Baby Eczema

Atopic dermatitis, commonly called as eczema is predominantly symptomatic in infants and young children of five years and below. Read more about the symptoms, causes and cure.

Last Updated: 23 October 2020

Baby Eczema
Baby Eczema

What is eczema in babies?

Eczema is a skin condition in which red rashes develop on the cheeks, scalp, arms, legs or other parts of the body. 60 percent of affected infants show symptoms in the first year after birth and 90 percent of children with eczema acquire it before they reach five years.

What are the symptoms of eczema?

Eczema can appear in two different forms:

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·         The skin may be dry, thick and scaly, or

·         Show tiny, red bumps that ooze fluid

Most commonly, eczema appears as rashes on the face and scalp and may soon spread to arms, legs, chest and other parts. The area of the skin with red rashes may become dry, scaly and itchy. When eczema gets severe, a yellow fluid begins to ooze out from the red blisters. It could be itchy for the baby and if scratched constantly, the condition may become aggressive. In some cases, eczema may be associated with fever and respiratory illness. Asthma and hay fever are known to be associated with eczema.

What causes baby eczema?

It is difficult to pin down exactly what causes eczema. But here are the commonly suspected triggers:

Through inheritance: Eczema may be present in the genes. A baby with a strong family history of eczema or related conditions like asthma and hay fever has more chances to inherit the disorder though it can also appear with no genetic links to the condition.

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Triggers of skin dryness: Extreme environmental factors like cold weather or chemicals like baby soaps, shampoos, baby lotion or cloth detergents that lead to drying of the skin can cause eczema.

Allergic triggers: Eczema is not known to be caused by a particular allergen. However, general allergens like pollen, fibers from clothing or cigarette smoke can irritate the baby’s immune system, resulting in eczema.

Dietary allergens: Though it is rare, babies can be allergic to a substance in the formula milk or in the mother’s diet if breastfed.

Stress: Yes, what stress can a newborn have is what we might assume. However, fetal distress, stress during labor and delivery or the change in baby’s environment can trigger the baby’s skin to react with rashes.

How is eczema in babies treated?

There isn’t one solid treatment to completely cure eczema in babies. But the good side is eczema usually subsides by itself over time. Yet, proper care in preventing baby’s skin from drying can lessen the severity in most cases. Here are a few strategies that parents and caretakers can follow:

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Prevent allergens

It can be hard to find if there is a specific allergen that triggers your baby’s skin to develop eczema. It is best to avoid growing plants that let out pollens in the surrounding air where your baby lives. Keep baby away from smokes that can be irritating to your baby’s respiratory system.

Baby bath care

Make sure to avoid giving hot water baths to your baby. Hot water can dry up baby’s skin than cold or warm water. Use lukewarm water for bathing your baby. Use mild or chemical free soaps on your baby’s skin. Your doctor may recommend the right baby soap after diagnosing the severity of the condition. Do not let your baby sit in soapy water during bath for long. Soon after bath, pat dry your baby with a soft towel and avoid rubbing hard which may worsen rashes.

Keep baby’s skin moist

When your baby’s skin is still slightly wet after bath, apply a moisturizing lotion recommended by your doctor. Keep baby protected in a room fitted with humidifier or an air conditioner depending upon the climate in the region you live and the season. Proper regulation of the surrounding temperature can alleviate the condition.

Prevent scratching

Your baby may feel itchy at the affected areas and may try to scratch to soothe herself. Scratching makes the rashes severe and it can help if scratching can be prevented. When your baby gets the tendency to scratch, divert her attention with toys or other objects. During sleep, wear mittens and socks and regularly trim your baby’s nails to avoid complications due to scratching.

Topical medicines


Your doctor may prescribe topical medicines like ointments or low level steroids to apply on the rash area. If diagnosed in the early stages, eczema in babies can be treated with medicines before becoming severe. 

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