This week is Eczema Awareness Week, so we asked our friend Dr Golly to explain what eczema is and provide some tips for keeping your little ones comfortable.
Thanks for joining us again, Dr Golly. Over to you.
What is baby eczema?
Eczema - or atopic dermatitis - causes dry, red and scaly skin - almost anywhere on the body. Eczema is extremely itchy and is a relatively common contributor to unsettled infant behaviour. If severe, the dry skin will eventually start to crack and bleed, leading to a risk of infection.
Eczema commonly starts around 2 months of age, and often gets missed as it can resemble (normal) newborn acne. The key difference is that eczematous skin is very dry to touch, almost like sandpaper. When mild, most children will outgrow their eczema by the age of 5 years.
What causes eczema in babies?
Certain things can cause flares of eczema, like allergens (food, pet hair, pollen, etc), excessive heat, stress or having a cold. Eczema tends to occur in families, especially when there is a history of atopy - this means a tendency to sensitivity (eczema, asthma, allergy or hay-fever).
Is eczema genetic? If I had eczema, will my baby get it?
If you had eczema, there is an 80% chance your child could be affected too.
How to treat baby eczema
If eczema is essentially extreme dryness, the number one enemy of eczema is heat. Try to reduce the heat by removing a single layer (clothing or blanket) at all times, ensuring your baby never gets too cold, but prevent overheating.
Natural fibre, breathable fabric clothing is preferable, like the ergoPouch range of sleepwear.
Regular moisturising helps to return moisture to the dry skin and occasionally, medicated creams/ointments are needed too; discuss this with your child’s doctor.
Useful links to learn more
Thank you so much for your time, Dr Golly.
If you'd like to follow Dr Golly on Instagram you can find him here.
About Dr Golly
Dr Golly (Dr Daniel Golshevsky) is a Melbourne-based paediatrician and father of three. Specialising in unsettled babies and poor sleep, Dr Golly developed this program through his work with thousands of babies over a decade of practice. With a focus on empowering parents and protecting mothers, Dr Golly turns up the volume of that innate parental instinct to maximise parents' understanding of their baby's cues and bring everyone closer to a full night's sleep.