Eczema is pretty common in little ones and effects up to one in five children. It is most likely to appear for the first time before your child is 5 years old, and almost half of cases start before 6 months old. Whilst it may give you peace of mind to know eczema is extremely common, it can still cause your little one some obvious discomfort and cause you a lot of stress.
So we wanted to take a closer look at what exactly is eczema, what could be your little ones triggers that can set off flare ups, plus highlight our favourite products that are suitable for eczema prone skin which can help to calm and soothe irritated skin.
What does eczema look like?
Eczema shows up as patches of red, scaly and dry skin which are almost always itchy and rough. It can appear anywhere on the body, but in babies it most often affects their cheeks, back of the neck or the joints of their arms and legs. It is important to note that eczema is not contagious in any way.
Eczema in babies can easily be mistaken for cradle cap (which is much less red, and is primarily on the scalp). If you have noticed a dry and red patch on your little one’s skin, you should consult your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis.
What can cause eczema
Eczema is also known as atopic eczema, or atopic dermatitis. Atopic means that your baby's immune system has a tendency to react to substances that are normally harmless with an allergic reaction. This can also be associated with other allergic conditions such as asthma and hayfever.
Eczema is caused by not having enough of a special protein called “filaggrin" in the outer layer of skin. Filaggrin helps skin form a strong barrier between the body and the environment. Skin with too little of this protein has a harder time holding in water and keeping out bacteria and environmental irritants. Therefore resulting in hard, dry itchy skin flare ups such as eczema.
What can be the triggers of eczema in babies?
There is a relatively long list of things that can trigger eczema or cause flare ups, so it can sometimes be tricky to pin it down to one certain factor. Eczema can be triggered by many factors, including food, weather, genetics and skin care products.
Whilst what can cause eczema varies in child to child, these are some of the more common triggers;
- Most children have about a one in five chance of developing eczema, but if you or your partner has it, this rises to about three in five. If you and your partner both have eczema, your child has a four in five chance of developing it too.
- Skin care products. It can be the creams, soaps, and shampoo’s you are using on your little one that could be triggering their eczema. Some skin care or bath products contain strong chemicals to help their performance or scent which can irritate young sensitive skin. Any harsh foaming agents like SLS and preservatives like skin-drying alcohol should be avoided. Also look out for colourants and artificial perfumes as these synthetic ingredients can irritate delicate skin. Instead opt for white or colourless products and opt for products containing essential oils such as lavender instead of those listing ‘Parfum’ on their ingredients list. Discover our full range of natural and organic skin care products for babies.
- Food allergies. Your little one could have a food allergy which is causing their eczema to flare up. When navigating the weaning process, you may unearth that your child’s eczema is caused by a food intolerance. Common food allergens include dairy products, seafood, nuts and gluten and parents of eczema-prone children may find keeping a food diary helps them to identify their child’s food triggers.
- Other factors such as certain fabrics or washing detergents, as well as pets, dust or a change in the weather or temperature can all cause eczema flare ups too.
Speak to your GP
If you think your baby may have eczema, speak to your GP. He can help you to find the right treatment for your little one.
Our top products
But there are some things you can do at home to help prevent flare ups and to help soothe their skin and calm the itch.
As we have touched on previously, eczema is caused by skin that struggles to hold in moisture and is easily aggravated by harsh chemicals. So we have picked our favourite skin care products that are delicate on sensitive skin, offer that essential moisture and ,most importantly of all, include no harmful chemicals or synthetic ingredients.
Green People make it their mission to make all their products out of natural ingredients and leave out all the harsh chemicals that can cause eczema to flare up. All their natural skin care products are suitable for babies who are prone to eczema thanks to the soothing power of the pure plant extracts they use. Created to nurture and soothe sensitive skin, reduce irritations and hydrate the skin deep down.
Here are our top picks from the Green People range that are great for eczema prone skin.
This best-selling eczema-friendly baby salve is perfect to soothe your baby’s skin. Reduce irritation and soften your child’s skin whilst giving it some much needed moisture with this organic shea butter, hemp, calendula and lavender baby salve.
This gentle baby wash and shampoo is scent free and uses aloe vera and chamomile to soothe sensitive skin, whilst gently cleaning the skin and hair. This is naturally skin-friendly which protects young delicate skin from dryness and irritation.
This fragrance free baby lotion is bursting full of deep long lasting moisture to help keep dry and sensitive skin soothed, nourished and moisturised.
Balmonds are another brilliant skin care brand that create products for babies focused around removing harmful chemicals that can irritate or trigger skin flare ups in young and sensitive skin. All the Balmonds range are free from the common synthetic ingredients that can cause flare-ups and rashes, choosing natural alternatives instead.
Let’s take a look at our favourite Balmonds products for eczema prone skin.
Balmonds Skin Salvation is their sell out famous product that is perfect for eczema prone skin. It’s a thick, rich, oily, beeswax-based salve, designed to soothe the itch, lock in moisture and protect from further irritation to break the itch-scratch cycle. It also contains hemp seed oil to offer long-term moisture and nourishment to the skin with the nutrients and oils needed to regenerate, regulate and repair the skin.
Balmonds Chamomile baby oil is a pure and natural multi-purpose moisturising oil. It works brilliantly to lock in moisture during or after a bath to soothe and nourish dry skin. It’s all just 100% simple, minimally-processed, natural ingredients perfect for dry, sensitive and eczema prone skin.
This baby balm is a brilliant multi-use product that every parent should have in their changing bag or skin care essentials kit. It’s an all natural balm made with hemp, beeswax and lavender to create an everyday barrier balm to nourish and protect against skin irritations.