Atopic Skin In Babies: Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

Atopic skin is a nightmare for anyone, and more so for a baby. Unfortunately, this skin condition is very common in young children, affecting about 1 in 5 children under 2 years of age.

Although it is not serious, its symptoms are usually very bothersome and uncomfortable, but with special care and regular treatment of the affected areas, symptoms can be reduced and help make the baby more comfortable.

If your child or a close relative has atopic skin, you need to know what you are going to face, knowing its symptoms, causes and treatment. Read on to soak up everything related to baby’s atopic skin, and improve the quality of life for your child, and that of your family in general.

What is atopic baby skin?

It is a very common skin condition that causes it to become brittle, dry, itchy (itchy), rough, and red.

The term “atopic skin” is used to describe two skin conditions that usually appear from 2 to 4 months of age:

  • Atopic dermatitis : A chronic, generally inherited condition that is more common in babies with a family history of allergies, eczema, and asthma.
  • Contact dermatitis : Skin rash when the skin comes into contact with an irritating substance; once the irritant is removed, the rash usually disappears.

The exact cause that produces it is unknown, but it can appear in several members of the family. Some children with eczema also have other allergic conditions, which can include hay fever and asthma.

It generally improves as children get older, but it can also extend into adulthood. To know a little more what we are dealing with, we are going to discover its symptoms.

Symptoms and areas where it manifests

Childhood atopic skin usually manifests as patches of dry, scaly, itchy, and reddened skin in highly visible areas , including the baby’s cheeks, behind the ears, and on the scalp.

If not given proper treatment, it usually spreads down the body, down to the hands, the folds of the elbow, behind the knees, and sometimes to the diaper area.

The appearance can vary from one baby to another, but in general, the scaly skin is irritated, and small bumps that are filled with pus and ooze usually appear.

When a child’s skin becomes dry and brittle due to eczema, it is easily irritated and releases chemicals that cause itching.

The itch-scratch cycle

Unfortunately, the more they scratch, the more likely it is to perpetuate or even worsen the itchiness, redness, and swelling. This is known as the “itch-scratch” cycle and can be very painful.

The condition in adults does not usually look the same as in babies, so it is important to identify symptoms and triggers to protect the skin. We have already looked at the symptoms, and now we will discuss the triggers.

What causes it (triggers)

The most common triggers for atopic and contact dermatitis include:

  • Moisture (from milk, saliva, or sweat).
  • Dry skin .
  • Heat or very hot rooms.
  • Allergens , which include dust mites, pet dander, pollen, and mold.
  • Abrasive fabrics , such as wool or synthetic fabrics.
  • Smoke Cigarette and any smoke in general.
  • Detergents, soaps, shampoos, disinfectants, colorants and fragrances, in short, irritants .
  • Viral or bacterial infections.
  • Food allergies , most commonly caused by milk, eggs, nuts, seeds, or wheat.
  • Stress .

It should be borne in mind that not all these factors trigger children’s dermatitis, as they can vary from one to another.

Treatment and prevention of symptoms

But let’s get to what interests us: how to treat this condition.

Once the outbreak occurs, it must be treated as soon as possible so that it does not progress to adults. If the baby scratches or rubs the skin, it will further aggravate the symptoms, making the area more vulnerable to other irritants and dryness.

And even if it is not in an outbreak period, you can also do a lot to prevent or delay its appearance as much as possible.

These are some actions that you can carry out both to treat and prevent atopic skin of the baby:

The daily bath and moisturizing are the key to treating this condition, but must be done the right way and with the right elements. You should always use a hypoallergenic, mild and fragrance-free soap, avoid sponges and cloths to wash it, and always do it with warm water.

After a bath of no more than 15 minutes, rinse completely, dry your baby gently (without rubbing his skin), and apply a special cream for atopic skin while his skin is still damp.

Moisturize your skin at least twice a day . Moisturizers trap water in the skin, making it more flexible and less prone to cracking. It is important to moisturize regularly, even when the baby does not have a breakout, because dry skin is a cause of breakouts.

A skincare routine with proven effective treatment can strengthen the skin’s hydration barrier and help prevent the recurrence of dry, irritated, and uncomfortable skin.

And if you change products, try it first on a small area of ​​your skin to make sure it is well tolerated. The sunscreen that you put on it should also be specific for sensitive and atopic skin.

To prevent your child from scratching the rash, it may help to trim his nails or put on cotton gloves or socks while he sleeps.

Make sure the room where the baby is is cool and with medium humidity, as both dryness and excessive humidity can trigger an outbreak. This means dressing the baby in light clothing and thin blankets, using a humidifier or dehumidifier (depending on the case), and having an air conditioner to regulate the temperature.

Wash all the clothes that will be in contact with the baby with a detergent indicated for sensitive skin (without colorants or fragrances), wash all new clothes before putting them on for the first time, and remove all labels so that they do not rub against their skin .

Typical allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, pollen, and mold can cause itchy and inflamed skin. Make your home an allergen-free zone by vacuuming and cleaning frequently, keeping soft toys (which trap dust) to a minimum and washing them frequently, and grooming pets regularly.

Although stress does not cause dermatitis, symptoms can worsen as a result of tension, anger, or frustration. If your child is having trouble in daycare, you may notice more flare-ups than usual. Stress can also cause you to scratch more, perpetuating the scratch and itch cycle. Avoid stressing your baby as much as possible .

Many children with atopic skin also have an allergy to a particular food. This does not mean that a food allergy causes the problem, but eliminating some foods from your diet can lead to better control and a happier child.

In cases where the condition worsens, such as flare-ups, pediatric treatment such as hydrocortisone cream and possibly antihistamines may be necessary to reduce itching.

Atopic skin and breastfeeding

One more benefit of breastfeeding that you might not have heard of? It may be the best medicine for atopic skin in babies. There is evidence that breastfed newborns are less likely to develop dermatitis than milk-fed babies.

Also, thanks to the antimicrobial properties of breast milk, it can also help with eczema. It’s free, so it’s worth a try: Just rub a few drops on the rash regularly for a few days when you’re breastfeeding, and see if there’s a reduction in tell-tale symptoms.

When is it necessary to go to the pediatrician

If you suspect that the signs your baby is showing may be atopic skin, check with your pediatrician. If the condition persists or if the skin rash is purple, crusted, or blistered, don’t hesitate to see a doctor.

Talk to your pediatrician about using a special cream or ointment to help control the rash, or bleach baths to relieve symptoms. Your child may also need antibiotics if a secondary infection develops.

It may seem daunting, but the good news is that atopic skin disappears in many babies by the time they turn 4, and many more will outgrow it before adulthood.

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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.

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