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Treating Baby Eczema

Updated on July 26, 2009

Many babies develop baby eczema and it often appears when the baby is as young as only two to three months old.  This type of eczema or dermatitis as it is often called, can be caused by different allergens in the baby's environment. 

Atopic eczema is hereditary. If someone in your immediate family has problems with asthma, eczema or hayfever there is a chance that your baby may be prone to this type of atopic eczema.  Other irritants in the baby's surroundings can also trigger eczema, even if you don't have a history of atopic illnesses in your family, so it is not limited to only those with a history of other atopic illnesses in their family.

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Baby dermatitis usually shows up on the baby's scalp, forehead, upper chest area and around the different joints such as the elbow or knee joints.  The eczema may look like angry red spots, cracked skin, or peeling and scaling skin.  While it may not always distress or bother your baby, especially if it's a fairly light case, it is important to try to treat the eczema so that it doesn't become cracked and infected or cause undue discomfort to your baby. 

There are some simple things you can do to help to alleviate and lessen the problems with eczema.  The main focus should be to moisturize your baby's skin, as this helps keep the eczema at bay.  There are some very good, medicated moisturizing creams available.  Generously applying this to your baby's skin several times during the day and after each bath time should help keep the skin smooth and comfortable for baby.

Likewise, there are medicated baby soaps and liquids that you can use when you bathe your little one.  Using normal bath soaps or liquids can be far too harsh and damaging to a baby's skin, especially if they suffer from baby eczema, so it is best to look for something that is specifically made for children suffering from eczema.

Be careful in your choice of laundry detergent. Some can be very harsh and irritating, and clothes washed in them can exacerbate eczema. 

Choose light weight cotton or other natural material clothing.  Synthetics often irritate skin conditions.  Cotton helps your child's skin to breath. 

If your baby has eczema on their scalp, be sure to wash their hair often and dry it carefully.  Eczema on the scalp can flare up quite badly if the baby gets hot and sweaty and that sweat isn't washed out of their hair. You should also use a special anti-allergic shampoo for washing baby's hair.

Aside from these simple measures you can take, you should also look into your baby's diet. If your child is still very young it's unlikely that foods would be causing problems for your baby but this does become an issue once the baby is being weaned and introduced to solids.

Steroid creams are also sometimes used, particularly in bad cases of eczema, but you do have to be very careful using these on a baby. While they can be helpful to sooth a painful flare-up, they should not be used for any extended time, nor if other methods of treating the baby eczema would alleviate the pain or itching.


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