Your Baby & Toddler - - Front Page -

“It starts at the nip­ples and ends at the top of the head, usu­ally with cra­dle cap.” He ex­plains that when the body loses mois­ture, the se­bum forms as an ex­tra layer of skin (or crust) to pro­tect it. This is what baby eczema is. The best thing to do if your baby has this kind of eczema is to stay away from per­fumed or fra­granced prod­ucts and try to re­plen­ish the skin bar­rier.

Bath your baby in a ba­sic mois­turiser such as Ce­taphil, but be care­ful when pick­ing him up out of the bath as he’ll be more slip­pery than usual.

“If the eczema gets very se­vere – in­flamed and un­com­fort­able – us­ing a gen­tle non-cor­ti­sone anti-inflammatory cream on the skin works nicely and clears up af­ter 48 to 72 hours, and can then be used in­ter­mit­tently as re­quired,” sug­gests Dr Sin­clair.

He also points out that ba­bies who have baby eczema of­ten go on to de­velop clas­sic eczema, so watch out for this. The dif­fer­ence is that clas­sic eczema de­vel­ops in the creases of skin: at the top of the an­kles, in the armpits or be­hind the knees.

“Clas­sic eczema can be al­lergy driven, so by find­ing out what your baby’s trig­ger is (for ex­am­ple, some­thing in your diet af­fect­ing your breast­milk or he is re­act­ing to some­thing in his en­vi­ron­ment) you can avoid ir­ri­ta­tion and lessen the need for treat­ment in the form of mois­turis­ers, anti-in­flam­ma­to­ries and an­ti­his­tamines,” says Dr Sin­clair.

Re­mem­ber to wash your baby’s clothes be­fore he wears them for the first time and to stick to a mild de­ter­gent when wash­ing your baby’s clothes, tow­els and bed­ding. “The chem­i­cals in wash­ing pow­ders can trig­ger eczema and cer­tain en­zymes in some mod­ern de­ter­gents act as pro­teins that lit­er­ally eat dirt. It’s these en­zymes that kids re­act to,” he ex­plains.

BABY SKIN IS PAPER THIN You’ve prob­a­bly no­ticed by now that your baby’s skin is pa­perthin, but it’s ul­tra-sen­si­tive too and will con­tinue to be un­til he’s a tod­dler. Ba­si­cally, ba­bies don’t have melanocytes in their skin to pro­tect them from the sun and this is why it’s ab­so­lutely im­per­a­tive that you’re sun savvy. If you’re go­ing to be out­doors be­tween 10am and 4pm, al­ways ap­ply sun­screen to your baby right from this new­born stage.

“It is not nec­es­sary to put your baby in the sun at all as we live in a cli­mate where we all get enough sun and vi­ta­min D just by be­ing out and about,” urges Dr Sin­clair.

If, how­ever, you re­ally have to be in the sun at peak times (it re­ally is bet­ter just to avoid it in these times if you can), then a good sun­screen is vi­tal.

Don’t for­get to dress your baby in pro­tec­tive cloth­ing and a hat too, and if you do find your­self out in the heat of the day, al­ways look for shade un­der a tree, use a shade over the pram or take along an um­brella or beach tent. YB

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