Does My Child Have Eczema?

Eczema is a common skin condition in children. Of the millions of people who have eczema, 80% experience the onset of symptoms by the age of six. It’s not always easy to tell if your child has eczema, however, as irritated skin can have many root causes. Moreover, very young children often don’t have the verbal skills yet to describe the symptoms they’re experiencing. If you suspect eczema in your little one, here’s what you should know.

What Are the Symptoms of Eczema in Children?

Although eczema can develop during any stage of life, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) notes that symptoms often present differently depending on how old a child is. In babies, eczema usually develops on the scalp and face, and is especially common on the cheeks, where skin will appear dry, raw, and scaly. Babies often rub at their skin since it causes itching, which might exacerbate the rash to further bubble up then ooze fluids.

After the age of two, eczema tends to appear in different places on the body. Children may first develop a rash behind the knees or in the creases of their elbows. It’s also likely to appear on their neck, wrists, ankles, and near their buttocks. The skin may become darker or lighter, appear bumpy, turn thick or leathery, and itch persistently.

In some cases, eczema continues into adulthood. Rarely, it may first appear after the age of 18. In adults, eczema is less likely to cause rashes, but often presents as extremely dry or irritated skin. Sometimes, rashes appear on the hands in adulthood. Some adults who have lived with eczema for many years also have patches of thickened skin caused by years of scratching.

What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Child Has Eczema?

Although there’s no cure for eczema, there are treatments that can ease symptoms and help your child feel more comfortable. Parents can often use gentle, fragrance-free moisturizers as the first line of treatment. Because locking in moisture is an important defense against eczema, it may be necessary to apply moisturizer several times a day. An ointment is the best option because it contains oil, which will help to retain moisture better than water-based lotions. 

It’s always a good idea to see a dermatologist for any rash that doesn’t go away. In addition to ruling out other conditions, our team can work with you to pinpoint potential triggers that may cause your child’s eczema to flare up. 

In some cases, simply avoiding triggers may be enough to alleviate symptoms. For other children, additional lifestyle modifications may be needed. Taking short, lukewarm baths or showers, for example, can help to prevent dryness and irritation. We can also discuss options for medications, such as topical steroids or antihistamines, in cases where symptoms don’t clear up with other approaches.

Here at Olanksy Dermatology & Aesthetics, we believe everyone deserves healthy skin — including our littlest patients. If your child is experiencing eczema that won’t clear up with home remedies, contact our office to set up an appointment at (404) 355-5484, or connect with us online. Our providers will develop a personalized care plan specific to your child’s unique needs so they can feel comfortable in their skin.