What to Do If Your Child Has Eczema
Here’s the best way to take care of your child’s eczema. Our pediatric dermatologist offers advice.
Patches of red, scaly skin on your baby may be as unwelcome as a 3 a.m. diaper change, but they’re about as typical. Up to 30% of children under age 2 have atopic dermatitis (eczema), says pediatric dermatologist Joan Tamburro, DO.
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Most children outgrow the condition, although flare-ups (flares) can recur throughout life. And dry, sensitive skin may always be a concern.
“Eczema can start as dry skin, but it’s more than dryness,” says Dr. Tamburro. “It’s a red, extremely itchy rash that can ooze or become even more red and itchy when scratched. Sometimes scratching can cause the rash to bleed, crust and scale over.”
Eczema can appear anywhere on the body, she says, but location often changes with age. It’s usually on the:
While dry skin can trigger flares, so can environmental factors, including:
In addition to avoiding triggers, good skin care is the best way to prevent the dry, itchy skin that can provoke eczema flares. Dr. Tamburro recommends parents help children with eczema:
While it’s not curable, eczema can be controlled, says Dr. Tamburro. Those who have had flares, even as infants, need to protect their skin for the rest of their lives.
“Some parents are aggressive at treating other health problems but disregard their child’s eczema, thinking skin problems are no big deal,” says Dr. Tamburro. “When children are itchy every day of their life, it is a big deal. Kids suffer with it. Eczema needs to be treated.”