Eczema runs in my family. Can I prevent my baby from getting it?

Answer From Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.

There is no sure way to prevent baby eczema. It does help your baby to keep the skin well-moisturized, even if no rash is obvious. Apply a cream, ointment or lotion 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 is well-tolerated.

Some evidence supports the idea that the risk of baby eczema can be reduced by breast-feeding and by taking probiotics during pregnancy and while breast-feeding.

Research also suggests that petroleum jelly (Vaseline), when applied from birth to children at high risk of eczema, may help prevent the rash from developing. Further study on prevention of eczema is needed.

You can help prevent flare-ups by avoiding irritants — for example, itchy fabric and harsh soaps — and extremes in temperature.

Feb. 01, 2019 See more Expert Answers