Our Guide to Baby Eczema Care
By: Sarah Shoemaker
Our Guide to Baby Eczema Care
By: Sarah Shoemaker
Learn more about how to care for babies with eczema and the important link between baby eczema and food allergies.
Eczema affects up to 20% of children, and 70% of all cases begin in children before the age of five. In addition, 67% of babies with severe eczema will develop a food allergy. Learn more about how to care for babies with eczema and the important link between baby eczema and food allergies.
Eczema (or dermatitis) is a general term for a group of inflammatory skin conditions. Atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema, causes red, dry, and itchy skin. In babies, this form of eczema usually affects the face, scalp, and skin creases, but can also involve other areas of the body.
How does eczema differ from cradle cap?
Cradle cap is a dandruff-like rash with scaly patches. It’s not as red as eczema.
Can I give my baby or little one a bath when they have eczema?
- Do not use soaps. Use unscented, mild body wash for bath
- If your baby has cradle cap, scrub the scalp with a bit more vigor to remove the scales
- Leave a little moisture on the skin after bath
- After bath time, only partially dry baby. Keeping some moisture on the skin will help the moisturizers to sink in.
- Add moisture.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil can help hold in moisture, ease swelling and redness and even keep certain bacteria from growing. Especially the virgin cold-pressed, which is not heat processed, so keeps more of its germ-fighting powers.
- Ceramides: These are lipids or fats of the skin; moisturizers with ceramides often indicate they are "for eczema" on the front label.
- Dye- and perfume-free detergent for laundry
- No fabric softeners for laundry
- Mild and unscented body wash when bathing
- Daily bath and moisturizing routine when bathing
- Add a humidifier to their sleeping environment 1 or 2 nights/week
- Keep your little one cool. Heat can exacerbate the rash
- Dress your little one loosely in natural cottons
- Use no-scratch mitts on your baby, especially while they sleep, to discourage scratching
4. I’ve heard that babies with eczema can have a higher risk of food allergies. What should I do?
While food allergies develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors (such as changes in lifestyle and diet), eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is the most important risk factor to consider. That’s because research shows that babies with eczema are at the highest risk for developing food allergies. In fact, up to 67% of babies with severe eczema and 25% of babies with mild eczema will develop a food allergy. (However, food allergy does not cause eczema.)
New guidelines from the NIH on food allergy prevention are specifically focused on babies with eczema, as this risk group needs food allergy prevention, and in turn, early allergen introduction the most. Depending on the severity of your child’s eczema, parents should follow one of the following guidelines:
- Babies with mild to moderate eczema: Consult with your pediatrician about what "mild to moderate" eczema means and what level of screening is required for your child. If your child has mild to moderate eczema, early allergen introduction may help reduce their risk of developing food allergies.
Babies with severe eczema: A discussion with your pediatrician is recommended before starting early allergen introduction. Your pediatrician may recommend allergy testing prior to introducing any allergens.
About Sarah Shoemaker: Sarah is passionate about removing the stress from the tiny moments in parenting. Trained in child development from top Harvard child development experts such as Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, an on staff parenting expert Dr. Maureen O’Brien, and a consumer insights process while working in a juvenile product career, Sarah’s passion and understanding of infant development and what parents and babies are capable of is front and center. She went on to start her own companies, and is currently focused on removing stress from baby’s bath. Sign up to open the door to Hummingbird Infant’s Baby Buzz – snackable insights for new parents -- to help you bring your best parenting self forward. Plus, a free guide, How to Give a Happy Baby Bath and printable My First Bath and My First Big Kid Bath signs.
All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.