My baby's face appears red and dry, is it eczema?

My baby is having dry and red skin on the face and it seems very itchy. The doctor told me that it is eczema, so what is eczema?

Infantile eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a very common condition and is believed to be related to genetic factors. It is common that other family members may suffer from allergic diseases such as allergic rhinitis or asthma.

Eczema usually first appears at 2 to 3 months old, it tends to wax and wane. It may improve at around the age of 2 but some may persist into adulthood. Eczema mostly first appears on the face, then on the elbows and knees. The skin looks red and dry, sometimes small blisters may appear. The affected areas are extremely itchy which may affect sleep. So, if the above condition exists, you should bring your baby to visit a doctor.

How can eczema be prevented?

Prevention includes proper skin care, diet and environment.

  1. For skin care, you should keep your baby’s skin clean and moist. You can use lukewarm water and soap-free bathing gel to bathe your baby. Pay special attention to the folded parts of the skin. Apply fragrance-free moisturizer during dry weather and after cleaning. Keep your baby’s nails short to reduce the chance of skin injury by scratching.
  2. Pay attention to the temperature and humidity of the environment. Keep the room temperature at a comfortable level. Wipe off the baby’s sweat to avoid irritation.
  3. For baby’s clothing, cotton is the preferred material. Avoid wool, silk and nylon materials to be in direct contact with your baby’s skin to avoid irritation. Use gentle laundry detergents to wash baby’s clothes and remember to rinse them thoroughly afterwards.
  4. Keep the home clean. Use a vacuum cleaner or wet cloth to remove dust. This can prevent dust particles from floating in the air during cleaning. Wash beddings and curtains using hot water of 60 degree Celsius. Avoid using carpets and keeping furry pets.
  5. Studies show that breastfeeding helps preventing eczema. If breastfeeding is not possible, consult a doctor for the need to switch to a special milk formula.