Eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) is a skin rash that usually appears before age 5. In babies it tends to show up on the cheeks and scalp, but it may spread to the arms, legs, chest, or other parts of the body. After a child's first year, it's most likely to show up on the insides of the elbows, the backs of the knees, the wrists, and the ankles, but it can also appear elsewhere. Here are the symptoms and treatments of baby eczema:
- Thickened skin
- Redness and swelling
- Darkened skin of the eyelids and around the eyes
- Changes to the skin around the mouth, eyes, or ears
- Avoid giving your baby long hot baths (use cool or lukewarm water instead) or rubbing your baby's skin too much, especially with rough washcloths, loofahs, or towels.
- Moisturize your baby's skin frequently with fragrance- and dye-free ointments, creams, and lotions, especially right after a bath.
- Dress your baby in soft cotton clothing that "breathes."
- Avoid using scented products.
- Keep your baby's fingernails short to prevent scratching, which can damage the skin and lead to further inflammation and infections.
- Remove irritants and known allergens from the household as much as possible.
- Keep your baby cool to avoid excessive sweating, such as by using cool compresses (a wet, cool washcloth), especially on irritated areas.
See your baby's doctor if these measures don't improve the rash or if the rash looks infected.
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