Eczema is quite common, with around 20% of children under the age of 2 years developing eczema.* Some of the most common triggers include irritants such as fabrics, soaps, scented products; heat and sweat; low humidity and saliva. Milder cases of eczema may be controlled through a good daily bathing and moisturising regimen.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition that is characterised by intense itchiness, redness, dryness, and sometimes blistering, weeping or crusting, arising from inflammation of the skin.
Eczema and Children
How can you tell and what should you do about it? Here are some questions and answers to help prepare you on what to expect and do.
1) How common is eczema amongst children?
Eczema is quite common, with around 20% of children under two years of age developing eczema*.
2) What does eczema look like?
It looks like patches of red, scaly skin that itches and feels rough to touch. In general, eczema can affect any area of the body. However, affected areas and appearance of eczema may change as your child grows up:
Infants and young babies – Looks red and weepy: appearing more often on the cheeks, forehead and scalp.
6 to 12 months – Occurs more commonly on the crawling surfaces, elbows and knees. Still looks red and weepy.
Around two years and above – Appears mostly on the elbows, knees, wrists, ankles and hands. At this age, eczema makes the skin look wrinkled and dry. The affected area also feels rougher and thicker compared to the rest of your child’s skin.
3) Is there a cure for eczema?
At the moment, there is no cure for eczema. However, most children tend to outgrow eczema or the condition becomes less severe over time. There are also many therapies or strategies to keep eczema under control.
4) Can I prevent my child from getting eczema?
While there are no medically-proven ways to totally prevent eczema, a combination of a good skincare regimen to strengthen your baby’s skin and identifying the triggers can prevent the condition from worsening and reduce the possibility of flare-ups.
5) What can trigger eczema flare-ups?
This varies from child to child. Some of the more common triggers include:
- Irritants – Fabrics, dust mites, smoke, scented products, soaps and pets are some of the things that can irritate the skin and trigger eczema flare-ups.
- Heat and sweat – Both heat and sweat can aggravate or trigger the eczema.
- Low humidity – Environments with low humidity may cause the skin to become dry, making eczema-affected areas appear and itch more.
- Saliva – Babies tend to drool a lot. This can cause extra irritation to eczema-afflicted areas like the cheeks, chin and neck.
Is there anything I can do to help my child?
Milder cases of eczema can be controlled through a good daily bathing and moisturising regimen:
- Daily Baths – Give your baby short, warm baths every day. Avoid using hot water and try to keep baths under 10 minutes. Using a gentle wash is also very important. Avoid using soap, scrubbers, loofahs or rough washcloths on your baby’s skin. Use a soft towel to pat instead of wiping or scrubbing your child’s skin dry. These simple bath practices can help prevent your child’s skin from becoming dry or irritated.
- Use a moisturiser – Immediately after a bath, moisturise your child’s skin. Ideally, it is best to use a gentle moisturiser to prevent skin irritation. Good moisturisers may also have soothing ingredients that will help calm inflamed and itchy skin. Try to moisturise twice a day.
Consult a GP
If your child’s eczema is not improving or getting worse, consult your GP. Treatments that may be prescribed include topical or oral medications, or diluted bleach baths, depending on your child’s situation.
Cetaphil Pro Eczema Prone Skin Restoring Body Moisturiser is indicated for the treatment of mild Eczema within the Cetaphil range.
Eczema (atopic dermatitis) [Internet]. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA). [cited 2017Apr16]. Available from: https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/skin-allergy/eczema