Eczema in Children: Eczema 101

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What does the word ‘eczema’ means?

Eczema is a group of diseases that result in inflammation in the skin which causes redness, often blistering and intense itching. The most common type of eczema in children is atopic eczema frequently referred to as Atopic Dermatitis (AD), which may be associated with asthma, sinuses or hay fever. Eczema is seen in children worldwide, with an incidence of 1 in every 5 children.

Why does my child have eczema?

Eczema is commonly taken as a genetic disorder. One of the most common question doctors ask parents – ‘does anyone in the family have eczema, asthma or sinuses?’ As much as genetically it would affect a child, but this is not always the case. There are many external factors which may influence eczema on a day to day basis – type of birth, dietary habits, allergy, environmental, exposure to chemical, etc.

Will they grow out of it? When?

Typically, the answer is yes. As your child grows older, their immunity would be better which significant improvement can be seen at 2 years old, 5 years old and most time, it would be ceased by teenage years.

Rarely, eczema would affect adult life. However, if there is, typicallly it would be influence by different factors such as hormonal.

Is my child’s eczema due to a specific allergy?

No, eczema is not caused by a specific allergy. Typically a child with eczema have hypersensitive skin, and they’re more prone to allergic reactions to other factors and this may make eczema worse.

For simple understanding, assuming a child have eczema since birth due to a genetic disorder where both sides of the parents have eczema, asthma and also sinuses. Then due to the hypersensitive skin, the child is also exposed to other factors which can cause it worse, and these different level of allergen exposure can happen all in a day.

Skin layer of normal healthy skin and skin affected by eczema

First level allergen
The child is allergic to milk and eggs. This is a very common allergen to newborns as their body could not break down the protein. As a result of the allergen, it became an inflammation in the skin which would cause skin redness, blistering and extreme itching.
Second level allergen
If this is not tackled, the child would be scratching, as the skin would be dry (commonly due to the broken skin hence dehydrated), flaky and blistering. With bacterias in the nails and scratching, these bacteria dive straight into deeper layers of the skin as it is an ‘open door invitation’.
Third level allergen
It’s time for a bath. Water will wash off the natural moisturiser in the skin, what’s more, if it is warm water. Then, it’s time to put on the baby wash – what’s in the bottle of the wash? Would it dry skin further? Do you moisturise baby after the bath? Typically, newborn baby skin’s barrier unable to hold moisture properly. This is where baby lotion would help.

All these are typically what happen in a child day and there’s other factors such as pets fur, chemical in toys, detergent used or even material of the clothes they wear. This is why, sometimes it is difficult to determine what causes the eczema and elimination would be your best bet.

Stay tune for our next week installation of Your Baby Skin Barrier!


Ask Our Experts is a Bare Nuhcessities initiative to bring together a panel of Paediatricians, Nutritionists, Doctors and experienced parents to keep you updated on Parenthood. We are on hand to give our opinion to your most pressing questions! Disclaimer: All correspondences and information are opinions only and are not to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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