Eczema is a medical skin condition affecting men, women and children across the globe. Though it isn’t a contagious condition, eczema statistically affects 1 out of 5 children in the UK, making it a widespread problem that has yet to find a cure.
Types of eczema in children
The following types of eczema are most common in children:
- Contact dermatitis
- Atopic dermatitis
- Dyshidrotic eczema
- Seborrheic dermatitis (or ‘’cradle cap’’)
What causes child eczema?
Most children are affected by some type of eczema in the first 6 months to 5 years of their lives. Yet, as children become used to environmental stimulants and triggers, between 70% and 90% of children with eczema lose all symptoms before adulthood.
The causes of eczema can very from child to child, including but not limited to dry skin, skin irritants, stress, cold weather, bathing in hot water, diet, and even other medications. Cases of childhood eczema can vary in severity and are linked to family history and genetics. Moreover, eczema affects children that are predisposition to have, or already suffer from allergies and asthma.
How do you treat eczema in children?
Treating eczema in children isn’t as easy as giving them cold medicine when they have a cold. In fact, as there is no identified cure, it is impossible to fully get rid of eczema. However, you can mitigate symptoms and manage flare ups through proactive and reactive methods.
For proactive methods, recognising your child’s triggers and stimuluses for flare ups and managing exposure is important. This could include a trial and error period of finding out which triggers are worse than others from the above causations. For example, if your child was allergic to cats, you would lessen or try to completely avoid their contact with felines.
Moreover, creating a daily warm bath and moisturising routine before bed will help keep skin soft and supple, preventing worsened eczema from dry and flaky skin.
For reactive treatments, using doctor recommended emollients in the form of creams, ointments, and lotions to calm irritated skin or weepy patches is best practice. Additionally, more severe cases may require steroids or antihistamines to lessen flare-ups.
Is eczema different for children and adults?
While between 10% to 30% of children who have eczema continue to experience symptoms into adulthood, only 5% of cases begin in adulthood. This is because most children react to triggers and stimulus that they eventually climatize too, while in some cases adults can develop it from rapidly changing environments paired with long-developed allergies.
Eczema in adults can be triggered from the same variables as children including stress, new environmental stimulants, and even changing weather and temperature conditions. The most common places for eczema to appear on adults is in the creases of the knees, elbows, or around the neck. Eczema in adults has the same symptoms as in children and is characterised by red itchy patches of skin and requires the same type of method of treatment, yet can become more severe and require stronger medical attention to manage symptoms.
If your child is experiencing eczema symptoms, talk to your doctor or dermatologist before seeking medical treatment or trying home remedies. You can also find more information about eczema over in our skin care hub.