Child Eczema Eguide
Eczema is a form of dermatitis, or inflammation of the upper layers of skin. Eczema usually refers to a range of persistent or recurring skin rashes, itching and dryness. Although Eczema will affect all people of all ages, it usually first becomes apparent in infants and small children. While many infants will grow out of the condition, some will continue to suffer from flare-ups for their whole life.
Types of Eczema
- Atopic Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is the most common type of eczema. It usually occurs in people who have a genetic tendency to have allergies. Atopic Eczema appears early in life, usually in babies between 2 months and 18 months old. It primarily appears on the face, neck , ears, hands, ankles, feet and torso. Atopic Eczema also appears in older children, teenagers and adults, where it usually occurs inside the crease of the inward bend of the elbow, knee, ankle or wrist joints.
- Contact Dermatitis occurs after the skin comes into contact with some form of irritant. There are two types of Contact Dermatitis:
- Irritant Contact Dermatitis is a direct irritation of the skin. It can be caused by prolonged contact with mild irritants, such as bubble bath, soap, sweat, saliva, urine and even water.
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis is an allergic reaction in the skin. Common substances that trigger skin allergies include construction materials, cleaning products, deodorants, cosmetics and medications.
- Seborrheic Dermatitis (Seborrhea), also known as “cradle cap,” is a condition that causes dry or greasy scaling of the scalp and eyebrows. It commonly affects the face or neck at the scalp line. While Seborrheic Dermatitis usually affects infants, it has been known to continue into the teenage and adult years.
- Asteatotic (Xerotic) Eczema is a dry skin condition that becomes so serious that it becomes Eczema. Often occurring in the elderly, this condition worsens during dry winter weather.
- Varicose Eczema (stasis dermatitis) often affects the lower legs of middle-aged or elderly individuals with poor circulation. It usually affects the skin around the ankles causing speckles, itching and inflammation to occur. If left untreated, ulcers may develop.
- Discoid (Nummular) Eczema usually affects the arms and legs, in middle-aged men. This recurring condition occurs in numerous round rashes. The rashes can be pink, red or brown and are usually dry, cracked or bumpy. They can become crusty, itchy and blister and can weep fluid.
Common Symptoms of Eczema
Symptoms of Eczema occur differently in each person that is affected by the condition and usually differ with every recurring flare-up. Most of the symptoms are irritations caused by scratching the itchy skin. The most common symptoms are:
Eczema symptoms can also lead to difficulties sleeping. If the skin is damaged from scratching, secondary infections may also occur.
Common Eczema Triggers
Eczema triggers vary on a person-to-person basis. What triggers one person’s flare-ups may not affect another person’s. However, some commonly known triggers are:
Unfortunately there are no cures for Eczema. It is believed that finding a cure for Eczema is so difficult because the symptoms can differ from person to person. For this reason, the goal of most Eczema treatments is to treat skin, prevent damage, reduce symptoms and prevent flare-ups. Due to the fact that Eczema is different for everyone and can be different with each flare-up in the same person, a treatment that works for one may not work for another and experimentation may be necessary.
Most Eczema symptoms can be relieved with an effective skin care routine. Proper bathing is an important part of a good skin care routine. If the rash is severe enough, even water can sting or burn. Adding bath salts to the tub may help some suffering. Make sure that the bath water is lukewarm (85 degrees) because hot water releases histamines which make the skin red and itchy. As the skin prunes, it disturbs the moisture retaining layer of sensitive skin.
By bathing once per day for 15 minutes, this helps to hydrate the skin and helps to reduce flare-ups. You should clean only dirty and sweaty spots, such as armpits, hands, feet and genitals. Never rub or scrub affected areas. Once done, pat partially dry with a soft towel and moisturize the skin.
Applying moisturizer immediately (within 3 minutes) after bathing is important. It is also recommended that you moisturize at least twice per day. Even after rashes treat, you should continue good skin care procedures to help prevent future flare-ups. Keeping the skin flexible and soft with a moisturizer will help to prevent cracks that could allow infection in.
If the air is dry (less than 60% humidity), apply a thick layer of moisturizer. Contrary to many beliefs, moisturizers lock in the skins own moisture and do not add extra moisture to the skin. It is important to make sure that the moisturizer does not contain any fragrances or chemicals.
Avoiding triggers can also stop the itching, speed repairing and prevent flare-ups. The following list contains a few ways to avoid triggers.
- Avoid products containing alcohol
- Limit sweating and overheating due to sudden changes in temperature and humidity
- Avoid low humidity, as it will dry skin
- Wear loose fitting cotton clothing without tags
- Always double rinse clothing and wash them before first use
- Use fragrance-free laundry detergents with neutral pH
- Vacuum and change bed linens regularly
- Keep nails short to prevent scratching
- Lower stress
While lowering stress is an important part to preventing flare-ups, it can be difficult to do. The following list contains a few small changes that can help to lower stress.
- Make sure to get a good night’s sleep
- Pace yourself and think calm thoughts
- Master relaxation techniques, such as breathing or yoga
- Write down your worries to get them off your mind
- Take up a hobby or get a pet
- Make time for yourself and RELAX
The most difficult Eczema trigger to avoid is scratching. Due to the itch caused by Eczema, a person’s natural first response is to scratch. This is one of the worst things that you can do during a flare-up. Scratching an area affected by Eczema may damage the skin and allow for secondary infections to occur.
If skin becomes infected, antibiotics can be put onto the skin or taken orally. Medicine put on the skin can relieve itching and inflammation with or without antihistamines; however, recent studies show a link between cancer risk increasing with the use of certain prescription creams used to relieve Eczema symptoms. This possible increase is still under investigation by the FDA.
To avoid this risk, there are safe and non-toxic alternatives to prescription medication. Once such alternative we recommend is ProEcza™, a topical cream that can be applied directly to the affected areas to help reduce the itching and irritation associated with Eczema Flare-ups without the risk of side effects.