Eczema and Your Baby
National Eczema Week begins on September 18th, and with up to 20% of children suffering from eczema in the UK, it is a condition that many parents will already be familiar with.
While about 12% of adults are affected by eczema, babies and young children are often the silent sufferers of the skin condition. Recognisable by patches of dry and flaky skin on the body, eczema causes skin to become red and itchy. Unable to communicate or understand their discomfort, young children and babies often become distressed due to the constant itching. It also has an impact on family life, disturbing sleep and playtime. Parents can be left feeling frustrated and upset. This in turn can also affect other family members and magnify the situation.
Whilst the immediate symptoms of eczema are easier to recognise, the treatment can often be complicated and timely. Add to that the wider impact eczema can have and you can see it becomes more than simply a skin condition. It can have a strong physical, emotional and psychological impact on the whole family.
Margaret Cox, chief executive of the National Eczema Society, comments 'Parents with a young child or baby, suffering from eczema, know all too well the impact it can have on family life. Unless you've experienced it yourself, it can be something that's hugely underestimated, which is why we are raising awareness and offering support during National Eczema Week. A distressed and unhappy child, constantly suffering from dry and itchy skin means sleepless nights, less quality time with mum and dad, as well as frustrated and upset parents. But parents aren't alone, and there is lots they can do to manage and control the condition, and have a happier, and more content family life.'
Eczema is on the rise: the incidence of eczema has risen to 25% of babies in UK and 160,000 babies are diagnosed each year with the skin condition before their first birthday. Dr. Steve Hewitt, skincare specialist at E45, comments 'Eczema can be particularly distressing for young children and babies, but early and regularly treatment, even when a flare up isn't visible, is the key to keeping it under control. Using a good emollient regime of E45 Cream can help manage the condition from day to day. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about babies' skin, so it's important to make sure you have all the information before you embark on treatment, so speak to your healthcare professional or GP if you have any questions.'
The National Eczema Society, have developed the 5 steps of ACE (Against Childhood Eczema), to help parents manage dry skin and eczema prone skin.
5 steps of ACE
Daily bathing, especially for young children and babies, can cause their skin to dry out. Bathing 2-3 times per week, and 'topping' and 'tailing' them on other days will keep skin clean but lessen the chances of drying it out. When bathing, be sure to add an Emollient Bath Oil to the water (warm, not hot) and let the child's skin absorb this for around 10 - 20 minutes.
Emollients are simple, non-cosmetic moisturisers that soothe and help relieve itchy skin. Used regularly, and applied gently in the direction of hair growth, emollients are the key to managing eczema.
Emollient application can be distressing for a sore and itchy child, so a massage is a good way to help a child relax during application. Massage into the skin gently towards the hands or feet. Doing this can calm and comfort a particularly distressed child.
Skincare specialist Dr. Steve Hewitt recommends using an emollient, like E45 Cream, liberally 2 or 3 times a day, even when the condition appears under control. If dry skin is widespread, it is not unusual to use 500g of emollient in a week. Ensure hands are always washed before application and to avoid contamination, do not put hands in the emollient pot - use a spoon or spatula instead, or better still, use a pump dispenser.
Comforting a child can make emollient application easier. Creating a calm environment before and after emollient can help to soothe a distraught child.
National Eczema Week is 18 - 25 September 2010
National Eczema Society
The National Eczema Society is raising awareness with National Eczema Week, helping people take back control of their skin, and their lives, by equipping them with a comprehensive guide to the condition in a bid to 'ditch the itch'. For more information visit http://www.eczema.org
Dexeryl polled 200 mums and found that:
62% of mum's feel responsible for their child's eczema
52% feel like they are judged negatively because of their child's eczema
And 33% lose hours sleep a night because of their child's eczema
These stats prove that it is even more important that mums are using the right treatment to care for their child's eczema.
National Eczema Week is hoping to raise awareness that creams that contain sodium lauryl sulphate, as many aqueous creams do, are a natural skin irritant. In fact sodium lauryl sulphate is used in trials to irritate the skin and test anti-irritant products. It is for this reason that some children call their eczema cream 'the stinging cream'. There are however non-aggressive emollient creams available which could improve the skin condition of thousands of children very quickly.
One such emollient, available on prescription or over the counter, is Dexeryl® cream from Pierre Fabre Dermatologie : it is SLS, lanolin and fragrance-free.