Most rashes are harmless and go away on their own. However, in some situations, skin conditions can become chronic and difficult to manage. Atopic dermatitis, also called atopic eczema, is one such skin condition that affects one in five children globally.
Atopic dermatitis is long-lasting (chronic) and tends to flare up periodically. Often, it appears in infants in the first year of birth and progresses till five years of age and, at times, even beyond. It leads to inflamed and itchy skin, resulting in patches of red and dry skin. The condition may worsen during colder months.
Dr Rajesh Kumawat, head-medical services & clinical development, The Himalaya Drug Company, shares a few tips to combat atopic dermatitis in babies.
Avoid harsh soaps
Use baby washes containing herbal actives, specially formulated for baby’s delicate skin. Natural ingredients like Indian aloe (aloe vera), almond oil, milk, and olive oil work together to nourish and maintain the moisture balance of baby’s skin.
Avoid hot baths
Maintain the right water temperature for the baby’s bath. Water should be lukewarm, as hot water can make the skin dry. Baby should be bathed for not more than 10 to 15 minutes. Lightly pat the skin with a towel to remove excess water, and avoid drying the skin completely.
Keep fingernails short
Keep your child’s fingernails short and cover itchy areas with a cloth or dressing to prevent scratching which can cause skin irritation and infection.
Moisturise the skin
Apply a gentle and hydrating lotion or cream to moisturise baby’s skin immediately after a bath. A good moisturising agent usually consists of natural ingredients such as coconut, kokum, rice, and aloe vera, among others. Moisturising helps hydrate the skin and relieve skin irritation.
Put comfortable dresses
Loose cotton clothing helps keep the baby comfortable, whereas woollen and synthetic fibres may keep baby too warm and worsen the skin condition. Avoid covering the baby in thick blankets/clothes that can cause irritation to sensitive skin.