Effectively treating baby eczema and controling flare-ups
Treating baby eczema may seem an impossible job to some parents with the regular flare-ups and periods of remission that come with this condition.
There is no known cure for this condition but there are several treatment options available that will help to control your child's eczema. Click here to see baby eczema pictures on baby's face and body.
Treating baby eczema by avoid triggers and allergens
Many triggers in the environment like dust, pollen, mold or animal dander can make baby eczema symptoms worse. Common triggers in baby's food are cow's milk, eggs, wheat, fish and dairy products.
Keeping a food diary can help you find out if your child has a food intolerance.
Treating baby eczema with emollients
Emollients protect the baby's skin from becoming too dry and help prevent eczema flare-ups. You can never use too much of emollients so you can apply them liberally to the affected skin.
Emollients or moisturizer range from thin lotions, creams to thick ointments.
As a rule the thicker and higher in lipids emollients are the better and longer they work.Unfortunately they are a lot messier as well.
What kind of emollient or moisturizer is best for you baby depends on how severe the eczema is. Usually for mild baby eczema a lotion or cream will do the job.
But for wet or weeping eczema you will get better results using a thicker ointment. Worth recommending for babies suffering from very dry, sensitive skin are the following products for baby eczema that are free of fragrance and preservatives;
- Eucerin Dry Skin Therapy Calming Creme
- Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Moisture Cream
- Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment
What is a good daily routine using emollients?
- Bath the child with emollients added to the bath water.
- Use moisturizing soap without perfume.
- Pat the skin dry with a towel.
- Apply emollient cream to the child's skin.
- Also apply moisturizing lotions or creams between bath or showers and before bed time.
Treating baby eczema with topical steroid creams
Topical steroids are commonly used to treat rashes, eczema and psoriasis. With eczema steroid creams are mainly used to treat eczema flare-ups.
Use them only in a low dose for 3 to 7 days and if there is no improvement your doctor may prescribe a stronger steroid cream. Topical steroids also come in lotions, ointments and creams and help reduce redness and swelling of the skin.
Beware of long-term use as it can lead to infections with fungus and bacteria but also to thinning of the skin.
How to apply steroid cream?
- Rub no more than a finger tip unit to the inflamed area.
- Softly massage the cream until completely absorbed.
- Wash your hands afterwards.
- Use it once a day and if needed twice.
If you use a topical steroid cream together with emollients, apply the emollient first and wait about 15 minutes to absorb before applying the topical steroid.
Treating eczema with topical Immunomodulators
This steroid free eczema cream works by suppressing certain cells (not the whole immune system) involving the inflammation.
- Tacrolimus 1% or 0,03% ointment (Protopic)
- Pimecrolimus 1% cream (Elidel) Protopic and Elidel are usually prescribed if other eczema treatments have failed or if the child doesn't responses adequately to treatment with topical steroids.
Protopic is often used for treating baby eczema areas like the face, eyelids, groin and upper chest.
Topical Immunomodulators (or topical calcineurin inhibitors) are only for a short time use because long-term safety effects are still being evaluated. They are also not suitable for children below 2 years of age or those with an immune deficiency.
Treating baby eczema with phototherapy
When other treatments have failed another option is ultra violet light or photo therapy. How can photo therapy help?
UV radiation is known to suppress the immune system and to prevent an overactive response that causes skin inflammation.
As with too much sun exposure, prolonged use of phototherapy increases the risk of skin cancer and premature aging.
Of course you will have to discuss with your dermatologist if treating baby eczema with phototherapy is suitable for your child.
Treating baby eczema with wet wraps
Wet wrap therapy is a way to hydrate and calm the dry and sensitive skin of children with atopic dermatitis.
Credit: NIAID on Flickr
Various studies show that most children benefit from treating baby eczema with wet wraps. About 74% of the children have reduced itching and sleep better.
Wet wrap therapy in a few simple steps.
- Prepare a lukewarm bath with emollients.
- After soaking in the bath, pat the skin carefully dry. Never rub the skin the irritated the skin.
- Moisturize and wrap the affected areas with wet bandages.
- Lock in the moisture by covering the wet bandages with dry ones.
- After removing the bandages re-apply moisturizer.
- Do not use wet wraps on infected eczema!
Leave the bandages for a few hours or for as long as your child accepts them. Your child may want to remove the bandages so this therapy requires a lot of patience.
Treating baby eczema with anti-itch creams
Topical but also oral antihistamines may help if the itching is severe.
They often help to break the cycle of scratching the eczema which makes the eczema worse. Some older types of antihistamines like Phenergan and Atarax make the brain drowsy and are primarily used at bedtime because they can help a baby get to sleep.
Eczema treatment with bleach baths
Bleach baths for eczema are possibly beneficial for children with eczema, were the findings of a randomized controlled trial published in the journal Pediatrics.
Eczema skin is often damaged through constant scratching what makes it particularly susceptible to bacterial infections.
These infections usually make the eczema worse. Bleach baths can be helpful by killing these bacteria and giving the skin a chance to heal.
In about 90% of children with eczema, staphylococcus aureus is found on the skin. Some strains of staphylococcus (MRSA and ORSA) are already resistant to certain antibiotics, what makes them difficult to treat.
Regular bleach baths may stop these antibiotic resistant bacteria from developing and spreading to others. They may also reduce the use of antibiotics in children with difficult to control eczema.
Visit BleachBath.com if you like to learn more about the latest research and information from the medical community about the benefits of bleach baths for a variety of skin conditions.
Treating eczema with antibiotics
Secondary infections with bacteria like Staphylococcus Aureus can make the baby's eczema much worse.
Infected eczema is usually treated with topical antibiotic ointments like Bactroban or Fucidin. Dermol 500 Lotion is an antimicrobial emollient and moisturizer used to care for dry and pruritic (itchy) skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis, and for use as a soap substitute.
However, if the infection is more severe, your child feels unwell or has a fever, a course of oral antibiotics is usually necessary to clear the infection. All creams and ointments used during the infection are likely contaminated with bacteria. Consider buying moisturizers with a pump, this is the best way to avoid contamination.