The baby’s skin is characterized by being tremendously smooth, soft and silky. But suddenly one day it starts to get dry, scaly and reddish. This is what usually happens when atopic dermatitis arises, a tremendously uncomfortable skin problem for the little one, since it tends to cause a lot of itching. It can also be known medically under the name of eczema or eczema, although it is true that under this term it is also possible to find another type of equally common skin problem, such as contact dermatitis.

What is the atopic dermatitis? What is atopic skin in babies?

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory condition, which means that it tends to recur and appear constantly. Babies with atopic dermatitis, in fact, often have associated food or environmental allergies. And as many studies indicate, those little ones with a family history of allergies, asthma or eczema are more likely to develop it.

According to a report atopic dermatitis is thought to affect about 10 percent of children, of which 85 percent of cases tend to develop before the age of 5, although more than half appear in the child’s first year of life.

In another recently published report, it is specified that about 65 percent of children show the first symptoms in the first 12 months of life, while 90 percent do so in the first 5 years (that is, the statistics have risen somewhat according to the latest report published by the AAP).

Fortunately, it is known that half of all children affected with atopic dermatitis tend to improve between the ages of 5 and 15 years. Although it is not a life-threatening condition, it can increase the risk of a serious skin infection. Whereas, although it cannot be cured, it can be well controlled with proper treatment and medication.

As we can see, although it is true that atopic skin usually affects adults, the reality is that it is tremendously more common in children. In fact, it is estimated that before the age of 5, those who are going to suffer from atopic skin already have the first symptoms. In this way, from the moment the first signs or the first signs appear, it generally tends to persist throughout childhood and adolescence. And although in many cases it usually decreases until it disappears, in other cases it can even continue into adulthood.

On the other hand, unlike what might be thought at first, if your child suffers from skin and atopic dermatitis, you should be calm:  it is not contagious, even when the typical skin rashes appear, or when they reach become infected.

What are the main symptoms of atopic skin in babies?

In infants (especially infants under 12 months of age), atopic dermatitis usually affects the scalp, cheeks, torso, and extremities. For example, it can also arise behind the ears. In short, in highly visible areas of the skin.

However, as the baby grows and is older -as in the young or in the more adult stage-, outbreaks usually appear, especially on the hands and feet. Although the knees and elbows are also affected quite frequently by these.

In any case, a fundamental characteristic of atopic dermatitis is that it tends to cause uncomfortable and annoying itching, which is difficult to calm in most cases. In fact, it can interfere not only with the quality of life of the person who suffers it, but it can even interrupt the baby’s sleep.

The skin becomes scaly, red, and inflamed. Also, if the child tends to scratch, and does so very often, the result is that the affected area ends up thickening and hardening.

If, in addition to atopic skin, cradle cap (seborrheic dermatitis) appears, other symptoms usually arise that are not usually seen in other types of childhood dermatitis. It appears mostly on babies’ scalps, foreheads, and faces, and shows up as greasy, yellow scales, reminiscent of thick dandruff that covers the top of your little one’s head. They do not usually cause discomfort, although sometimes a slight itching may occur.

What risk factors can influence?

It is known that babies with a family history of allergies, asthma or dermatitis are at increased risk of atopic dermatitis; that is, they are more likely to develop it a few months after birth (or, at least, until they are 5 years old).

In fact, it is believed that a genetic predisposition can cause atopic skin to develop in babies with a dysfunctional immune system.

In addition, there are a series of triggers that seem to influence the appearance of atopic dermatitis, although these should not be understood as direct causes, but rather as “actors” that tend to worsen the symptoms: this is the case of dry skin, allergies, certain infections, some irritants, stress, and excess heat or sweating.

And they are not the only triggers. Rapid changes in temperature, long baths in hot water, the use of certain soaps or detergents, contact with dust or sand, some bacterial infections of the skin, the use of fabrics or clothing, tobacco smoke and the consumption of some foods, such as: milk, eggs, wheat, fish or soy.

Furthermore, it is known that parents who have or have had atopic dermatitis are more likely to have children with atopic dermatitis. As happens with those parents with respiratory allergies or asthma: their children will tend to have a higher risk than the rest of suffering from them.

A study published in 2018 found that children whose mothers experienced situations of high stress during gestation (pregnancy) have a higher risk of developing atopic skin.

Another study, published the same year, found that the presence of certain pollutants in the air, as well as some weather conditions, can influence the risk of atopic skin in children of both sexes. The researchers concluded that elevated levels of ammonia, carbon monoxide, lead, formaldehyde and ozone can have a direct influence.

What are your causes?

In any case, at the moment there is no known exact cause. In other words, medical specialists and researchers do not know exactly what causes atopic skin, but many experts agree that there are actually different elements that can lead to the appearance of atopic dermatitis. Moreover, most experts believe that there may be a combination of genetic and environmental factors (such as living at home with a pet).

In this sense, the different theories that have been published so far indicate that both the causes and triggers of atopic skin include different allergens, bacteria and even mutations and/or genetic variations.

In fact, it is estimated that between 20 to 30 percent of people who suffer from atopic dermatitis have a genetic variation that compromises the outermost layer of the skin, known as the epidermis (and within which we find ourselves). with what is known as the  horny layer or stratum corneum, which is also characterized by being the outermost layer of the epidermis).

When a person has this gene variation, their skin has a harder time retaining moisture. And not only retain moisture, but also prevent the entry of foreign substances that, in the end, can cause damage to the skin.

It is also known that children are more likely to develop atopic skin when any of the family members (especially parents or siblings) have a history of atopic skin, asthma or allergic rhinitis, also known medically as hay fever. For all these reasons, it is also considered that there must be some genetic or hereditary factor that influences its appearance, although at least for the moment the trigger or direct cause has not been identified.

Some researchers go even further, considering that atopic skin is actually a dysfunction of the immune system, which tends to especially affect the skin’s natural barrier, and its equally natural ability to retain moisture.

In addition to atopic skin itself, there are other types of eczema that also affect children quite commonly. They are the following:

Dyshidrotic eczema

Also known medically under the name of dyshidrotic, it is a skin condition in which a series of blisters or vesicles (elevated portion of the skin filled with fluid) develop, mainly on the soles of the feet and/or on the Palms of the hands.

These blisters, in general, tend to itch and also tend to fill with liquid, and when they appear they usually last approximately two to four weeks, and may be related to both stress and certain seasonal allergies. In the case of babies and children, for example, the most common is that the main cause is seasonal allergies.

Blisters, therefore, become one of the most common symptoms, together with itching, so that blisters usually cause a lot of itching, which can in turn cause the skin to peel. In turn, it is common for the affected skin areas to end up cracking, or to be very painful to the touch (this is what happens especially when the blisters dry up).

As with both atopic skin and dermatitis itself, the exact cause of dyshidrotic eczema is also unknown. In this sense, doctors consider that the condition could have a direct relationship with allergic rhinitis or seasonal allergies, hence the blisters usually appear especially at certain times of the year (especially during spring).

Although this type of eczema also affects children, on this occasion the reality is that it is usually observed in adults, especially in ages between 20 and 40 years of age.

Seborrheic dermatitis

Medically also known as seborrheic eczema, it consists of a tremendously common skin condition, which usually presents with dandruff, redness and scaly patches, affecting the scalp to a greater extent, although it can also arise in other parts of the body where there is a greater amount of fat. Hence, it also most often affects the face, back and upper chest.

When this type of dermatitis affects babies, it is known as cradle cap, although it is very likely that you will better identify it under one of its most popular names: cradle cap, since it becomes the colloquial way of calling seborrheic dermatitis. when it arises on the scalp of the smallest. In babies, it usually also forms on the forehead, behind the ears and on the face, although as you surely know, it tends to be much more common on the scalp.

The exact cause, as with other eczema, is not fully known, although doctors do suspect that there are two fundamental or main factors that can contribute to the development of this type of dermatitis: the overproduction of fat, which it can end up acting as an irritant (causing the skin to turn not only greasy, but also red), and the presence of a fungus, known by the name of Malassezia, which we find naturally present in the oils of the skin.  When this type of fungus grows abnormally, it causes the skin to secrete a greater amount of fat, hence the excessive production of sebum can influence the appearance of cradle cap.

But it is not the only related cause. Another factor that has to do directly with the mother has also been identified: the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Experts believe that the different changing and fluctuating hormone levels stimulate the different sebaceous glands of the baby, causing an overproduction of oil or sebum that could irritate the skin.

As it is a skin condition that usually remains long-term, it is essential to follow continuous treatment, developing an adequate skin routine, and avoiding triggers to help control it effectively.

How is it diagnosed in babies?

The pediatrician will ask the mom or dad about the baby’s symptoms, as well as the child’s health history. They will also ask about whether the parents, or any other family members, have atopic skin, atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, asthma, nasal allergies, or any other allergic conditions. He will also inquire about the child’s own allergy symptoms.

Then it is common to examine the child for symptoms and signs directly related to atopic skin. Although it is true that there is no specific test, in most cases just observing the symptoms is enough. In fact, testing is usually not needed, although if allergies are suspected your doctor may recommend testing, especially when some food allergies also arise.

Tests may include:

  • Blood tests. They can be carried out to determine the levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE), which is released by our body’s immune system, completely and completely naturally, especially in large quantities when there is some type of allergy. Other blood tests may also be done.
  • Skin tests. Other skin tests may also be done to check for allergies and other skin conditions. However, these tests are usually done later, when the child is at least 2 or 3 years old (although it is true that they can be done from 6 months of age), and they consist of applying a series of allergens, and wait between 30 minutes to 1 hour to check how the skin reacts. If redness arises, the most common is that the child has an allergy to that particular allergen.

What are allergy skin tests like? How are they made?

There are several tests that can be carried out. One of them is known as the skin prick test, which consists of placing a small drop of a certain allergen on the child’s skin. Then, it is punctured with a very fine needle so that part of this allergen enters the skin.

Thus, if the child has some type of allergy to this substance, a reddish, inflamed bump will form, along with a kind of “ring” around it. It is a test carried out by the allergist, who is the doctor who specializes in allergies.

In case the little one takes some type of medication, it may be necessary to leave it for a while before carrying out the test. Then, at the time of performing it, it will be the allergist who determines which allergens will be tested. In most cases there are usually a few.

This test will be done on the back or inside of the arm. Thus, depending on the number of allergens being tested, it will take more or less. Luckily, in most cases the results will be available in the consultation itself after just 30 minutes or 1 hour, although it is also possible to have them throughout the day.

However, it is necessary to take into account that both false negatives and false positives are common, so it should be the doctor who indicates whether it is recommended to repeat the test or not.

Under the name of intradermal test, we also find another diagnostic method that consists of injecting a minimum amount of a certain allergen under the skin of the arm. In most cases it is done only to detect allergies to insect venom or penicillin.

It is a type of test that is also carried out in the specialist’s office, and for this a needle is used to inject a small amount of this allergen under the skin of the child’s arm. Then, after 15 minutes, the doctor checks the site where the allergen was injected, to detect the possible presence -or not- of any allergic reaction.

The patch test is also another useful diagnostic method, especially recommended when the baby or child has had hives or some type of skin rash. It is especially useful when discovering if a certain allergen is causing the appearance of that irritation on the skin.

It is a test similar to the skin prick test, but to carry it out, a needle is not used, but patches containing the allergens to be studied (it can be done with 20 or 30 allergens).  These patches are then placed on the child’s skin and worn on the arm or back for up to 48 hours. After time, the doctor will remove them in the consultation, and analyze the skin.

The results may vary depending on the test that is performed and the specific allergy itself, although in many cases they tend to be quite useful.

How is atopic skin treated in babies?

Once the baby has been diagnosed with atopic skin (or atopic dermatitis, in short), it is essential to treat it quickly, since otherwise the little one can scratch or rub the skin excessively, aggravating the problem even more and causing the affected skin area becomes more vulnerable not only to other irritants, but ends up causing greater dryness.

Fortunately, there are some treatment plans that are quite helpful. And, for the most part, they pursue the objective of keeping the skin cared for (helping to repair it), controlling itching, avoiding or controlling triggers (which will be useful in reducing dermatitis outbreaks), as well as the use of anti-inflammatory action drugs, ideal for reducing the body’s inflammatory response during an outbreak.

However, in the case of babies, the use of these types of anti-inflammatory drugs may not be recommended, as they are not appropriate or even necessary.

There are also some tips and guidelines that can be extremely useful for parents whose children are affected by this problem:

  • It is advisable to bathe the baby no more than three times a week. Also, to prevent your very sensitive skin from drying out, it is better to use short, lukewarm baths.
  • A mild, hypoallergenic baby lotion after bathing will help retain moisture in the skin. It is also advised to reapply it later, doing so several times a day.
  • Wash baby clothes and bedding with a detergent specially designed for sensitive skin.
  • Gently clean the baby’s saliva, and also do it every time we see it (especially in the area of ​​the lips, chin and neck), since excessive moisture can influence the appearance of outbreaks.
  • Try to dress the baby in cotton (if possible organic), in addition to soft and smooth clothes. It is recommended to avoid fabrics with stripes -such as wool-, or rough.
  • Animal dander and saliva can trigger dermatitis flare-ups. So if you have a pet at home, the ideal is to try to keep it away from the baby (that is, both from the clothes and from the child’s room).

As we have seen, atopic dermatitis is characterized by being a fairly common skin condition among babies and young children. And, at least for now, both the specific causes and triggers are certainly hard to find or discover.

Therefore, at the slightest symptom, it is recommended to consult with the pediatrician, in order to develop the best treatment plan. Fortunately, as we have indicated, as the child grows, atopic dermatitis generally improves or may even disappear completely.

For this reason, patience and perseverance in treatment is recommended, trying to prevent, above all, some of the main triggers of outbreaks in the baby. In most cases, little by little the child’s skin will improve and the discomfort will eventually disappear.

Sunlight is also very useful in case of atopic skin, because ultraviolet rays provide vitamin D, which calms the baby’s skin, and helps calm it. Of course, given that it could have adverse effects, it is best to walk the baby in the sun for 20 minutes at most. Avoiding, yes, not only spending more time in the sun, but doing so in the most dangerous hours of the day (between 12 and 4 in the afternoon).

It is possible that the pediatrician or children’s dermatologist can also recommend other treatments, in this case pharmacological, such as could be the case of:

  • Antihistamines. They consist of medications commonly used to treat the most common symptoms of allergies, thanks to the fact that they act by blocking the effects of histamines, which are a substance in the body that can trigger symptoms, and which are an essential part of the response body’s immune system. In the case of babies, they are not recommended to treat atopic skin, although if the little one does not sleep enough as a result of the itching, which tends to increase and worsen at night, the pediatrician may prescribe a short course of antihistamine medications in order to relieve itching and help you rest better.
  • Topical corticosteroids. They generally consist of topical creams that contain corticosteroids, which work in the same way as cortisol, a hormone naturally present in our body that helps alter the immune system and reduce inflammation.
  • Antibiotics and other related drugs. Antibiotics are medications commonly used in the presence of an infection of bacterial origin. However, in the case of a skin infection, other drugs with a similar action may also be prescribed, such as antivirals (when the infection is caused by a virus) or antifungals (when the infection is caused by a virus). the growth of a fungus). As we can see, the prescription of one or the other will depend directly on the original cause of said condition.
  • Topical calcineurin inhibitors. They are nonsteroidal drugs that help control inflammation. Calcineurin is a protein phosphatase that activates T cells, thereby blocking the body’s natural method of inflammation, ultimately becoming a natural element of our body’s immune response.
  • Other medications. Such might be the case with oral drugs that suppress the immune system, in order to help reduce symptoms directly related to overreaction by the immune system. Bandages and bandages can also be useful when atopic skin has a severe flare-up, as they can help keep creams or lotions on the baby’s skin, keeping it moist and will prevent the baby from scratching the skin when it itches.

The importance of using emollients

The use of products with emollient qualities becomes, if possible, one of the essential steps when it comes to treating atopic skin, not only in babies or young children, but also in older children, adolescents and also in the elderly. Adult stage.

As you probably know, emollient products consist of treatments with moisturizing benefits, and that we can easily find in supermarkets, pharmacies and other beauty or cosmetic stores, available in the form of creams, lotions or ointments, which can -and is recommended- applied after of the bathroom, and that on some occasions they could even replace the use of soap.

When the baby has atopic skin, it is extremely important to apply a good amount of emollients to his skin every day, even when there are no outbreaks or symptoms. A recommended option, especially when it comes to not forgetting to put it on, is to have the emollient product close to where we tend to change the diaper, and apply it every time we change it.

It is also vitally important to always apply it after the baby’s bath, when the skin, as we have indicated, is still damp. This will provide even more qualities, since it will help the baby’s skin to dry out excessively (something very common after bathing), thus reducing the risk of breakouts.

When choosing a good emollient, the reality is that there is already a wide variety of products available on the market, many of which have been specially developed for babies with sensitive skin, or who ultimately have atopic skin. In fact, there is no evidence that one cream or emollient is better than another, so the key is to try different types until you find one that really works. Of course, creams with a watery consistency are not suitable, since this can end up irritating the baby’s skin even more, worsening the symptoms related to atopic skin.

However, after repeated use of the product, it is possible that it may become less effective as time goes by, so a recommended option is to consult the pediatrician at least once or twice a year, to ensure that the little one You will always receive the best treatment.

The correct use of corticosteroid creams

Corticosteroids are a type of medication that help reduce inflammation in the body, in addition to lowering the activity of the immune system. Among other interesting functions, they help relieve itching, swelling and redness, and are also very useful in calming symptoms related to allergic reactions.

For this reason, they are commonly used in the treatment of conditions such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, hives, lupus and atopic dermatitis, especially when the baby or child has an outbreak.

When this happens, corticosteroid cream can help relieve symptoms, helping your little one feel a whole lot better as the discomfort gradually subsides.

To use them, the pediatrician must prescribe the appropriate dose based on the symptoms that the baby has, and will also show how and when to apply it when outbreaks occur.

For a severe flare-up, your doctor may also advise using a corticosteroid cream between flare-ups, for example twice a week. Even though this can positively help reduce outbreaks considerably, it should only be followed when recommended by your pediatrician.

The main reason is that the use of strong corticosteroid creams for a long time can cause side effects, such as making the skin lighter or even thinner and more sensitive.  Fortunately, once you stop using and applying the cream, most of these side effects tend to go away.

How to relieve baby itching?

When the baby has atopic skin, or definitively atopic dermatitis, it is very difficult to avoid scratching the skin when it itches. The truth is that, as you probably imagine, scratching can end up making the rash worse. And what’s even worse: it can lead to an infection, making the irritated skin even thicker, rougher and leatherier.

Even when the baby or small child manages to scratch, something that will be easier and more common as he grows older, it is essential to cut his nails quite frequently, even trying to remove the edge of the nails with the help of a file.

On the other hand, some parents choose to put an anti-scratch glove on the child’s hands, to prevent them from scratching easily. If you don’t have gloves, you can opt for long socks, tucked under a long-sleeved shirt, since they will be more difficult to remove.

Likewise, when itching arises, it is essential to try to calm it and relieve it as discomfort appears, especially to prevent the baby from becoming very uncomfortable. Hydration with ceramides becomes one of the best options, which can be found without a prescription at the pharmacy (and also under medical prescription with the proper prescription), and there are some specially manufactured for use on the delicate skin of the little one.

Also a good moisturizing cream, applied several times a day, can be very helpful when it comes to ensuring that the child’s skin better retains its natural moisture. However, if you don’t have moisturizer available, or have run out, an ointment such as Vaseline is also a recommended option.

Warm baths, in addition to relaxing, can provide hydration and a certain freshness to the skin, so they are excellent for soothing itching. Of course, it is necessary to maintain some basic precautions: the water should not be hot (it is better that it tends to be lukewarm or even slightly cold), the bath should be short (no more than 10 minutes), and then apply the cream or moisturizer while skin is still damp.

Home remedies for atopic baby skin

Warm baths with colloidal oatmeal

Colloidal oatmeal, added to bathwater, can also provide excellent benefits. Remember that colloidal oatmeal is nothing more than very finely ground oatmeal. Although you can already find it with this consistency in herbalists and specialized dietetic stores, if you have oat flakes at home, you can make it yourself. How? Very simple: put it in a food processor, blender or coffee grinder and process well until perfectly fine (as fine as possible).

Luckily, soothing and even preventing itchiness from arising is relatively easy, as long as the most common symptoms of atopic skin are controlled. For this, it is essential to make sure that the baby’s skin is always fresh and free of moisture, since excessive moisture can trigger outbreaks. For this reason, the use of light clothing, and eliminating the baby’s baits every time you see them is very important.

And how to prepare the warm bath with colloidal oatmeal? It is equally simple. Simply fill your baby’s bathtub (where you usually bathe your baby each day). To do this, use warm water, remember that it should not be hot. Then add the colloidal oatmeal, one or two tablespoons, and mix well, moving the water a little with your hand, to get the finely ground oatmeal to integrate with the warm water. It is ready when the water takes on a milky appearance.

Then simply wash the baby well, letting it soak for no more than 10 minutes. Finally, dry it a little with a soft towel, gently tapping it, but without drying it completely. That way, when you apply moisturizer or your favorite moisturizer, it’s best to do it while the skin is still damp. To finish, put the diaper on him and dress him in light and comfortable clothes.

If you don’t have raw oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal, you can choose to sprinkle a little baking soda into the baby’s bath water. It will provide similar benefits.

Coconut oil

Cold –  pressed coconut oil is an excellent choice for skin care, not only because it has useful hydrating properties to soothe the skin, but also acts as an ideal natural humectant to lock in moisture.

It also provides antibacterial qualities, thus reducing the risk of infection when an outbreak occurs and the baby or young child scratches the skin after feeling the uncomfortable itching.

Its application is extremely simple and simple: you just have to gently massage the baby’s skin, applying the coconut oil in circles for a few seconds.

Sunflower oil

Cold –  pressed sunflower oil also becomes an extremely useful natural remedy, in the same way as cold-pressed coconut oil.

In the particular case of this vegetable oil, we find that it is extremely rich in healthy fatty acids, a quality that it also shares with another highly valued oil, not only for its most natural beauty, but also in cooking: olive oil.

The truth is that these fatty acids, once absorbed by the skin, can help fight atopic skin directly below the skin’s surface, while acting as a natural moisturizer somewhat more powerful than coconut oil.

Its application is just as simple and easy: after bathing the baby, or at each diaper change (if the symptoms of atopic skin are moderate), massage with sunflower oil in circular movements for a few seconds.

Borja’s oil

In a similar way to how coconut oil or sunflower oil works, borage oil becomes another interesting option when it comes to naturally treating atopic skin and also seborrheic dermatitis.

It consists of a type of oil made from the seeds of a plant scientifically known as Borage officinal is. It has a high content of gamma-linolenic acid, which can naturally help reduce inflammation related to atopic skin.

For the baby to enjoy its qualities, we should only gently massage it with a little borage oil after bathing, when the skin is still moist.

Evening primrose oil

If there is another oil of vegetable origin that also provides many benefits in the case of atopic skin, it is evening primrose oil, a type of oil that is made from the yellow flowers of this wonderful and beautiful plant, native to North America.

Like borage oil, evening primrose oil contains a fair amount of gamma-linolenic acid, and its use for the treatment of atopic dermatitis dates back to the 1930s.

Although we can find it in capsules, to enjoy its qualities topically, especially on baby’s skin, you simply have to apply it like any other moisturizer or oil: do it with damp skin, and always gently, with circular movements.

Tea tree oil

If you have older children, you are most likely familiar with tea tree essential oil for its supposed lice-fighting qualities, especially if the little ones have had head lice at some point after outbreaks in daycare or school.

But the truth is that it also becomes a very useful natural option when it comes to preventing infection as a result of the skin and atopic dermatitis, thanks to the fact that it provides antibacterial qualities.

But its benefits do not end here. At the same time, it provides moisturizing qualities and helps heal the skin, relieving the most bothersome symptoms and repairing the damage caused by dry skin.

When using it, it is possible to do so by diluting a little essential oil in warm water, or combining a couple of drops with any moisturizer.

Chamomile tea bath

The chamomile tea is a unique option for its relaxing qualities, it provides, as well know insurance, a truly distinctive aroma and soothing. The truth is that, when applied to the skin, its benefits are similar in this regard, thanks to the fact that it provides equally useful soothing properties to reduce uncomfortable itching.

On the other hand, when absorbed through the skin, it helps moisturize and heal damaged skin. In addition, being extremely soft and respectful of delicate baby skin, it can become an excellent natural remedy against atopic skin.

To enjoy these benefits, it is not necessary to prepare chamomile tea first, as we could do, for example, when we went to take a relaxing bath. On this occasion, you just have to prepare the baby’s bath, with warm water, and immerse a total of 5 chamomile tea bags while you bathe the baby, for a maximum of 10 minutes.

Breast milk lotion

If you’re breastfeeding your baby, chances are you already know that breast milk is just great for reducing the risk of mastitis or nipple infection, while also greatly reducing cracking, thanks because it acts as a natural protective moisturizer. For this reason, your midwife may have advised you at the beginning of breastfeeding that, each time you finished nursing, you would apply a little breast milk to your nipple and areola.

In this sense, did you know that it can also be a wonderful natural option in case your baby has atopic skin? The truth is that it is not only full of nutrients and antibodies, but applied to the areas of the skin most affected by atopic skin, such as the diaper area, or around the neck, it can act as a remedy excellent homemade to soothe the delicate skin of the little one.

Although you can choose to apply a little fresh breast milk on the areas of the baby’s skin that you want to treat, an even more interesting option is to prepare an authentic breast milk lotion. Do you want to discover how? Take note of the ingredients you need, as well as the steps to follow.

  • Ingredients:  100 ml of fresh breast milk (at room temperature), 100 ml of grapeseed oil, 1 tablespoon of grated beeswax and a few drops of vitamin E oil.
  • Elaboration: Put the grated beeswax and grapeseed oil in a large bowl or bowl and microwave for a bit until the wax has completely melted. It will take about 2-3 minutes at the most. Then, once removed from the microwave, mix well with the help of a spoon, so that both the grapeseed oil and the beeswax are well combined. Then add the vitamin E oil, and mix again. Now, while whisking the oil mixture rapidly, slowly pour in the breast milk. It is necessary for the mixture to emulsify and thicken, so if you can, it is ideal to beat it with the help of a hand mixer. Before using, let it cool down. In fact, it will continue to thicken as it continues to cool. Subsequently, simply pour into a jar or container, reserving in a dark and cool place. It will keep perfectly well for up to 3 months.

When you are going to use it, you should only apply it to the baby’s clean skin, in the same way that you apply any other type of cream, and wait a bit until the skin has absorbed it.

Homemade calendula cream

The calendula is a wonderful plant, known for its health qualities of women. However, did you know that it is also excellent for relieving many skin conditions, including atopic skin?

Although you can find calendula cream in health food stores and natural beauty stores, it is also possible to make it at home. How? Here are the ingredients you need and the steps to follow:

  • Ingredients: 1/4 cup dried calendula petals, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, and 1/8 cup grated beeswax.
  • Preparation: In a double saucepan over high heat, put the extra virgin olive oil and the calendula petals on top. Heat over medium heat for at least 30-35 minutes. After the time has passed, strain the olive oil with the help of a gauze over a mesh strainer, pouring the liquid into a bowl. Press the petals a little with the help of a tablespoon to remove excess oil. Pour the strained oil into a saucepan and heat over low heat. Now add the grated beeswax, and stir occasionally until it melts completely. Pour into a clean, uncovered container until completely chilled. Lid and label with the date of production (it can last perfectly for a year).
  • How to use it: You just have to apply a little of this cream on the baby’s skin, especially on those areas that you want to treat.

Cooling pad or compress

When the baby’s skin is irritated, and we notice that he is too bothered by it, a useful natural remedy may be to opt for a cold or wet wipe, a compressor gauze, and apply it to the area to be treated for a few minutes (at most between five to ten minutes).

Other aspects to consider

It is known that babies with atopic skin tend to be at increased risk of other atopic conditions, especially allergic conditions, such as:

  • Asthma. It consists of a chronic condition that affects the airways, causing their inner walls, or the bronchi, to become inflamed and swollen, especially during an asthma attack, making it difficult for air to enter or leave the lungs normally. Therefore, it not only causes wheezing, but can end up making it difficult to breathe. Some triggering factors have been identified, such as exposure to an irritant or allergen, the presence of some viruses, physical exercise and emotional stress, among others.
  • Allergic rhinitis. Also known under the name of hay fever, it is a condition that can be seasonal or last throughout the year, and that consists of inflammation or irritation of the nose due to allergic or irritant causes. The most common symptoms are usually nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy, red, watery eyes, itchy throat, cough, and itchy nose and skin.
  • food allergies Food allergies are known to be extremely common, affecting about 8 percent of children worldwide. When there is a food allergy, it means that it is a condition in which certain foods cause or trigger an abnormal immune response in the body, since the immune system mistakenly recognizes some of the proteins present in food as harmful to the body. Symptoms such as swelling of the tongue, mouth or face, low blood pressure, hives, skin rash with an uncomfortable and annoying itching, vomiting, diarrhea, and in more severe cases difficulty breathing normally and anaphylaxis may occur. A series of foods have been identified that are usually the main culprits in this type of allergy. This is the case of cow’s milk, eggs,

It is also essential to take special care with the hygienic wipes that you use every time you clean the baby when you change his diaper. Today most pediatricians and pediatric nurses advise that, during the first months, the use of wipes be avoided, opting for soft sponges that can be cleaned every time the baby is washed.

In case you prefer to use wipes, it is essential to only use alcohol-free and fragrance-free wipes, as many of these wipes contain a number of irritating ingredients or substances that will end up causing even more problems. Wipes with natural and relaxing ingredients, such as aloe vera, or those specially designed for sensitive skin, could be very helpful.

As far as shampoos are concerned, it is advisable to opt only for those made for atopic skin, in particular those that are “tear-free”. Likewise, it is essential to carefully avoid the child’s eyes.

Beware of rash or heat rash

Especially during the summer months, it is vitally important to dress the baby and toddler in comfortable, cool and light clothing. We must not forget that sweating, especially if it is excessive, becomes a common cause of outbreaks, and also of what is known as a rash or heat rash, which can end up making the itching much worse.

This type of rash occurs when there is a blockage in the sweat glands, which causes perspiration to be trapped in the deeper layers of the skin, causing inflammation, redness and blisters. In this sense, since the sweat glands of babies are not yet fully developed, it is usually a common problem, especially if they have atopic skin.

The ducts can become clogged or clogged as a result of a buildup of dead skin cells or bacteria. A good example is found in the Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria, a very common bacterium that occurs naturally on the skin, and which also tends to be associated with acne. When this bacterium enters clogged sweat glands, it can cause inflammation.

Can a topic baby skin and flare-ups be prevented?

Although atopic skin itself cannot be prevented, flare-ups can be avoided. We must remember that genetics becomes an important factor, and it is an indirect cause that cannot be avoided. But it is possible to prevent flare-ups. One of the keys is to avoid the common environmental triggers, as well as the inflammatory foods that we have mentioned in a previous section.

Here are some useful tips that will be of great help to you:

  • Avoid excessive heat and sweat. In this sense, remember that it is essential to dress the baby in light clothing and as fresh as possible, particularly during the summer months.  The best? Use breathable natural fabrics, such as organic cotton.
  • Keep the baby’s nails perfectly short, and the edges trimmed with the help of a small file. If the little one scratches frequently, you can try wearing gloves, mittens or long socks, to prevent further damage to the skin, and minimize the risk of infection.
  • Do not use topical products with fragrances, especially those that contain alcohol and some irritating ingredients.
  • Aside from the diaper area, babies don’t really tend to get that dirty, especially when they’re still very young. Ideally, avoid excessive bathing, no more than three or four times a week. As we have already mentioned, the ideal is to keep the baths with lukewarm water, and to keep them short (that is, they should not last more than 10 minutes).
  • After bathing, don’t forget to apply a good layer of any gentle, hypoallergenic lotion specifically for babies with atopic or sensitive skin, which will help retain moisture in the skin. It is advisable to even reapply a little more, later (or a couple of times a day, even on those days when you do not bathe the little one).

On the other hand, when washing the little one’s clothes, and also the clothes on his bed, it is essential to do it with a detergent for sensitive skin. Then, if possible, it’s a good idea to set the washer to run an extra rinse cycle to remove any detergent residue left on fabrics that could further irritate your little one’s skin.

It is essential to be aware of cleaning the baby’s drool. It is recommended to clean them gently every time you see them, especially in the area of ​​​​the chin, lips and neck. Do not forget that excessive humidity can cause an outbreak of atopic skin, especially in these areas.

When the baby is at high risk of developing outbreaks, even though in the first few months he has not yet shown symptoms (it is necessary to remember some of the risk factors, such as the mother or father having atopic skin), it is recommended ask the pediatrician about the use of emollient creams, as they can help protect the natural barrier of the child’s skin, being able to minimize the risk of developing atopic dermatitis.

How does a topic skin progress in babies and children?

When atopic skin appears, and the dermatitis or eczema that usually accompanies it, at the beginning (that is, in the first months of the baby’s life), it is common for it to become much more prominent in certain parts of the child’s body, particularly the cheeks, scalp and forehead. This makes these areas of the skin tend to look redder, compared to other ages.

It is also extremely common for other parts of the body to become red, particularly the diaper area.

Then, when the baby begins to crawl, something that will happen between 6 and 12 months of age, it is common for atopic skin -and dermatitis- to become more visible in the area of ​​the knees and elbows, as they are in contact continuous with the ground.

Over time, when the child is about 2 years old, the symptoms usually also appear in other areas of the body, such as behind the knees, inside the elbows, hands, ankles and wrists.  If, in addition, the atopic skin becomes moderate, it is common for it to appear on the eyelids and on the skin around the mouth. The skin usually becomes drier and thicker in these areas.

Fortunately, most children outgrow atopic dermatitis, and the atopic skin itself tends to improve quite a bit. This improvement usually occurs after 3 years of age. In fact, it’s estimated that about 66 percent of kids with this skin type outgrow it, suffering only from the occasional flare-up of dry skin by the time they reach adolescence.

In case the years pass and the atopic dermatitis does not improve or does not subside, it is necessary to keep a diary to identify what could be the triggers. Then, once identified, it is necessary to work to avoid them as much as possible.

Can atopic skin get complicated?

Although, as we have seen, in most cases atopic skin improves as the child gets older, in such a way that around the age of 3 most of them hardly have any type of related symptoms, it is necessary to take into account Note that it is an inflammatory condition of the chronic skin, so it is common that, being a systemic disease, some symptoms arise at certain times, especially during adolescence.

On the other hand, both babies, children and adults can experience certain complications related to this type of skin. In general, the most common complications are bacterial infections, viral infections and psychosocial complications (especially related to some of the most visible signs of the disease):

  • Bacterial infections. Children and adults who have atopic skin can fall into the “itch-scratch” cycle, as the itchiness associated with this type of skin can cause rubbing and scratching that end up further irritating the skin. Although the child, when he is older (just like the adult) can take certain precautions and avoid scratching the skin, the same does not happen with the older baby or with the small child. This, in turn, can cause increased itching, which will end up making symptoms worse. If scratching is too deep, it can irritate the skin and leave open wounds, which could lead to bacterial infection, particularly strep and staph. If this occurs, it is common to develop blisters, yellowish skin spots, fever and general malaise, as well as red, swollen and painful skin.
  • Viral infections. People with atopic dermatitis are at risk of contracting a type of herpes simplex virus infection, known as dermatitis herpeticum or eczema herpeticum. It usually starts as a group of itchy, fluid- or pus-filled blisters. In turn, it can also cause fever and swelling of swollen lymph nodes around the affected area. Over time these blisters ooze, break open and scab over. The risk of infection by Molluscum contagiosum  is also higher, caused by a poxvirus, which is popularly known as molluscum contagiosum.
  • Fungal infections. Some research also suggests that people with atopic skin are susceptible to these types of infections, particularly chronic dermatophytic infections, which affect the skin, nails, and hair. On the other hand, yeast infections (such as Malassezia and Candida) are also more common. Malassezia, as we have already told you, is behind seborrheic dermatitis -or cradle cap-, while Candida is to blame for various types of yeast infections, including vaginal yeast infections.

Conjunctivitis, inflammation of both the outer membrane of the eyeball and the inner eyelid, is often another complication to be aware of, as there is an increased risk of eye-related conditions. The same goes for keratoconus (a progressive disease of the cornea) and keratitis (inflammation of the cornea).

Nor should psychosocial complications be underestimated, which can psychologically affect older children and adults to a greater extent. But preschool-age children are also often affected, as many studies indicate that they are more likely to have behavioral problems, including hyperactivity, and dependency problems.

In addition, when its symptoms are very evident, children can experience bullying or teasing, which will end up being traumatic for many, and even cause psychosocial problems that can last until adulthood. To all this are added self-confidence problems (which will affect their ability to develop social skills normally), and depression, anxiety or behavioral disorders.

Depending on the severity of atopic skin, significant sleep disturbances, especially sleep disturbances, may result, which ultimately can affect both mood and cause drowsiness and fatigue throughout the day.

When to see the pediatrician?

For most babies with atopic skin, it is usually perfectly possible to treat it easily at home, using not only the treatments recommended by the pediatrician or by the pediatric dermatologist (especially in case of flare-ups), but also following certain habits of recommended health and hygiene, an optimal skin care routine, and use of some of the proposed natural remedies.

However, there are some times when it may be necessary to visit the children’s dermatologist or pediatrician again. Pay attention to the following symptoms:

  • When patches of atopic dermatitis spread very quickly.
  • When you think the rashes or patches themselves might be infected.
  • Other allergy symptoms arise, in addition to the dermatitis itself, such as facial swelling, swollen lips.
  • When the natural remedies or the treatments recommended by the specialist do not provide any type of relief.


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