How Can You Tell If Your Baby Has Eczema?

Eczema is a form of dry skin, but identifying eczema is not always easy. If you suspect your baby has eczema, knowing what eczema looks like and what to do about it can help.

How can you tell if your baby has eczema?

Eczema looks exactly like what it is: dry skin. If your baby has eczema, he or she will have red, dry, scaly patches of skin on various parts of his or her body. That skin might become itchy and oozy over time. It might feel thick and leathery, or it might crack. However, not all dry skin is eczema. Some dry skin happens as the result of other external factors (like diaper rash), so just because your baby has dry patches of skin doesn't mean that you can assume or she has eczema. Dermatologists and pediatricians are the only people who should diagnose your baby. If you suspect that your baby has eczema, take him or her to a doctor for official diagnosis.

What's the youngest that a baby might start to show signs of eczema?

Eczema starts when babies are very young. Most babies show signs of eczema when they are less than 6 months old, and some cases start as early as 2 months.

How do babies get eczema?

Eczema is a genetic condition, which means that your baby will be born with it and will probably inherit it from someone in his or her genetic ancestry.

If your baby is diagnosed with eczema, what is the treatment?

Eczema has no cure. However, it can often be controlled. Eczema has "triggers," which means that external factors can cause eczema to flare up. The best way to treat eczema is to limit exposure to triggers, and treat the skin with products and techniques that are proven to work. Moisturizers, limited amounts of hydrocortisone cream and antihistamines are all known to help babies affected by eczema. In addition, avoiding hot baths can also help, because heat dries the skin.

What are some of the triggers that might cause eczema to flare up?

Babies that are affected by eczema can have different triggers. Common eczema triggers include:

  • Scented soaps.
  • Disinfectant.
  • Bubble bath.
  • Animal dander.
  • Scented lotions.
  • Contact with certain types of food, like juices and meats.

Can eczema go away by itself over time?

The vast majority of people will grow out of eczema by the time they reach adulthood. Even by the teenage years, many children who once had eczema will show only mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all. Until that time, a dermatologist, like the ones at Billings Clinic, can help control the condition.