allergens and even a reaction to parents' stress, or the baby's own stress.
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What are some ways to prevent flare-ups?
First, keep the baby from getting too hot or cold. Also, try to incorporate anything that keeps baby from getting drier skin into your routine. Moisturize after every bath, don't wash the baby every day, avoid using products with irritants. It's also important to find the triggers (there are some theories that eliminating some foods out of baby's diet can help with outbreaks- those have not been proven one way or the other yet).
What are some ways to naturally get rid of flare-ups?
There are moisturizers on the market that are specifically formulated for babies with eczema. Aveeno makes an oatmeal treatment that works wonders as well. Also, make sure to frequently change diapers and use natural wipes. Making sure that the baby stays dry helps with keeping baby from chafing and flaring. You can also try using gentle detergents and unscented bath products before using any other form of treatment. Cool compresses on the out broken skin can also help when baby starts sweating. Using a humidifier keeps moisture back in the skin after the heater dries it out will also help with flare-ups.
Having a baby who has been diagnosed with eczema doesn't have to be a huge struggle. With a few steps taken while the baby is not in an outbreak, you can prevent other flares and keep the baby as comfortable as possible.