What parents should know about childhood eczema (and how to help)
Does your child suffer from infantile eczema? Read on to find out how having a good bath routine can help reduce the occurrence of infantile eczema.
There is nothing that makes you feel more helpless as a parent than watching your child in pain and misery and not being able to do anything about it. If your little one suffers from eczema or very sensitive skin, you know exactly what we are talking about.
The sandpaper like skin, constant irritation, non-stop itching, oozing blood and the tears that often accompany it, can leave any parent heartbroken and overwhelmed.
If you have suffered through childhood eczema yourself, it might be easier for you to empathize with the misery of your child and be better prepared to deal with the problem. But, if you or your partner have had no previous experience of eczema, then dealing with your child’s condition can perhaps be a bit harder.
Eczema is a chronic itchy skin condition that usually sets in the first five years of a child’s life. In Singapore, one out of every five, or 20% of children suffer from eczema. Although not all children suffer from eczema in the exact same way – the intensity of it can range from being mild to very severe.
Fortunately, a significant number of children outgrow the condition as they grow older. However, while it lasts, eczema – the red, dry, scaly and very itchy skin -- can be a source of much distress for babies and young children.
So what causes eczema in babies?
Babies have a much thinner epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) as compared to adults, which means that their skin’s ability to act as a barrier to external stimuli is much lower as well. Since the layer is much thinner, it also has very low moisture content, leading babies to have much drier skin.
The epidermis also consists of a group of lipids called Ceramide, which bind the cells together and help skin maintain its moisture content. A sufficient amount of ceramide moisturizes the skin, protects the skin from external irritants by promoting its barrier function. Having a sufficient amount of ceramides is a very effective approach to skin care for babies.
When skin lacks ceramide, it is unable to maintain the moisture content for a prolonged period and is sensitive to even the slightest irritation. It repeatedly leads to dry skin and other skin problems due to a lowered barrier function. Delicate, dry skin tends to lack ceramide.
If your child has eczema, it means that his skin lacks in ceramides – making it vulnerable to external irritants or allergic triggers. Eczema condition can be aggravated by triggers that can vary from child to child and can include anything from fabrics to carpet dust mites. In the case of babies, excessive sweat, urine, poo, and saliva from drooling are all causes of additional irritation.
This is where hygiene, especially a baby’s bath and/or cleansing routine gains significance. It is important to cleanse off potential triggers such as saliva, sweat, urine, and poo completely from your child’s skin, but at the time you also need to ensure that the all important ceramides are not being stripped off either.
Click on the next page to find out how you can help reduce the occurrence of infantile eczema in your child.
Is there a cure for eczema?
Sadly, there is no known cure for eczema. But parents can take heart from the fact that most kids grow out of it as they enter adolescence. Meanwhile, as they wait for their child to grow out of it, the most that parents can do to provide comfort to their child is to reduce the flare-ups and severity of eczema.
How can one reduce the occurrence of and provide relief during eczema flare ups?
To reduce the occurrence of eczema flare ups and provide relief, you need to treat both skin dryness and skin inflammation. Here are some measures that can help your child:
- Prescription medication: In extreme cases, treating your child’s eczema can include applying a pediatrician or dermatologist prescribed steroid-based ointment or taking anti-inflammatory medications.
- A good bath routine: Mild aggravations can be reduced and kept in check through a good bathing routine. A good bathing routine helps to cleanse allergens away and keep the skin moisturized during cleansing. Using a cleanser such as Curél Instant Foaming Body Wash can be effective, as it cleans thoroughly while preventing the all important ceramides from washing away.
- Always remember to pat the skin dry, rather than rubbing it after a bath.
- Dress your child in loose fitting cotton clothes to minimize irritation to the skin and abrasions.
- Use mild fragrance-free detergents to wash all baby’s clothing and bed linen.
- Avoid overheating your baby – don’t cover up the baby in too many layers while sleeping or awake.
- Try and identify and then remove/avoid topical irritants such as perfumes, heavily scented soaps, fabric softeners etc.
While baths can help manage eczema it is important to use the correct products for cleansing as the use of harsh products can actually worsen the condition by aggravating/ irritating the eczema plagued skin even further.
If your child suffers from eczema, then it is recommended that you use a gentle body wash such as Curél Instant Foaming Body Wash, to wash the dirt, urine and sweat away. With it’s unique ceramide retention technology, Curél Instant Foaming Body Wash helps retain the moisture in your child’s skin by protecting the ceramide. It’s dense and gentle foam helps buffer your child’s delicate skin against harsh cleansing motion & makes showering a fun & enjoyable experience for your child!
Japan’s No.1 brand for sensitive Asian skin, Curél Instant Foaming Body Wash is so gentle that it can also be used for babies as young as two months old. In addition, it is fragrance free, colorant free, alcohol free, pH balanced, and clinically tested on sensitive skin.
Does your child suffer from infantile eczema? If so, have you given Curél Instant Foaming Body Wash a try to help soothe your child’s irritated and itchy skin?
Why not give it a try? Find out how mum Jaime soothes her son Julian's eczema in the video below.
Find out more tips on how to manage sensitive skin on Curel’s Facebook page.