How To Recognize Infant Eczema And How To Treat It

You notice the dry, flaky and rashy red all over your baby’s skin? Then your baby may be hit by eczema. Those itchy red bumps and patches on baby’s cheeks could be a case of eczema.

According to What to Expect, the term “infant eczema” is normally used to describe two conditions that usually appear starting between 2 to 4 months of age:

  • Atopic dermatitis: A typically inherited chronic condition more common among babies with a family history of allergies, eczema and asthma.
  • Contact dermatitis: A rash when skin comes into contact with an irritating substance; once the irritant is removed, the rash usually clears.

Infant eczema usually appears as patches of flaky, rashy red on baby’s cheeks, behind the ears and on the scalp. If left untreated, it typically spreads south to the elbow creases, behind the knees, and sometimes even the diaper area. The common triggers of infant eczema include:

  • Moisture (from milk, saliva or sweat)
  • Dust
  • Scratchy fabrics
  • Animals
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Detergents and soaps

Eczema can look different from baby to baby. Happily, however, it isn’t dangerous or even contagious, and it usually resolves itself.  Here’s how to treat it before it gets worse.

1. Prevent scratching

Keep baby’s nails short or cove her hands with cotton mittens or socks while she’s sleeping.

2. Ensure baby stays cool and moisture-free

Excessive wetness can set off an eczema outbreak. That means dressing baby in lightweight clothing and thin blankets, and gently patting drool away whenever you see it.

3. Keeping baths lukewarm and short

Try to keep every bath not longer than 10 minutes — to maintain moisture in baby’s skin. Use only a small amount of ultra-mild and fragrance-free soap and no bubble bath.

4. Applying a gentle moisturizer
Apply when baby’s skin is still damp from the bath.
5. Allowing skin to breathe and stay cool

Always dress your baby in smooth natural fabrics, like cotton. Avoid wool and other scratchy materials, which can lead to irritation to sensitive skin.

6. Soaps and cleansers

Use mild, fragrance-free soaps or non-soap cleansers and shampoos. Similarly, use mild, fragrance-free detergent for washing clothes and bedding. Do not use fabric softeners.

Sources: What To Expect, Baby Center.