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Eczema affects many children, often in the first six to twelve months of their life. As their skin adjusts to life in the outside world, it can easily be irritated by one or more external factors that cause a breakout of eczema In children.

Common Causes Of Eczema In Children And How To Treat It

If you are going to prevent eczema flare-ups on your child’s skin or treat them effectively when they happen, it is essential to know the common causes and triggers of eczema in children. Here is a closer look at this common skin problem and how to help your child when they suffer a breakout.

What is Eczema?

If you or your child suffers from itchy, inflamed, and red patches of skin that often produce flakes, then it could be eczema. This is incredibly common in young children and can continue later in their life and adulthood.

There are several different types of eczema, but each produces similar patches of irritated skin that can be very uncomfortable for young children. Eczema often appears in the first six to twelve months of an infant’s life but can affect adults, too, even if they did not experience eczema as a child.

Eczema, also known as atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis, is not a disease or virus, so it is not contagious. It is a reaction of the skin to one or more factors that act as triggers that can begin a breakout on the skin. There is no cure for eczema, though there are treatments that can both soothe and diminish eczema and reduce the frequency of breakouts. 

What Causes Eczema Breakouts?

There is no common cause for eczema. Many factors can combine to influence a breakout of eczema on the skin, and it is essential to try and learn what triggers your child’s breakouts. Particular food and drinks or ingredients within them could be caused by exposure to an artificial or natural substance.

Eczema can be passed down genetically, so if you or your partner has experienced eczema, your child may be more prone to breakouts, and your triggers may be the same as theirs. Eczema can also be part of an allergic reaction, so if your child repeatedly suffers eczema breakouts, they may need to be tested for allergies. The results should help you identify their triggers.

The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but research suggests it is a reaction of the immune system to an external influence. As the immune system reacts, the skin becomes inflamed and irritated, causing dryness, redness, itching, and flaky skin.

To prevent eczema flare-ups on your child’s skin, or treat them effectively, it is important to know the common causes and triggers of eczema in children

Is Eczema The Same For Children And Adults?

Eczema can look different on infant and toddler skin than it does on adults. Their skin is still adapting to the outside world, and eczema and other skin conditions can look more severe and painful than it does on an older child’s skin or an adult.

In the first six months of a baby’s life, eczema can look very red, and the skin can seem weepy. At this age, eczema is commonly found on the head, face, neck, and cheeks of a child. It can be found on other areas of the body, but not often in the area where diapers are worn. 

Rashes here are usually ‘nappy rash‘; eczema does not typically affect this area of the body as it is well moisturized and protected from external triggers. If you notice a rash when changing your baby, it is most likely a diaper rash, which can be easily treated, and not an eczema breakout.

Eczema In Children Over Six Months

For children over six months, eczema can often appear further down the body on the torso, arms, and legs. The areas around the elbow and knees are common sites for eczema breakouts in toddlers and young children as they have begun crawling at this stage. The substances on carpets and flooring can act as triggers; as can the rubbing these areas experience as your toddler crawls around.

As children age and begin to walk, eczema is commonly found on the arms, torso, or face. Eczema on the face can be painful, mainly if it affects areas around the eyes and mouth. The skin affected by eczema can also look drier and scalier than it did when they were younger and may take on a yellowish color. 

This can be a sign that the skin has become infected, and you should consult your family doctor to see if your child needs some extra help to reduce the size and severity of the breakout and clear the infection.

What Are The Common Triggers For Eczema Breakouts?

An allergic reaction can sometimes trigger eczema, so if your child suffers from repeated eczema breakouts, you should get them tested for allergies to help determine some of their triggers. 

Allergies are one of the environmental triggers that can cause a breakout of eczema on your child’s skin. In extreme weather conditions, household dust and airborne pollen can also trigger an eczema flare-up when very hot or icy.

Exposure to irritants on the skin is a common trigger for eczema, and this is often from soaps and shampoos used to bathe your child. The detergents and laundry softeners used to clean their clothing can also irritate their skin and cause a breakout.

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It is also possible that the clothing materials can be an eczema trigger for your child. Synthetic, artificial fabrics like polyester and nylon can irritate the skin and cause an eczema breakout, as can natural fabrics like wool or cotton. Through some trial and error, you should be able to identify any fabrics or fibers that trigger an eczema breakout in your child.

Psychological triggers are more common in adults but can also affect children, toddlers, and babies. Stress is a common trigger in adults, and if your baby or young child is feeling stressed by changes in their environment or routine, eczema can flare up.

How Can I Manage My Child’s Eczema?

If you can identify the triggers of your child’s eczema, you can reduce their exposure to them, reducing the frequency of breakouts and their severity. This may mean changing laundry detergent, dusting the home more often, or avoiding certain foods and beverages that can trigger a breakout.

Regular moisturizing can work as a preventative measure. Consult your family doctor and work with them to create a skincare regime to suit your child. This can prevent eczema breakouts from occurring or reduce their severity when they do.

Bacterial and viral infections can trigger eczema, even if this infection is not on the skin. When your child is unwell, it is always essential to treat this quickly and ensure that their doctor is aware of their eczema and how it could be impacted by infection. If the skin itself does become infected, tacking on a yellowish tinge, your child may need an antibiotic or antiviral cream applied to the area.

Common Causes Of Eczema In Children And How To Treat It

If your child repeatedly suffers from eczema, you must know what to do when a breakout happens and what you can do to prevent them. This guide to the common causes of eczema should help reduce the frequency of eczema breakouts, diminish their effect on your child’s skin, and prevent them from happening in the first place.

Alicia Trautwein is an Autism advocate, writer, motivational speaker, and dedicated mom of four. Alicia’s desire to advocate for Autism comes from her own autism diagnosis and that of her three children, niece, and brother. Her life’s mission is to educate on autism acceptance and change the world for future generations of autistic individuals.

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