Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is one of the most common skin conditions in children, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It often appears as dry, scaly patches on the scalp, forehead or face.
Eczema can be very itchy, and you may see your infant rubbing his/her skin against bedding or carpet to relieve the itch. Children may scratch so intensely that it leads to a skin infection.
But there's hope. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, eczema can improve with good skin care.
To reduce the severity and frequency of eczema flare-ups in children, Amanda Friedrichs, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice in Sycamore, Ill., recommends parents follow these bathing skin-care tips:
* Bathe your child in warm – not hot – water.
* Limit your child’s time in the bath to five or 10 minutes.
* Use cleanser only when needed and make sure the cleanser is mild and
fragrance-free. Do not use bubble bath.
* After bathing, gently pat your child’s skin partially dry
* If your child has topical medicine, apply it when your child’s skin is almost dry and use the medicine as directed. Apply moisturizer on top of the medicine and to the rest of your child’s skin.
The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends these skin-care tips:
* Apply moisturizer at least twice a day to help prevent dryness and cracking.
* Choose a thick cream or ointment, such as petroleum jelly, which is fragrance-free.
* Keep your child’s fingernails short and smooth. This decreases the likelihood
that scratching will puncture the skin.
* Keep the temperature and humidity levels comfortable at home. The most common trigger of the itch-scratch cycle is if a child is overheating.
* Use a laundry detergent made for sensitive skin; scented fabric softener or dryer sheets may contribute to irritation.
* Buy clothes without tags, because they can rub against the skin, causing irritation.
* Wash your child’s new clothes before wearing to remove excess dyes and fabric finishers, which can be irritating.