Written by Karen Richards
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, 60% of babies will experience symptoms of eczema by age 1. If your baby is part of that 60%, you may be baffled by what your baby is experiencing. What causes this irritable reaction on your baby’s skin, and how can you avoid it? We have collected 5 possible causes of your baby’s eczema, and how to address these issues so that your baby can be comfortable and happy again.
Irritable Chemicals in Skincare Products
If you read the ingredient labels on popular skincare products, chances are you won’t even be able to pronounce half of the ingredients listed. This is not a good sign for you or your baby. According to the National Eczema Association, the following ingredients can trigger eczema flare-ups: isothiazolinones, cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB), paraphenylene-diamine (PPD), formaldehyde, and fragrances. If your baby has extremely sensitive skin, it is best to avoid these ingredients, and any other ingredient that is questionable. You may also want to look into organic or natural skincare products.
According to The New York Times, two-thirds of Americans with allergy issues are allergic to dust mites. Dust mites thrive in warm, humid climates, and they manifest in bed linens, mattresses, and pillows. If someone is allergic to dust mites, their symptoms may include sinus issues, asthma, or eczema. If you suspect that your baby is allergic to dust mites, make sure that you frequently wash their bed linens and pillows, as these are areas where dust mites are most commonly found. Better yet, look into purchasing an organic crib mattress, which is made of natural materials that deter dust mites.
Dr. Jon M. Hanifin (professor of dermatology at Oregon Health and Science Univerisity) studied babies in the age range of 3- 18 months with eczema, and found that approximately 15% of these babies had food allergies. There is definitely a link between eczema and food allergies. If your baby has eczema, you may want to look into allergy testing. There are also “food challenges” where your baby avoids a certain food (for example dairy) for a period of time in order to see if symptoms go away. If you are concerned that food allergies are causing your baby’s eczema, discuss allergy-testing options with your medical care provider.
Heat is another common trigger of eczema flare-ups. Being outside in warm temperatures can cause your baby to sweat, leading to stinging, itchy skin. Also, warm baths can irritate and dry out sensitive skin. Protect your baby’s skin from the heat by staying in shaded, cool areas when outdoors. Also, frequently take “breaks” to go inside and cool off. During bath time, use luke-warm water and make sure to apply plenty of lotion after the bath.
Believe it or not, your baby’s clothing could be causing breakouts. Synthetic fabrics can “suffocate” the skin, causing it to become irritated and itchy. Also, some synthetic fabrics contain formaldehyde, a preservative that is commonly found in household disinfectants, cigarette smoke, and embalming fluid. Look for clothing that is made from natural, soft materials. Kate BABY’s blankets and layettes are made from bamboo rayon, a natural material that will feel cool and soft on your baby’s skin. If your baby has sensitive skin, bamboo rayon fabric is an ideal choice!
Eczema is no fun, but hopefully with these tips, you will be able to prevent scratchy, irritated skin. You will feel so much better knowing that your baby is comfortable, happy, and itch-free!
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