Pediatric eczema (atopic dermatitis) is another common skin issue that affects one in 10 children. Eczema causes dry, red, itchy skin, and can appear as a red-colored rash on the face, scalp, forehead, the inside of the elbow, and the back of the knees. It can occur in babies as well as school-age children. When children itch their skin, it causes a rash and can potentially lead to the formation of thick brown patches.
Although there is no cure for eczema, our pediatric dermatology providers offer effective treatment regimens to help parents manage the problem and keep their children’s skin as itch-free as possible.
Prevalence of Eczema in Children
Up to 30% of all young children develop eczema, most within the first year. Additionally, 60% of babies with eczema are likely to have the condition as adults. As a parent, you probably want to start getting treatment early for your child.
Eczema (atopic dermatitis) can appear anywhere on your baby’s skin, but it’s most commonly seen on the scalp, arms, legs, and chest. Even children as young as 3 or 4 months can develop eczema. In children older than 1 year, it often shows up inside the elbows, the backs of the knees, and the ankles and wrists. Eczema usually looks dry, with red skin, sometimes small red bumps. It tends to come and go, flaring up from time to time and then subsiding for a while.
Symptoms of Pediatric Eczema
Symptoms of pediatric eczema can vary from one case to another. A rash caused by eczema can look different depending on which area of the body it affects. One of the defining characteristics of eczema is its intense itch. Some children might scratch their skin so aggressively during an eczema flare-up that it bleeds. Eczema’s itch-scratch-cycle is what makes it particularly uncomfortable.
The most common eczema symptoms include:
- An intense itch
- Inflamed and red skin
- Swollen areas
- Scaling on the skin
- Sensitive skin
- Dry skin
- Patches of rough or darkly colored skin
Children with eczema are more likely to get skin infections because their skin is not protected
Precautions to Take to Minimize Flare–Ups of Pediatric Eczema
Even though eczema isn’t an allergic reaction, certain irritants like wool and fragrances can trigger flare-ups. Dry weather, temperature changes, and stress can also trigger flare-ups. While you may not be able to do much about these triggers, it’s still good to be aware. Eczema can be frustrating for children and their parents, especially when the itching makes it challenging to sleep.
Here are some precautions to keep in mind to minimize flare-ups:
- Try minimizing your child’s contact with wool and synthetic fibers. Cotton and fine linen are safe, comfy alternatives.
- Avoid dressing your baby in too many layers, and use light, soft bedding, and clothing.
- Use mild, fragrance-free soap during bath time and gently pat your baby’s skin dry with a soft towel (rather than rubbing).
- Apply ointment or cream to the skin after each bath.
- Use a fragrance-free detergent and steer clear of fabric softeners while washing your child’s clothes.
- Put cotton mittens or socks on your baby’s hands before bed to avoid scratching at naptimes. Eczema can get itchy, but scratching will just make it worse.
- Keep your child’s nails short to minimize scratching the skin and causing additional damage.
Medications for Pediatric Eczema
If your child’s skin is relatively dry and red, or if your child seems to be scratching a lot, consult a pediatric dermatologist for the proper medication. It is best to avoid over-the-counter creams, ointments, and lotions as they tend to contain allergenic or irritating ingredients that can exacerbate your child’s skin condition.
Effective eczema medications include:
- Topical Steroids
- Topical Immunomodulators
- Anti-fungal and Anti-Inflammatory Medication
A pediatric dermatologist may prescribe a steroid cream to be applied to your child’s skin once or twice a day. Keep in mind that if used for too long or at too high of a strength, steroid creams can be harmful. This is why it is important to get a prescription for the correct strength of medication along with precise instructions for use from a qualified pediatric dermatologist. When used correctly, steroid cream will not harm your little ones and they are very effective against eczema symptoms.
Your dermatologist may also prescribe antihistamine medicine to reduce your child’s itching at night.
If your child seems to have frequent eczema flare-ups, consider keeping a journal so you can write down any triggers that seem to irritate your child’s skin. Discuss these with your child’s dermatologist, so that treatment can be tailored to your child’s condition.
Treatment for Pediatric Eczema Near You in NY, NJ, PA, and CT
Schweiger Dermatology Group offers comprehensive treatment for pediatric eczema near you in NY, NJ, PA, and CT. Call us at (844) DERM-DOC to set up your child’s appointment today.
To find a location near you, check out our location pages. We look forward to working together to find the best treatment for your child’s skin!