“Dr. Linda, I had eczema and my first baby had it too, is there anything I can do to prevent my newborn from developing it too?”
Eczema is a dry skin condition which leads to red, itchy, scaly areas on your baby’s body. It is a chronic skin condition which flares up and improves periodically.
Between 5-20% of children worldwide have eczema and it seems to be increasing worldwide.
Eczema runs in families. If one parent has eczema or allergies the baby’s risk of developing eczema increases by 2-3-fold. If both parents have either eczema or allergies the risk increases 3-5-fold.
Eczema cream is a mainstay of treatment but few studies have been done on using it to ‘prevent’ eczema.
The study used eczema creams to try to prevent eczema in ‘high risk’ babies (babies with at least one family member with eczema).
Here is a very brief summary of this article published in the Journal of Allergy and Immunology which studied the effectiveness of using eczema creams to prevent eczema (atopic dermatitis):
124 ‘high risk’ babies were in the study.
The families were instructed to begin the use of moisturizers as soon as possible after delivery (before 3 weeks of age).
They were asked to moisturize the baby’s whole body except the scalp at least once a day.
The moisturizers used were Sunflower seed oil, Aquaphor, Cetaphil, Liquid paraffin or Doublebase gel.
After 6 months the study revealed that the babies who had received moisturizers every day had half the incidence of eczema compared to the babies that didn’t.
The study is small but the results are encouraging. Bigger studies are definitely needed, but in the meantime, since moisturizers have no side effects and are harmless, talk to your doctor about starting your high-risk baby out on daily moisturizers.
Stay tuned for next weeks blog where I’ll talk about eczema, what it is, what may cause it and what you can do about it.
As always I hope you find this blog helpful. Please share it with any parents with children suffering from eczema.
To your holistic health,