Daily bathing and moisturizing is key to treating baby (infantile) eczema (atopic dermatitis). Use a mild cleanser and warm water. After a bath of no more than 15 minutes, rinse completely, gently pat your baby dry and apply a fragrance-free cream or ointment such as petroleum jelly (Vaseline), while the skin is still damp. Moisturize at least twice a day, perhaps at diaper changes. When trying a new moisturizer, test it on a small area of the child's skin first to make sure it's well-tolerated.
Baby eczema signs and symptoms may also be eased by avoiding irritants — such as itchy fabric and hash soaps — as well as extremes in temperature. To prevent your child's scratching the rash, it may help to keep your baby's nails clipped short or to put on cotton mittens during sleep.
Have your baby examined if the condition persists or the rash is purple, crusty and weepy or has blisters. A child who has a fever and rash may also need evaluation. Talk with your doctor about using a medicated cream or ointment or trying bleach baths to ease symptoms. Use medications and bleach baths with the guidance of your pediatrician.
Most children outgrow infantile eczema by 3 to 5 years of age.
Feb. 14, 2019
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- Litin SC, et al., eds. Infant and toddler years. In: Family Health Book. 5th ed. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2018.
- Eczema and bathing. National Eczema Association. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment/bathing. Accessed Jan. 2, 2019.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 15, 2019.
- Litin SC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 18, 2019.