We all love the touch of baby skin for all its softness and beautiful suppleness.
But we all know that many factors can cause "sensitive' changes to the natural condition of babies skin. As the dry winter approaches, such delicate precious skin will be more susceptible to dryness and for younger babies - eczema. Some may confuse dry skin conditions for eczema and while both seem similar, there are some differences.
Eczema: One in five children will have eczema before they are five years old with most cases beginning before six months. If you or anyone else in the family has allergies or allergic tendencies to certain foods and products, eczema could be an early sign that your child could have those tendencies.
Eczema affects the skin as "flare-ups" - the skin can show signs of red rash like patches, heat, dry and itchy skin, in some cases oozy small blisters, overall irritation, and discomfort.
While the medical world has no one answer, there are many known reasons that can trigger eczema flare up's, external factors such as skin contact with certain application products like soap, laundry detergents, and skincare products with chemicals. Clothing made with synthetic or woolen fabrics and clothes using certain dyes can trigger eczema. Diet and food sources could also be the culprit and allergens in your house like pets, dust and pollen can also be the cause. It can be genetic and more so when baby skin is not producing enough of its own barrier oil to keep it protected, balanced and moisturised.
Dry Skin: Dry skin is a skin type and not a condition like eczema. It is a secondary symptom of eczema and while it is not as severe as the latter, it can still cause your child discomfort when it is not in a natural balanced state.
Dry skin happens from the lack of natural oils being produced by the epidermis. This prevents the hydrolipidic film (a barrier that protects skin from bacteria and retains water), from being healthy.
Sometimes, the skin does not shed as many cells a day as it should and this slows down new and healthy cells to regenerate to the surface smooth and supple. The dry skin cells that remain on the top layer of the skin stay for longer on the surface and forms clumps that look like white flakes or rough dry patches.
In babies, dry skin appears mostly on the cheeks and outer arms and legs.
The causes of extremely dry skin, however, are similar to eczema: genetics, frequent use of "drying" chemical laden application products, clothing and certain types of food.
How To Treat Eczema And Dry Skin
While eczema usually goes away when we hit adult age, it can linger on longer for the remaining of us. But if your child has eczema or dry skin, you can help by treating or relieving it in some of the following ways:
Caring Bath Time: Bathe your little one in lukewarm water as it helps to hydrate and calm the skin. Choose mild unscented or natural scented baby washes. Disperse cleansing formula in the bath or on cloth and not directly onto the skin when they are not so messy. Don’t scrub or rub your baby’s skin, just a gentle wipe, rinse and soft pat dry. Remember you don't need to bath your baby every day!
Daily Moisturising: Moisturise frequently with a quality nourishing lotion, it acts a veil to keep baby skin protected. Moisturise especially after baths it traps in extra moisture which does wonders your baby’s skin. Choose quality moisturisers that have no chemicals and are fragrance-free or fragrance derived only from the natural ingredients in the product.One of the best and safest options are to use products with pure Aloe Vera leaf as it provides relief for irritation and redness. It helps to hydrate, cool and protects baby’s soft skin with natural moisturising elements.
Dress Loose And Comfy: Dress your child in loose cotton clothing. Cotton is a non-irritant and has breathable fibers for sensitive skin. The latter is more expensive but you’re making an investment for a happier baby with healthy skin.