Using the proper skincare products is essential for anyone, but especially for a baby whose skin is extra sensitive. In the first few months, it is common for a baby to develop crusty, flaky patches on their skin. The good news is that this skincare step can prevent many newborns from developing it.
What is eczema?
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is the most common inflammatory skin condition among children. With eczema, the skin’s natural barrier isn’t working correctly, leaving the skin red, dry and itchy.
It typically runs in families with a history of asthma and allergies, and affects up to one in five infants.
The most common areas of the body affected are the face, neck and head. Eczema in children is more likely to appear in the bends of elbows and knees.
- Itchy skin
- Dry, scaly skin
- Skin that has become leathery
- Tiny blisters that may ooze
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How to treat baby’s eczema
Studies have found that moisturizing for six to eight months, starting within the baby’s first few weeks, can reduce their eczema risk. What moisturizer should you use?
Researchers from Northwestern Health looked at seven over-the-counter moisturizers, including several popular drugstore brands, as well as plain petroleum jelly.
The investigators found that petroleum jelly was the most cost-effective, but that even the most expensive product was a fraction of what the cost of eczema care would be.
What’s more, this has the potential to save babies from great discomfort and quality-of-life consequences.
These include a higher risk of infection, sleep problems and, when eczema follows the baby into childhood, even missed time from school.
More research is underway to see if moisturizing for 12 months is even more effective.
Eczema can cause red, itchy, dry patches on a baby’s skin, particularly in the folds of the legs and arms.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests how to help treat a baby’s eczema: