5 tips for managing eczema in babies and toddlers
As many of you will know by now, both of my children developed eczema at a really young age. Although my eldest (who is now four), does not have as many flair ups as she used to, they still happen.
According to the national eczema society, in the UK 1 in 5 children will suffer from atopic dermatitis usually getting it before their first birthday, in the US it's 13% of children.
Often times, when talking about managing this skin condition, the conversations are around skincare, and food which although important, are not the only trigger factors associated with eczema.
Here are five tips for managing eczema in children (adults too)
1 - Skip the fragrance
Smells do so much for us, and they even bring on a sense of nostalgia. I for one am transported right back to my own childhood, and my younger siblings were born when I smell nappy bags or baby lotions. However if you baby or toddler has eczema or sensitive skin, it's best to skip fragrance all together.
Products with added fragrance (parfum) can be a real irritant to little ones delicate and already sensitive skin. You will be amazed at what contains fragrance, everything from nappy wipes, to cream, baby oil, talcum powders and another big one laundry detergent. Always check the ingredients label on a product. If you see PARFUM it's best not to use it.
2 - Moisturise and moisturise again
This is so so important, babies and toddlers with eczema can never be moisturised too much. Add it to everything you can at every opportunity. One of the main causes of eczema is the skin's inability to lock and seal in moisture causing dry cracked and itchy skin, which can in turn further damage the skin barrier. Using emollient based creams, soap substitutes and bath oils are a brilliant way to get moisture back into the skin, particularly during the autumn and winter months.
3 - Check the fabric
Oftentimes when it comes to dealing with eczema, people talk about, skin care and forget about other things that touch the skin. Clothing, bedding and towels made from cotton can get stiff over time, causing friction on the skin when used. Using a soft fabric like bamboo can reduce irritation of the skin. Bamboo also has so many other benefits that make it perfect for those with eczema prone skin. It's hypoallergenic, and temperature regulating, helping to keep your little one cool at night (quick note, often little ones with atopic dermatitis itch and scratch quite a lot at night. One of the biggest triggers for this is the temperature of the room they sleep in. Babies rooms should be kept to 18 degrees Celsius or 64 degrees Fahrenheit so they don't overheat, but it may also help with night time itching). It can also be helpful to remove labels from your little ones clothing, as this can also cause them to scratch.
4 - Splish splash I was taking a bath
Bathtime can be an amazing time to bond with your baby, and a great sensory activity for your toddler too. One thing to bear in mind however is that water can be incredibly drying on their skin, particularly if you live in a hard water area. Unfortunately this all makes for the perfect storm for drying out the skin even further. To get the best of both sensory and fun make sure the temperate is no more than 37 degrees Celsius (98 degrees Fahrenheit), add moisture to the bath by using a baby bath oil, keep bath time to five minutes at most, and remember to moisturise them after.
5- Another one bites the dust
Let's talk triggers for the moment, there are many environmental factors that can cause eczema flair ups including dust and dust mites. The key is to make sure that you ventilate any room your children spend a lot of time in at least once a day. This can be done when your little one has just woken up from their nap, or for a communal space once they have gone to bed. Looking into dust mite repellant bedding such as bamboo is another great option, and unlike cotton bedding you don't need to wash at the standard 60 degrees to kill the mites.... win win.
Stay tuned for our next post on the benefits of bamboo for sleep.