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Eczema in Babies

Eczema is a skin condition that often presents as itchy, scaly skin or tiny red bumps than normally presents before the age of 5 years old and is often recurrent. The cause of eczema is not fully known but is thought to occur in people with allergies and for there to be a genetic component (runs in families). 

The location of eczema can differs based on age. In infants and young children (less than 2 years of age), eczema is typically located on the back of elbows, front of knees, cheeks or scalp. In older children and adolescents, eczema is often found on the inside surfaces of elbows and knees, wrists, ankles and neck.

Skincare tips for babies with eczema

  • Warm (not hot) baths to let your baby’s skin soak up fluid, and then make sure you pat dry the babies skin and not rub it so that moisture is still present on the surface of the skin after the bath
  • Gentle cleansers can be used only in areas that need cleaning and should be used at the end of the bath
  • Apply unscented thick moisturizer immediately after coming out of the bath and moisturize you baby 2-3 times per day if possible.  I like to apply moisturizer first thing in the morning when we change out of jammies into day time clothes, mid day before a nap to help wind baby down for sleep, and right after bath time before bed.
  • Avoid things that can irritate the skin like strong detergents or certain fabrics like wool.

If conservative treatment for eczema does not resolve, sometimes steroid creams are prescribed. 

If your baby’s rash does not improve with these steps, the rash appears cracked or weepy, or your babe appears in any discomfort, please follow-up with your doctor.

This post was co-authored by Stephanie Liu, MD, MSc, CCFP, BHSc and Erin Manchuk, BScPharm, BCGP. 

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