Eczema in Children: How to Help Kids Survive the Itchy Days


Any medical condition that is contracted by an infant is always ten times more difficult since they have lower pain tolerance. Every infant experiences pain, and it can significantly affect their nervous system and could cause physiological changes. It also can lead to sleep disturbances, feeding problems, and lose the ability to self-regulate. The source of that pain shall be addressed immediately, especially if it is the itchy skin condition ,eczema.

Eczema is what doctors call a group of conditions that causes someone’s skin to turn red, itchy, and inflamed. One common misconception about it is that it is contagious, it is not. The exact cause of it is unknown, but researchers say that it is usually caused by the combination of family genes and environmental factors. If a member of your family has eczema, then there is a higher possibility for you to have it.

Your baby can be the one in five children in Singapore that get eczema (also referred to as atopic dermatitis). It can appear anywhere on their bodies within the year they were born. Usually, you will see these rash-like dry patches on their cheeks and in the folds of their arms and legs. It is always itchy and rough, so they cannot help but relieve the pain by scratching it themselves. As a result, it leaves a scar on their skin, and it amplifies the pain they feel even further. Since they cannot tell you anything about how they are feeling, it is difficult to know the severity of their pain.

For 1 to 6 months old babies, monitor their scalp and face since these are the areas where red and dry patches of eczema will appear. While rashes of eczema for older children will be found in the creases of their elbows, the back of their knees, on the neck, and around the eyes. Determining if they have the same condition that you have can take some time and professional help, but it will help you if you know more about this common skin condition.

Allow this article to supply you with in-depth information about baby eczema, how you can find the correct treatment that your baby needs, and how to help them develop healthy skin habits keep their eczema at bay!

Part I: Why Are Kids More Prone to Eczema?

Eczema produces uncomfortable sensations that can interfere with your baby’s sleeping and eating. Since their brain keeps getting pain signals from these itchy feelings,  they cannot get their minds to focus on what they are supposed to be doing. Instead, they cry, and it can be quite challenging to comfort them. As a parent, you want to keep them from crying, so you want to eliminate the problem on its root. The problem with eczema is that the root of it is undetermined, so people who have this condition can only go as far as managing it for the rest of their lives, or until a cure surfaces. Researchers, however, have shown that some of their studies revealed that there are causes why kids are more prone to getting eczema. It is because they have:

Sensitive skin

It no longer needs to be stated that newborn babies have sensitive skin. Their skin is so delicate that they can acquire various types of skin problems aside from eczema. A newborn’s wrinkly skin has a protective covering called vernix. It will naturally peel off in its first week, so you should not be worried about it.  The skin care, such as applying creams and giving them baths, should be minimal. Frequent baths can aggravate eczema since they can remove your baby’s natural oils that serve as protection. 

Families who have eczema

Children who came from families with a history of eczema, asthma, hay fever, or other allergies have higher odds of developing eczema. Keeping track of your family’s medical history is helpful, especially if you want to determine the source of you and your children’s medical conditions. More than that, do not cross out this possibility even if you do not have eczema since it has come from other relatives that have it.

Contaminated living conditions

In Singapore, dry air and pollution exists. Eczema treatment creams may sell more than average lotions in the market during the dry season. The dry air can affect your baby’s eczema. Some parents would bring out a humidifier in the room to keep the air from being too dry, but the best solution is to keep your baby’s skin moist. Remember that your baby’s skin is in the process of building a skin barrier. If it gets disrupted by inflammatory chemicals, it can cause an allergic reaction from direct skin contact. These red and itchy rashes caused by these environmental triggers are called contact dermatitis, one of the main types of eczema.

Types of Eczema

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, eczema is a term that is used to describe the reaction pattern that the skin produces in several diseases. Simply put, it is an umbrella term for a group of skin conditions that cause the skin to become dry, itchy, and inflamed. There are different types of eczema, and they are broken down into specific categories here:

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common types of eczema.  “Atopic” means there is an inherited tendency of hypersensitivity when exposed to environmental factors. Combining it with the word “dermatitis,” which means skin inflammation, your baby acquired the condition due to their genetic predisposition to inhalant allergens that prompts skin inflammation. It starts in infancy that causes the red, scaly, and excoriated skin in the scalp and face of 2-month-old babies.

Contact dermatitis

A baby’s skin can develop allergic reactions when it is exposed to the same substance repeatedly. This substance may be foreign or not, as long as it irritates their skin. It may include perfumes, chemicals in skincare products, jewellery made of gold or material, and even latex gloves. Once in contact with one of these, the immune recognition system of your baby is activated and produces red, itchy rashes.

Hand eczema

Based on its name, hand eczema occurs when one or both of your hands start itching with pain and dryness to the point of flaking. Children who are five years old and beyond can develop this type of eczema. It can impact their self-esteem unless they learn to treat it with eczema moisturizing creams that have higher oil content.

Neurodermatitis

This form of eczema is common to adults aged 30 to 50 years old and rarely occurs in children. Specific personality types can influence the development of this condition which can occur anywhere in the body that can be reached and scratched. Usually, neurodermatitis is found in one or two patches of the skin. The pleasure that one feels when they intensely scratch these patches can irritate the nerve endings, and thicken the skin. Treatment usually includes calming inflammation and softening the skin with potent topical steroids.

Nummular eczema

You will notice this skin condition on older folks rather than children. The coin-shaped patches on their arms, back, buttocks, and lower legs irritate skin caused by nummular eczema. Aside from its coin shape, this causes the skin to have a crusty and scaly texture. More than that, they are extremely itchy.

Stasis dermatitis

People with underlying health conditions, such as chronic venous insufficiency, varicose veins, and congestive heart failure, are the common victims of stasis dermatitis. Poor circulation of blood can cause symptoms of this eczema. It will appear as orange-speckles of the skin on the ankles. Itching and shining skin due to scaling are early signs of it, too.

What triggers eczema?

Likened to any recurring health problems, eczema can appear when the skin is exposed to triggers. Organising your belongings at home can prevent your baby from worsening eczema. It includes the toys, clothes, and bed or crib sheets that come in contact with your baby’s skin. As much as possible, you should keep unsanitary items out of reach and clean their play area regularly.

  • Environmental
  • Infections
  • Insect or mosquito bites
  • Stress
  • Scratching
  • Vaccinations
  • Food allergy

Food allergy vs. eczema

As a parent, you cannot blame yourself from panicking over the appearance of red patches on your baby’s skin. It is a sign that you have parental instincts that are built around your deep knowledge of your child. While these instincts are often right, it might not apply in the situation when you need to determine a food allergy reaction from eczema.

Firstly, you have to know that food allergies and eczema are separate conditions. The former happens when your baby consumes foods that trigger an abnormal immune response to a specific food protein, which are also called food allergens. As soon as your child eats a food allergen, their bodies react quickly and go away quickly when they stop eating the food. Unlike when your child has eczema, it does not go away quickly since it is a chronic condition that needs long-term maintenance.

Another symptom that differentiates these two is the location of the reaction on the skin. Food allergy reactions occur in unpredictable locations of your baby’s body each time they eat the food that causes the allergy. However, as discussed in this article, eczema occurs in specific areas of the body that can help you determine the reason why your baby’s skin is developing red, inflamed patches of skin.

How do you know if your child has eczema?

Even when you have read every article that the internet has about eczema, an official diagnosis by a certified physician is a must. Consulting a doctor will be the first step to know, and make sure, that your baby has eczema. Their early diagnosis can prevent worsening the skin condition that could lead to the need for costly biologic injections, such as dupilumab. A trustworthy paediatrician will lay down an effective treatment plan that includes recommendations for the best anti-itch cream for eczema that will nurse your baby’s skin back to its smooth soft skin!

When will kids outgrow the condition or will they ever?

Most cases of eczema grow out of the condition once kids have surpassed their formative days. Many eczema-prone kids have better skin by the age of 3 years, and they will have less to no symptoms of it when they become teenagers. Although they may have a greater tendency to dry and sensitive skin in adult life, your child’s eczema will eventually improve.

Part II: How to Help Kids Live Better with Eczema

All kids have the right to a good and eventful childhood, even when they will be less likely to remember all of it when they grow older. It might be a challenge for parents who have kids with eczema to give them the freedom to enjoy their environment since eczema triggers are always present.

In this part of the article, you will learn about helping your child grow into the world despite having this skin condition.

Why is it necessary to control your child’s eczema?

Even though some cases atopic dermatitis resolve itself, several complications can occur when a child’s eczema is untreated. Scarring from intense scratching can be one of them. With open scars, your child becomes more vulnerable to acquiring different kinds of illnesses when they are exposed to unsanitary conditions. Their skin can become thick with scaly and dry texture as they grow older. Also, areas of hair loss and skin colour changes can occur. Lastly, your child’s skin affected by long, untreated eczema is susceptible to secondary infections.

If you want to improve the quality of your child’s when it is more enjoyable, then you should learn how to control their symptoms. With the guidance of a trusted dermatologist, teaching your child how to practice an effective eczema skincare routine will help them have a remarkable childhood and develop stable emotional health!

The Psychological Effects of Eczema on Children

Aside from what we see on the physical side of eczema, the impact of this skin condition on your child’s mental health is also present. If your child has atopic dermatitis, they are said to have higher rates of depression and anxiety. Symptoms of depression in children include:

  • Irritability
  • Social withdrawal
  • Changes in appetite and sleep
  • Having a hard time to concentrate
  • Low energy
  • Tiredness

The risk of your child having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is also on the table when the stress of eczema gets to them. Thus, you should pay attention to these symptoms as well:

  • Lack of organisation skills
  • Hyperactivity
  • Making impulse decisions that could be harmful

All of these are preventable, as long as you know how to keep your child’s eczema symptoms at bay. Consistent treatment with eczema moisturizers will help them get a restful sleep to reduce their feelings of irritability and moodiness.

What can you do to help your child deal with the stress of eczema?

Children with eczema perform poorly at school since they are common victims of bullying when their schoolmates see their red, peeling skin. It is an added stress to the already heavy stress that they are experiencing to maintain their academic standing. Thus, developing emotional stability is crucial when you have eczema. To help them deal with their skin condition, you have to support their treatment. It may include:

  • Getting consultation
  • Constantly reminding them that they are not alone
  • Providing them with medications
  • Patiently applying their topical creams

Treatments available for eczema

Treatments for a child’s eczema require the collaboration of a paediatrician and a dermatologist. Both of these professionals are equipped with the right knowledge and skills that can contribute to your child’s eczema journey. One thing to remember is that consistency is key when it comes to these treatments, which are:

  • Wet dressings
  • Calcineurin inhibitors
  • Oral medications
  • Ultraviolet light and phototherapy
  • Injectable medications
  • Topical Creams

The Dangers of Steroids

Following one of the possible treatments that your dermatologist may recommend, topical steroids cream treatment has side effects that can grow to skin problems. While its varying potency has rendered therapy to inflammatory disorders, it still has its own set of dangers. Thus, its application and use shall always be monitored. If not, effects such as high blood pressure, fluid collection in the legs, bone damage, and skin discolouration can occur.

Topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) is also reported as an effect from long-term users who have been dependent on the drug-induced cream. The burning, redness, and oversensitivity of the skin can last up to 2 years to your child. Thus, it is recommended that you find non-steroid eczema cream to keep these dangers away. Do not forget to get the approval of your child’s doctor to make sure that it can alleviate the symptoms of eczema.

Can eczema be treated permanently?

Currently, there is no cure developed to treat eczema, or any type of it, permanently. Consistent treatment for the condition is still the most effective method to heal the affected skin and prevent flare-ups of symptoms. As long as you have a trusted physician to guide you in this process, you can almost eliminate all the times that eczema can reoccur as your child grows to adulthood!

Part III: What Are Your Natural Treatment Options for Your Child’s Eczema?

More often than not, the treatment options that your child’s paediatrician will lay down in front of you are conventional topical steroids. This treatment is deeply integrated into the medical approaches of eczema that natural treatments become an afterthought. Experienced and expert dermatologists will say that navigating how to manage baby eczema takes more effort than simply applying drugs on their skin. You also have to explore other holistic approaches that will help your child deal with the itchiness brought on by her eczema. One of those approaches is switching to natural remedies such as:

  • Aloe vera gel
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Shea Butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Honey
  • Zinc Oxide

Pairing these methods with a healthy diet and consistent eczema cream application, your kid can say goodbye to random flare-ups at school and home! However, it does not mean that they fall too comfortable that they do not watch the food they eat that may trigger their eczema. Remember to monitor the foods that your child eats since the heavy intake of gluten and dairy products tend to be one of the common root causes of eczema flare-ups.

Practical Measures

Building a good skincare routine can help your kid manage their skin on their own. In the future, you are assured that their skin condition is minimised knowing that you have taught them the practical measures that they should do to keep their eczema at bay! You can start by:

  • Keeping their skin moist
  • Using gentle soaps
  • Opting for clothes that are gentle on their skin
  • Avoiding stress

Collaborative care among you, your child, and their dermatologist is key to decreasing eczema symptoms. When there is harmony among the three of you, then you can expect that your child will feel better as quickly as possible. Staying loyal to one brand of eczema cream is also a big contributor to eliminating the overwhelming process of eczema skincare!

The Mummybrand® approach to eczema skincare

Our people here at Mummybrand® understand the pain that your kid experiences since we come from a family of eczema sufferers as well. Essentially, we think everyone should know that eczema can be worsened or improved according to your approach to skincare and dietary practices. It is a trial and error process that may leave feelings of frustrations, but mostly feelings of control over what you feed your skin.

The ingredients we use in our handmade baby eczema creams here in Singapore are all formulated with skin hydrating properties to combat itchiness, dryness, and inflammation that every person with eczema suffers from every day. Our natural and wholesome ingredients are safe for your baby’s skin as well! From 2 months old babies onwards, our baby eczema creams seal in moisture even at the most sensitive areas of their skin – the face, chest, folds of their arms and legs, and neck.

We also have products designed for Wet Wrap Therapy to give you zero trouble of doing it to your baby at home. Packed with shea butter and a unique blend of essential oils, it will help your baby’s skin regain its suppleness the natural way!

Allow us to give your baby the ultimate hydration experience for their eczema! Go to our website to explore our multiple eczema creams and balms for delivery today.