What Are The Best Ways Of
Treating Baby Eczema?

Treating baby eczema can feel like a minefield.

You want treatment that will work, and just as importantly, is safe to use on your baby. There are a number of options that you can try.

Some treatments are first line treatments. This means that they are the first choice to treat the eczema. Doctors will try these before trying any second line treatments.

Second line treatments are tried when first line treatments are unsuccessful. These treatments are always monitored to see how they are working and to check for side effects.

First Line Treatments For Treating Baby Eczema

  • Emollients. The most important treatment for eczema. Emollients are great moisturisers. When applied they put a layer of protection on top of the skin. This helps to do the job that the damaged skin barrier normally does, helping to keep irritants and bacteria out of the deep layers of the skin. Emollients specially for eczema are generally natural products. This makes them good for your baby’s skin, as theirs tends to be more sensitive than adult’s skin. Emollients come mainly as creams and ointments. Ointments are thicker than creams. I tend to use ointments when my skin gets really dry, as I find they work well. When you go to your doctor, they may recommend Aqueous Cream. You can buy it over the counter and it is relativity cheap to buy. But in the last few years there has been some questions asked about how safe it is to use. It contains SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate). It has been found in recent years that it irritates some people’s skin. I don’t use it and leave it on my skin. I only use it when it can be rinsed off. It doesn’t irritate my skin using it that way, but everyone is different. Luckily there are some alternatives to Aqueous Cream. You can find out more about other emollients, and decide which one would be best for your little ones
  • Topical Corticosteroids. In recent years there have been some concerns over the use of topical steroids in treating eczema. Because of these concerns some parents choose to avoid them. If they are used correctly then they can be a safe and effective way of treating baby eczema. If you get them prescribed from your doctor then they can monitor their usage, including strength and the length of time that they are used for. Your doctor should recommend the lowest strength that is needed, then increase or decrease the strength according to how well they work. Children need different amounts to adults. There are guidelines of how much to use on different areas of the body. You can read more about potential side effects and guidelines for use, here
  • Occlusive Dressings. These are used more often than you might think on babies suffering from eczema. They are great as part of eczema treatment and management. They help topical treatments absorb into the skin and also help to reduce scratching. A dressing can be anything from a plaster or bandage for a small area of affected skin, to specialist clothing or body suits for larger areas. All dressings can be used with emollients, and with supervision from your doctor, topical steroids.They can be messy and time consuming, but can be very effective and help soothe your baby’s eczema. This is very important at night, when eczema can become itchy which can lead to your child having a disruptive nights sleep.

Second Line Treatments

  • Antibiotics. Topical and oral antibiotics are used when eczema gets infected. When an infection occurs it tends to be the Staph aureus bacteria which is the culprit. The eczema becomes even more irritated and itchy, and also becomes weepy. Antibiotics are mainly prescribed by your doctor, so they can monitor how effective they are, to see if any further treatment is needed. They also check their usage as there are reports that the overuse of antibiotics can cause the body to become immune to them. Once the body becomes immune they won’t do the job that they are meant to. There are some antibiotics that are safe to use when treating baby eczema

            - Fucidin. An ointment safe for babies aged 1 month and over

            - Flucloxacillin. An oral solution for babies aged from 1 month

            - Erythromycin. An oral solution for infants over 1 month old

  • Antihistamines. Used to relieve itching. They aren’t recommended for infants under 2 years of age, but if you feel that your baby might benefit from them then speak to your doctor
  • Glucocorticoids.These are also known as oral steroids. They are a second line eczema treatment. When your doctor prescribes it for your baby, it will be in liquid form. If your baby’s eczema is severe and isn’t responding to first line treatments this is a safe option to try. Just stick to the daily dosage, and listen to any medical advice given
  • Immunosuppressants. Another second line treatment, these work by suppressing the immune system so reducing the symptoms of inflammation. Can be prescribed for children, and the dosage given depends on the age of the child

It can be trial and error when trying to treat baby eczema, but the effort is worthwhile. Always use any treatment under the guidance of your doctor. Emollients are generally safe to use without the need to be monitored by a doctor. You may just need to keep an eye out for any irritation as they may contain an ingredient that causes a reaction to their skin.

There are also some natural ways to treat and manage your baby's eczema that you may want to try. Not all natural treatments are recommended to use on babies, so I'll weed out the best ones and write about them next. I'll update the blog when it's up on the site.

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