A lot of pain and discomfort is experienced by anyone who is suffering from eczema. It is a skin condition that is very hard to live with at any age, more so at the stage of infancy. Babies affected with it become so distressed that parents find it very difficult to see their precious ones suffering. But what causes eczema and what are its symptoms? Will babies be able to outgrow it? What can be done to treat it?

Causes and Symptoms

The exact cause of eczema has not yet been pinpointed, but what scientists know is that it has a genetic component. It is often inherited, especially when your family has a history of hay fever and allergic rhinitis. It can be provoked by harsh substances, such as detergents, soaps, and solvents. It can also be aggravated by allergens in food and in the environment, such as animal hair, dust, and pollen. Heat and sweat can also worsen the condition.
Eczema has various types, the most common of which is atopic dermatitis. The skin itches excessively and shows redness, inflammation, dryness, and cracking. Scratching could lead to the skin breaking and thus increasing the risk of contracting infection.
Babies below one year old usually suffer from infantile seborrhoeic eczema, which is more commonly known as cradle cap. It usually begins from the scalp and spreads outwards. The greasiness and flaking may look really unpleasant, but it is not sore and itchy. This type of eczema usually disappears within a few months. The healing process can be sped up with the use of emollients.

Incidence Rate

Only 10 percent of children had eczema in the 1970s. Today, 33 percent of children have had eczema before three and a half years old according to research by the University of Bristol. The study also found that about 20 percent of children developed eczema by six months and 30 percent had it between birth and three and a half years. It was also found that in around 60 percent of the cases of eczema in babies, the condition lasts into adulthood. However, many of the babies outgrow it by the age of two.

Treatments

Good skin care is the secret to treating your baby’s eczema. Applying the prescribed medications to your baby’s skin would prove futile if it is not combined with taking good care of his/her skin. Here are a few tips:
  1. Switch to mild non-soap cleansers that are fragrance-free. Use mild fragrance-free detergents to launder your baby’s beddings and clothes, too.
  2. Give your baby quick daily short baths. Do not use very warm water as this would only dehydrate his/her delicate skin. Pat your baby’s skin dry using a soft towel, but leave it damp. Within three minutes, apply moisturizer.
  3. Try to reduce the allergens found in your home by keeping it clean. Ask for some tips from an expert, such as an allergist. He/she might suggest more efficient ways of dusting and cleaning, using air filters, and getting rid of some of your furniture.
  4. Dress your baby in non-scratchy fabrics, such as cotton. Wool and other synthetic fabrics may only irritate his/her skin.