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Boys Town Pediatrics

Eczema basically is your own body attacking your own skin.  It manifests as an itch but then later develops into a rash.  We call it the itch that rashes.  If your child has a history of allergies or asthma it may go hand in hand with that as well. 

So there are genetic factors and environmental factors, so nearly any baby can get some of it if their skin gets over dry and they have an immature immune system, but especially those who have asthma, allergies, or eczema in their personal history or their family history are more prone to develop it. 

Generally it will be dry red skin irritated and it likes certain areas.  On a baby it may get the cheeks, in the children it can get what we call the flexural creases of the elbows, behind the knees, behind the legs and sometimes on the abdomen as well.

The mainstay of eczema treatment is keeping the skin moist.  For eczema we like ointments and creams.  We recommend staying away from lotions.  Lotions have a higher water content and as that water evaporates it leaves your skin a little drier.  You want to avoid things that over dry the skin as well, such as prolonged baths, or after the bath taking too long to put moisturizer on.  If you don't moisturize the skin and you treat with steroids it won't work as well if you aren't moisturizing.  So the mainstay is moisturization.

I like people to have two.  I prefer petroleum jelly because it only has one ingredient.  It is fragrance free and there are no preservatives.  Sometimes it's hard for your kid to be sticky and greasy everywhere so you can use a cream during the day.  There is a variety.  There is your Eucerin, Aquaphor has several kinds, and Vaseline has some creamy formulations.  Some of those have lanolin.  Some children are sensitive to lanolin.  Cetaphil, CeraVe and Vanicream are also good options. 

Children under five, some of those children end up outgrowing it, about eighty percent of those kids don't have it in the end.  If you have a family history of this or your child has asthma or allergies, they are more likely to deal with it lifelong.

Eczema is a general term for any time of dermatitis or inflammation of the skin. Learn the causes of eczema, what eczema looks like, and how eczema is treated.