Eczema & Dermatitis

Infant eczema and dermatitis

Well not surprisingly my son has inherited my partners and my skin issues. He has sensitive skin with dermatitis and eczema, recently having a large flare up mostly on his face that took a while to get under control. This included Dr visit for stronger steroid cream and a visit to a dermatologist. It is looking much better now. So, what exactly is dermatitis and eczema? Dermatitis is a broad term that covers all skin irritations under three main categories: atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and contact dermatitis.

Seborrheic Dermatitis is mostly a scaly scalp with oily patches, often seen as cradle cap in infants. Treated with zinc and moisturiser.

Contact dermatitis is an allergen or irritation due to contact with something that the skin is sensitive to such as soaps, foods, and grass. This is also seen as drool or nappy rash in infants. Best treated with a barrier cream to protect the skin and regular moisturising.

Atopic dermatitis is best known as eczema where the skin in dry, itchy, and inflamed. The cause is not very well known but a genetic component is evident. It is seen in 20% of children under 2 years old but commonly improves significantly from 2 to 5 years of age.

How to treat?

  • The best treatment is to moisturise regularly- we are talking 3 times a day. Eczema is more susceptible to irritants when dry, causing it to become itchy. Itching creates chemicals that can make the skin feel even more itchy! So, keep the skin nice soft.
  • Avoid irritants. There may be creams or perfumes you use, scratchy clothes, or warm temperature that can cause flare ups.
  • Shower with hypoallergenic wash, avoid soaps, avoid bathing too hot, and pat dry.
  • There are products used to treat and prevent flares such as pimecrolimus available with subscription.
  • There are also steroid creams available with subscription, to be used in small doses, such as Methylprednisolone (fatty ointment) and hydrocortisone.
  • For more server eczema there is antihistamines, cold compress, or wet bandages, and even immunotherapy treatments available.

What to look for in a moisturiser?

Everyone is different and will react differently to products. The main thing is that it is dermatology approved and is non perfumed. It is suggested to avoid essential oils, urea, lanolin, retinoids, ethanol, along with other hidden elements so it is best to stick to dermatology approved for eczema products. There are many different products, and you may need to try a few, it needs to be hydrating and non-irritating to bubs skin.

There is often find the word ointment, cream, or lotion on the side of the bottle but what exactly do they mean. Well, it all comes down to the percentage of oil and water.  It is said the more oil, the better it is for treating eczema.

Ointment is around 80% oil.

Cream is around 50/50

Lotion is also around 50/50 but thinner in consistency

Some examples of moisturisers:

Sorbolene– A product many of us have heard of. It’s a great moisturiser and protector of the skin, has no chemicals or perfumes added and can even be used a wash. I have personally used this for years and love it, plus its cheap!

Avene– Cicalfate restorative along with other hypersensitive ranges are dermatology approved products for eczema and other skin irritations. My partner swears by this and nothing else works for him.

La Roche Posay– Their Lipikar range with the cicaplast is recommended for sensitive skin with irritations. I have recently started using this on Quen and his skin is so soft.

Moogoo– All-natural, hypoallergenic, local Australian product with an eczema range. They also have a cancer patient range which they love.

There is no real cure for eczema unfortunately, but the treatments have become more advanced and effective. The main goal is prevention and management. Over time it will become easier but expect changes as bub grows and is active in different ways. If you are ever unsure, contact your GP or a Dermatologist.

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