Understanding Your Infant or Toddler’s Eczema
Eczema affects approximately 10 percent of infants in the United States. There are several different forms of eczema, but the most common is a chronic condition involving the immune system called atopic dermatitis.
What Causes Eczema?
The exact cause of eczema is not clear; however, the condition is believed to be linked to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Eczema occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to something in the environment, which causes red, itchy, rashes on the skin.
A family history of hay fever, asthma, or atopic dermatitis increases the likelihood that a child will develop eczema. Infants with atopic dermatitis are also more likely to experience asthma or hay fever as they grow up. The condition is not contagious.
Eczema During Various Stages of Childhood:
During the first six months of life, eczema typically develops on the scalp, forehead, and face. The affected area may be red and look weepy. Between the ages of 6 months and 1 year, the rash is most likely to develop on the knees and elbows. The area may develop pus bumps or a yellow crust if the affected skin becomes infected. Toddlers tend to develop eczema in the creases of the hands, wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. It can also develop around the eyes and mouth. At this point, the skin may become thick, dry, and scaly, which is known as lichenification. In older children, eczema usually affects the skin in the folds of the knees and elbows.
Identifying Eczema Triggers:
Identifying the environmental factors that trigger an eczema flair can help parents manage their child’s symptoms and minimize skin irritation. The most common triggers include:
- overly dry skin,
- skin infections,
- extreme heat and sweating,
- saliva from drooling,
- environmental allergens, and
- chemical irritants in household products.
Infants and children with eczema should be evaluated by a dermatologist to identify which form of the condition they have and the most appropriate eczema treatment. Contact Calabasas Dermatology Center today and have your toddler seen by our board-certified dermatologist and team.