Eczema affects as many as one in three people in New Zealand. Many will first develop the condition as a baby, often between 1-6 months of age. And nearly always before two years of age.

What is eczema?

The most common type of eczema, is atopic eczema – a condition that will cause a baby’s skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked. Although it can affect different areas of the body, eczema will often start on baby’s cheeks. In some cases it may spread across the face.

What makes eczema especially tough is the itching. At times it can become unbearable, causing a baby to scratch constantly. When this happens it is upsetting both for baby, and of course mums and dads who want to provide the best possible care for their little one.

What causes eczema?

Although the exact causes of eczema remain unknown, it is more common in people who are prone to other allergies such as hay fever or asthma. Eczema also has a tendency to be passed down through families.

What triggers a baby’s symptoms?

There are numerous triggers that can make a baby’s symptoms worse. These are some of the most common triggers to be aware of:
  • Avoid soap and detergent, instead wash your baby using an emollient as a soap substitute.
  • Watch out for fragrances – this could be in the form of liquid, powder, paste or airborne.
  • Being too hot or too cold can trigger a bout of itching too; dressing in thin layers can help and try not to let your baby get too warm, especially at night.

How to care for your baby.

There is currently no cure for atopic eczema, however, a parent can use different strategies to care for their baby ongoing and during ‘flare ups’.

One of the best ways to care for a baby suffering from eczema, is to apply a cream that maintains moisture in the skin – preventing dryness and assisting with repair of the skin barrier. Inflamed skin needs lots and lots of moisture and any cream should be applied 2-3 times in a day.

Is eczema relief cream a long term treatment?

Eczema creams are not a cure or a long-term solution. Rather, they are a way to ease the symptoms while your baby grows out of having eczema. If dry skin or red inflamed skin reoccurs at any time, it is essential that you reintroduce the moisturiser immediately to treat the dry area.
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