Baby Eczema: Myths & Facts
Confused about your baby’s eczema? The experts from the Eczema Association New Zealand separate the facts from the fiction so you can take care of you baby’s eczema
4 min read
Did you know that although eczema affects all ages, it usually appears in early childhood (in babies between two-to-six months of age) and disappears around six years of age? In fact, more than half of all eczema sufferers show signs within their first 12 months of life and 20 per cent of people develop eczema before the age of five.
There are many myths about what causes eczema, or how to treat it. We’re going to separate the facts from the fiction below!
Myth: Your baby can get eczema at daycare
Eczema is a common skin problem that can make your baby’s skin red, itchy, and sore. But your little bundle of joy didn’t catch this rash from anybody, and she can’t give it to anyone else. Babies and children with eczema often have relatives with it. Or they have family members with asthma, hay fever, or other allergies. Scientists think it could be passed down from parents’ genes, but no one is sure why some children get it.
Myth: Babies who have eczema have it for life
There’s no cure for eczema, but that doesn’t mean your baby will have sore and itchy skin forever. It tends to get better with time. In fact, eczema goes away in some children by the time they turn 2. About half of children who get eczema outgrow it. And for those who do have eczema as adults, it is usually milder than when they were children.
Myth: Not bathing your baby as much will help their skin
Short daily baths with lukewarm water and mild cleanser can help keep away infection and be soothing to your baby. Don’t use soap, and avoid bubble baths or anything scented that will irritate her skin. After bathing your baby, rinse her off twice to remove all soap. Then apply cream or ointment within 3 minutes to lock in moisture.
Fact: Cotton clothing is best for babies with eczema
Loose clothing made from cotton and other natural materials will feel better on your baby’s skin. Don’t dress her in wool or anything scratchy. Wash her clothes before she wears them, and use mild detergents and soaps that don’t have perfumes, dyes, or alcohol. Look for things that are labelled “fragrance-free” (not “unscented”), “hypoallergenic,” and “for sensitive skin.”
Fact: Drooling can make your baby’s eczema worse
It’s not unusual for babies to get rashes on their chins and cheeks from drooling. But if your baby has eczema, that saliva can really irritate her sensitive skin. What can you do? Put an ointment like petroleum jelly on her chin, cheeks, and neck to create a barrier between the drool and her skin.
Fact: Your baby’s eczema is likely to be worse in the winter
Think about how chapped your lips can become in the winter when the air is dry. That dry air also affects your baby’s eczema. Using a humidifier will help slightly. The best thing to do is keep her skin moist by applying a thick cream or ointment. Your baby’s skin should get better in the summer when there’s naturally more moisture in the air.
Fact: Babies with eczema are likely to have other allergies
Babies and children with eczema may be more likely to have allergies or asthma, but eczema doesn’t cause them. Half of children with eczema have asthma, and two-thirds of kids with eczema get hay fever.