Soothing baby's eczema-prone skin

How to recognise and soothe irritated skin

Your baby’s skin is 30% thinner1 than yours and much more delicate as their skin barrier is still developing throughout the first year of their life. This makes it more susceptible to moisture loss and the dryness associated with irritated skin. If left untreated, irritated skin could worsen and become problematic for your child in later life – that’s why managing it early on is so important.

Up to 20% of the world’s children suffer from irritated skin2, so it’s a common condition. Here are some signs that your baby has irritated skin:

  • Skin is visibly very dry
  • Skin is rough
  • Very dry patches may appear on your baby’s face and in skin folds (on the neck, elbow and back of the knees) and on their hands, wrists and ankles. 
  • You may notice them scratching as their skin is very uncomfortable, especially in baby’s skin folds and creases. A toddler can tell you when their skin is irritated, however a baby will show their discomfort more audibly – they’re likely to be very irritable and difficult to settle.
  • If your baby’s skin is excessively dry, painful cracks can appear. In extreme cases it can be very painful and may even bleed or become infected. In these cases it’s recommended that you visit your doctor immediately.             
  • A child who goes on to develop irritation is more likely to develop other allergic conditions such as asthma as they get older. This is why it’s important to take good care of irritated skin. Here are some tips for soothing irritated skin:

Bathing

Bathe your baby 2-3 times a week and more frequently as they grow older. Try using Oilatum® Baby Bath Emollient. It was developed to help reduce the occurrence of very dry and irritated skin. Don’t keep your baby in the water longer than 10-15 minutes, as this could dry out their skin further. After the bath, gently pat them dry with a soft, warm towel.

Moisturise routinely

It’s recommended that you moisturise your baby’s skin at least 2-3 times a day, or as often as required. Introducing moisturisation as part of your daily rituals can make this more achievable. Apply Oilatum® Soothe & Protect Baby Moisturising Lotion when your baby wakes in the morning, check their skin for very dry patches during nappy changes throughout the day, always moisturise after bathing, before they go to bed.

Dress them in comfortable clothes

Your baby’s very dry skin can be irritated by the clothes they wear. Choose fabrics that are kind to their skin, such as cotton, and avoid fabrics such as nylon, wool, polyester and rayon, which can irritate skin. As they grow older try to make sure their underwear is 100% cotton. Check your baby’s nails are cut short after their bath (when they’re softer and easier to cut) and put mittens on their hands at night to help reduce the chances of them scratching and damaging their skin.

If you are worried about your baby’s skin we recommend you talk to your doctor.

Bath time

bath time

Make hair washing fun and pretend your little one is caught in a rainstorm, then use the shower to rinse out their hair. Singing a rhyme will make it even more fun for you both.

Topics:

skin concern; 0-3 months; 4-12 months; 13-36 months; morning time; bath time; bed time;

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References:

  1. Stamatas, G.N., Ph.D. et al. “Infant Skin Microstructure Assessed In Vivo Differs from Adult Skin in Organization and at the Cellular Level.” Pediatric Dermatology. 2010: Vol. 27 No. 2 125–131.
  2. Aguirre, Claudia. "The Biology Behind Eczema and Psoriasis". The International Dermal Institute. http://www.dermalinstitute.com/uk/library/79_article_The_Biology_Behind_Eczema_and_Psoriasis.html. Accessed May 24, 2016.

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