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Atopic Eczema In Infants: Recognising And Treating It

Atopic Eczema In Infants: Recognising And Treating It

If your baby has patches of dry, flaky and rashy skin, there’s a good chance that it is infant eczema (or dermatitis). Eczema in infants is a common skin condition that is not contagious but can cause lots of parenting stress, not to mention the discomfort it can cause your baby.

Eczema in infants is basically of two types; atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is an inherited condition most common among babies with a family history of allergies, asthma, and eczema.

On the other hand, contact dermatitis arises when the skin comes in contact with an irritating material; rashes usually clear once the irritant is removed. Of the two, atopic eczema is prevalent and can be chronic.

Atopic eczema often begins in infancy, affecting about 15 to 20% of babies. Even though the condition will improve as the child grows older, some children may have more chronic conditions.

Children with atopic dermatitis have a form of “sensitive skin” that may be more easily irritated by heat, sweating, rough clothing, and some soaps, detergents, and cleansers.

While there’s no cure for infant eczema, most cases can be managed with a personalized skin care plan, which may include strategies to eliminate triggers, the use of moisturizers, and prescription medications.

As a parent, here’s what you need to know about atopic eczema in infants and the strategies to take to ease your little one’s itchy rash.

Recognising atopic dermatitis 

Dermatitis rashes can pop up all over the body or in a few spots. They can become worse on certain occasions (called flare-ups) and be so itchy and discomforting that they restrict sleep – causing your baby (and you) to be miserable!

In most babies, rashes often begin on the scalp and face (atopic eczema doesn’t usually develop in the diaper region, diaper rashes require a different form of treatment).

You can recognise atopic eczema in your infants when they develop red, dry, and itchy patches on the skin resulting from inflammation. With persistent scratching, the skin may develop crusting, blisters, oozing, or soreness from infection.

At times, your baby’s skin may become rough and leathery. And darker in colour if (s)he scratches the skin for weeks to months.

Treating atopic eczema

To help control your baby’s symptoms and reduce flare-ups, consider the following tips;

Identify and eliminate triggers

Some triggers, like sweat, heat, certain clothing, laundry detergents, fabric softener, soaps or shampoos, can cause your baby’s eczema to appear or worsen abruptly. If you can know the triggers, try to find ways to get rid of them.


Restricting bathing to a few times (once or twice daily) can be helpful for some babies. Bathing more often can “dry out” the skin and worsen the itching. For infants with environmental allergies like animal dander and pollen, it may be helpful if you bathe them frequently, particularly after contact with known allergens.

Topical medications

Applying prescribed topical medicines (e.g. creams and ointments) to the affected area up to two times a day will keep the dermatitis rashes under control. Want to get started on how to get prescribed medicines? Speak to a doctor.

If you’d also like to talk to a doctor about your child’s persistent atopic eczema, book an appointment online.

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