When Treating Eczema in Babies, the “Wet Look” is In

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Dermatologist Valerie Goldburt, MD, PhD with Advanced Dermatology PC Advises Parents Good Skin Care is Critical in Managing This Complex Skin Disorder; Offers Treatment Tips

Dr. Valerie Goldburt

Referred to as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a rash that makes the skin dry, scaly, and itchy. It frequently forms on the scalp or face, particularly on the cheeks.

The “wet look” is in. At least, that seems to be the case for treating the delicate skin of babies who have eczema, according to dermatologist, Valerie Goldburt, MD, PhD, with Advanced Dermatology PC. The importance of maintaining moisture in the skin of eczema patients has been long noted, Dr. Goldburt said. In an April 3, 2017 article, Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis Treatment and Management, published on the professional medical web site, Medscape, authors emphasized the importance of keeping eczema-affected skin hydrated. This is an optimal method for improving the skin’s resiliency against irritants and allergens in the environment. Hydration also maximizes the effects of topical therapies in the treatment of eczema, Dr. Goldburt said, citing the article.

Referred to as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a rash that makes the skin dry, scaly, and itchy. It frequently forms on the scalp or face, particularly on the cheeks. The non-contagious disorder affects 10-20% of children worldwide, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

“Both genetic and environmental factors cause atopic dermatitis, and we are still learning how these elements affect the immune system in pediatric skin,” said Dr. Goldburt. “We know this disorder runs in families. Maternal age at baby’s birth, the area of residence, and even gender – with girls more likely to develop eczema – these all appear to play a role.”

Dr. Goldburt concurs with the authors of the Medscape article that infants with eczema be given lukewarm baths, no more than 10 minutes long, using only mild, unscented soaps. Baby shampoo can be used for eczema on the scalp, Dr. Goldburt said.

She advised parents who notice a rash appearing in their newborns or infants to contact a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and advice. “Not everything is eczema,” she stated.

“Parents can get upset, thinking their newborn is developing atopic dermatitis, only to find out the baby has ‘cradle cap,’ a common condition affecting the scalp and face and, sometimes, the neck, ears, or even armpits,” Dr. Goldburt explained. The condition, which causes redness and scaly patches on the skin, is related to overproducing oil glands and will clear up on its own when the baby’s glands settle into a more natural routine.

“Cradle cap” does not cause any discomfort and is best treated by shampooing baby’s hair, she said.
For infants who are diagnosed as having eczema, dermatologists can devise a treatment plan that will control itching, reduce skin inflammation, loosen and remove scaly skin lesions, prevent new ones from forming, and clear up potential infection, she said.

To help parents manage their infants’ eczema, Dr. Goldburt offers the following tips:

  • Pat the child’s skin partially dry after bathing and then apply a topical medication as prescribed by the physician
  • Apply a moisturizer to the skin at least twice a day
  • Control temperature and humidity levels in the baby’s room; dry, overheated air can promote itching
  • Use laundry detergent made for sensitive skin; avoid fabric softeners or dryer sheets that can cause skin irritation
  • Wash any new clothes to remove dyes and fabric chemicals

“Skin is the largest organ in our body and the main barrier between us and the environment. That’s why good skin care is the most important thing parents can do for their child with eczema,” Dr. Goldburt said.

Valerie Goldburt, MD, PhD, is board certified and specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology at
Advanced Dermatology P.C.

Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies. http://www.advanceddermatologypc.com.

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