One in five babies is affected by eczema. This inflammatory condition causes the skin to become dry, red and sore, in addition to causing severe itchiness. It can be particularly troublesome for infants and toddlers as it is difficult to stop them from scratching or rubbing their skin, which only aggravates the condition.
As eczema is an auto-immune disease, it is not contagious nor is it transmitted from one person to another. Treatment for eczema consists in retaining the skin’s moisture and preventing irritation in order to decrease itchiness and other discomforts.
There are various ways to improve the moisture in young children’s skin, and keep it well hydrated:
- Decrease the frequency of baths. For most babies, a bath every two or three days is usually sufficient, as they are already partially washed every time their diaper is changed and after every meal.
- Baths should not last more than 15 minutes. Bathe a little one in warm water to help retain, as much as possible, the natural oils already present in the skin.
- Add a small amount of bath oil to the water. It is important to make sure the oil does not contain any preservatives, dyes or perfumes. You will need to be very careful as the bathtub will be slippery!
- Use a gentle soap to wash your little angel. As soon as you take your baby out of the bath, apply a moisturizing lotion for sensitive skin on the entire body.
- Choose a laundry detergent that does not contain dyes or perfumes, and avoid using fabric softener and dryer sheets as these products can easily irritate the skin.
In severe cases, your child’s paediatrician can choose to prescribe medicated creams. The only effective way to prevent an infant from scratching is to prevent itchiness. Consequently, if you notice your child often scratches at a particular moment of the day, apply a moisturizing lotion earlier to try and disrupt this habit.