Baby Eczema: What Are The Causes, Signs And Remedies?

Baby Eczema: What Are The Causes, Signs And Remedies?

8 Mar 2022 | 5 min Read

Sudeshna Chakravarti

Author | 791 Articles

What Is Baby Eczema?

Baby eczema, also called infantile eczema, mostly appears in the first six months of your baby’s life. However, it may also occur in infants and toddlers at any age.

Baby eczema presents a group of conditions such as red, dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. Read on to know the causes, symptoms, and risk factors of eczema in babies and remedies to treat and prevent the condition. 

What Are The Causes of Baby Eczema?

While the exact cause of baby eczema remains unknown, evidence suggests that environmental and genetic factors play a vital role in the development of this condition. 

Eczema is often associated with the lack of a skin barrier protein, called Fillagrin. This skin barrier protein is responsible for protecting the skin from bacteria and environmental irritants, by preventing their entry into the skin surface. 

Most children suffering from this condition have too little of this crucial skin barrier protein in their skin.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms of Baby Eczema?

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of baby eczema:

  • One of the main symptoms of eczema is itching. It’s not eczema if it doesn’t itch.
  • Dry, scaly, and red skin is also a sign of eczema
  • Food allergies can sometimes be associated with these skin rashes. A severe food allergy can cause breathing difficulties or swollen and bluish lips in babies, which is a medical emergency.
  • Eczematous skin is prone to viral and bacterial infections. You may notice pus, fever, or yellowish-orange crusts on your baby’s skin.

What Are The Different Types of Baby Eczema?

Eczema has different types, although the skin rash may appear similar. The various types of eczema include:

  • Contact Dermatitis: This occurs when the skin comes into direct contact with irritants. Examples of irritants include pet dander, clothes designed with wool, and even some skincare products.
  • Atopic Dermatitis: AD or atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema in babies. It occurs due to allergy-related conditions such as asthma, hay fever, and other skin allergies.
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis: This causes inflammation in the areas of the body rich in sebaceous glands. The condition is identified as cradle cap in babies. It can cause flaky and itchy patches that look like dandruff on the baby’s scalp.

What Are The Risk Factors?

The risk of baby eczema is high in the following cases:

  • Respiratory allergies or asthma
  • A dry climate
  • Seasonal allergies, such as hay fever
  • Food allergies
  • If a close relative or family member has eczema
  • Exposure to environmental pollutants, tobacco smoke, and vehicular pollution
  • Exposure to allergens such as dust mites and pollen.

What Does Eczema In Babies Look Like?

Parents can identify eczema as red, dry, and itchy skin rashes

Parents are likely to notice skin rashes first, spread all over the body or in one particular area. You may also notice flaky skin, raised bumps, or circular rashes.

These rashes will probably look dry and red, and there will be a significant change in their appearance over time. Also, remember, the affected location and the type of eczema rash may vary for different age groups. 

Where Does The Rash Appear in Babies?

Here are some areas where eczema rash appears in babies: 

  • For babies around one to six months of age, the rash first appears on the cheeks and can spread to the rest of the face, on the forehead, and around the lips.
  • For infants, the rash may affect the outer surface of the arms and legs as well.
  • Babies who crawl display rashes on areas of the body that are prone to friction while crawling, such as knees and elbows.

Can Breastfeeding Cause Baby Eczema?

Many studies have found that breastfeeding can prevent atopic dermatitis in babies. Since breast milk contains essential compounds, it helps increase the baby’s immune function and decreases their sensitivity.

However, the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommends breastfeeding mums to avoid the consumption of allergic foods, if their babies are at risk of developing eczema. 

Some studies have also determined that lactating mothers who consumed probiotics and dietary supplements such as Omega-3, showed beneficial effects in preventing eczema in babies. 

When Should You See A Doctor?

Consult the doctor immediately if your baby cries while scratching affected area

If you notice skin rashes or eczema symptoms in your baby, do ensure to consult your medical advisor immediately. They can diagnose the cause and prescribe an effective treatment. 

You must seek immediate medical care if:

  • You notice skin infections such as pus and redness followed by a fever
  • If your baby cries while touching the rash or affected area
  • If you notice blisters on their skin.

Some Home Remedies for Eczema

Although there is no permanent cure for eczema, you can manage these symptoms by using baby moisturisers and following a customised skincare routine, as prescribed by your doctor. Apart from that, you can try the following home treatments:

  • Avoid Possible Trigger Factors:

Try to eliminate the possible triggers of your baby’s skin condition, such as food allergies and environmental pollutants, pet dander, fragrance-infused babycare products, and more. A paediatric dermatologist can help you identify some of the factors. 

  • Use Proper Bathing Techniques:

The use of proper bathing techniques can remove dirt and irritants from your baby’s body. Always wash your baby with lukewarm water and use fragrance-free and gentle cleansers. 

Use a thick baby moisturiser after the bath, and ensure to moisturise their skin twice a day.

Seek help from your paediatrician to establish a proper eczema management plan and choose gentle products for your baby’s skin. Sticking to these measures can ensure positive results. 



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