Babies can suffer from a wide range of skin issues, from smaller diaper rashes all the way through to bad bouts of eczema. Rashes on a newborn are one of the more common reasons you’d need to visit a doctor or healthcare professional. It’s quite common for a baby to suffer from something like acne, with around 20% of all babies experiencing it. Watching a baby’s eczema get worse isn’t nice and it’s certainly something you want to get sorted as soon as you can.
Deal With Your Baby’s Eczema In The Right Way
It can be alarming if the rash covers a large area or is located on your baby’s face. There are things you can do to clear up the outbreak and ensure your baby feels more comfortable in their own skin. The most common method is a topical corticosteroid applied in the form of a cream. They come in different strengths and can be prescribed by a doctor or bought online. It is important to note, however, that the most popular corticosteroid, hydrocortisone, is not approved by the FDA for use in children under 2. Corticosteroids should only be applied to children under the supervision of a pediatrician or dermatologist.
Finding the right eczema relief cream is hard when you’re buying for your baby. You won’t want to make things worse and choosing something safe is of the utmost importance. There is some quality doctor led research out there pointing to the safety of certain creams.
For example, the above referenced study demonstrated that topical lotion containing 0.75% hydrocortisone and 0.5% sulfur is safe to use long term because after 15 years of daily use none of the 300 patients experienced any of the common problems thrown up by long term topical cortisone usage (steroid acne, rebound phenomenon, etc.). A lotion containing the above ingredients has the evidence to back up safe usage and might help if you're looking for the best eczema cream for babies. Again, however, it is important to note that for the referenced study, the lotion was applied under the supervision of a dermatologist. If you plan to use any form of corticosteroid on your child, be sure to do so under the supervision of a dermatologist or pediatrician.
It’s easy to be swayed by strong corticosteroids. You’ll want to deal with the eczema as quickly as possible and on first glance you might think high percentage topical corticosteroids will do a better job. Remember, your baby’s skin is so much more sensitive to that of a grown human. It’s 30% thinner and loses moisture twice as fast. Use something a little softer and kinder on the skin and you lessen the chance of any steroid induced skin conditions.
Can Your Baby’s Eczema Get Worse
Even if you’re using an eczema relief cream for babies and taking the right precautions there are things which can make the eczema or skin condition worse instead of better. Baby eczema can be made worse by:
- Not regulating your baby's temperature: It’s quite easy for babies to get hot as they cannot regulate their own temperature. Even toddlers struggle too. If a baby sweats it will irritate the eczema and potentially make it worse.
- Your baby scratches too much: You’ll know all too well that your baby’s nails can get sharp quickly. It makes it easy for a child to catch parts of their skin. If they scratch the same place over and over again it’ll lead to the development of inflammatory mediators after which eczema could develop. You can stop this happening by ensuring you trim down those long nails…or by purchasing anti scratch mittens
- Your baby dribbling: If your baby has eczema on their face, dribbling can aggravate it. If the eczema is under the mouth and around the chin this is more likely to happen. The saliva will further dry out the skin and can cause itchy spots. If your baby is dribbling directly onto the eczema it’ll dry it out and make it even worse. Keep an eye on your baby and try to keep the irritated area saliva free.
- Rough fabrics touching the sensitive area: Pretty self explanatory. Similar to those sharp nails, rough fabric coming into contact with the same part of skin over and over again isn’t good for recovery as it starts off the “itch scratch cycle”. If your baby is suffering with a skin condition, invest in bamboo based clothing for that soft and silky feel. Organic cotton is also a great material to look out for.
- Certain Laundry Detergents: Detergent can aggravate an adult's skin, let alone a baby’s. Your baby might have certain allergies already that react to the chemical components in the detergent. Rashes can be caused from harmful potassium hydroxide phosphates which penetrate the skin and cause skin problems. Synthetic fragrances should also be avoided as they contain phthalates which aren’t good for your baby's breathing.
- Spending Too Long In The Bath: Baby skin is more sensitive and can dry out a lot faster. It’s why spending too long in the bath can be bad for their skin. Try to keep bath time to a minimum. Mayo Clinic recommends 3 times a week as the norm. When you’re in the bath, use a fragrance free cleanser and use a moisturizer right afterwards to help stop the skin from drying out.
Baby Eczema Not Going Away
If, for whatever reason, you find your baby’s eczema is being really stubborn, you should visit your doctor who might be able to diagnose the cause and suggest a suitable action for you to take. Your doctor or dermatologist might recommend a topical corticosteroid, help you out in eliminating bad habits or even suggest something like bleach bath therapy.
Will the Eczema Lead To An Infection
Eczema creates cracks in the skin which makes it easier for bacteria to gain entry. As such, infection can sometimes set in. You can usually tell if the eczema is infected by observing:
- Fluid oozing from the infected area
- Worsening of eczema
- Yellow spots appearing on and near the eczema and sometimes a yellow crust developing
- The skin might become sore, which is hard to tell on a baby but look out for swelling around the area too
- Your baby might get a fever and suffer a raise in temperature
If the area is infected you’ll need to see a doctor who might suggest topical antibiotic or an oral antibiotic, depending on the age of your baby and the factors involved. Your doctor might also suggest an antifungal cream if there are any signs of fungal infection around the breakout. They may also suggest antiviral medication too.
Eczema doesn’t always lead to an infection but one of the key steps you can take is to keep the area clean. Keep it moisturized between uses of a safe flare up recovery cream and you can lessen the chances of infection taking hold.
You might find it tough to maintain a balance between keeping the area clean to stave off infection and ensuring you don’t over bathe your baby. Look after the eczema and keep your baby in a clean area with clean, soft clothes. These basic guidelines will give you the best chance of avoiding further infection.
Will Your Baby’s Eczema Come Back?
There are steps you can take to lessen the chance of eczema coming back again. Some safe eczema creams with a lower percentage of topical corticosteroid and sulfur can be used on a continual basis to heighten the chances of eczema not returning. Because they should be applied to your baby only under dermatologist supervision, it increases the chance of a successful recovery.
Getting into a good habit for moisturizing can also help. Moist and cared for skin is way less likely to be susceptible to eczema flare-ups. As above, be careful with overbathing too. As your baby grows and develops, their skin will take longer to dry out. Their soft skin will also become stronger and less thin meaning more resilience to dermatological problems.
As you know, eczema can affect anyone of any age. So your baby growing up might not stop it coming back again in the future…but now you’re armed with the knowledge needed to tackle the flare up in a safe and effective way.
If you want to know more about eczema and skin care please check out our skincare guide and blog. If there was anything you wanted to know about our 0.75% topical corticosteroid and 0.5% sulfur cream please feel free to contact us.