What is infant eczema?
also called atopic dermatitisinfant eczema is a chronic inflammatory disease skin. This condition is linked to a skin barrier abnormality of genetic origin that results in a deficit of proteins and lipids in the skin, explains Dr. Lasek. It is manifested mainly by itching and Red plaques on the face and the outer side of the limbs”.
There are several types of eczema:
- eczema or atopic dermatitis original genetic,
- and eczema original allergic.
” allergic eczema is a lot very rare in babies, says Dr. Lasek. This contact eczema is most often linked to the application of a product which will lead to allergic reaction. For example: an antiseptic. In older children, we also frequently encounter nickel contact allergies which translate into redness and itching following the wearing of jewelery or metal objects”.
Atopic eczema versus baby acne
Unlike in eczema which occurs rather around the age of three months, infant acne affects the newborn in its first weeks of life. “Skin lesions are different,” adds Dr. Lasek. In eczema, we are faced with localized red patches on the face or limbs (arms or legs) while infant acne results in small white and inflammatory blisters on the face and upper torso.
What are the symptoms of atopic eczema?
Atopic eczema is manifested by:
- of the skin lesions appearing in the form of Red plaques, scaly, sometimes oozing. “The appearance of plaques changes over time,” explains Dr. Lasek. At the beginning, they are often swollen with fine vesicles on the surface which will rupture and ooze before giving way to crusts. They can also thicken, become rough and very dry”;
- of severe itching which may impact the child’s quality of life: sleep disturbances, agitation. ;
- a skin dryness.
Face, body, elbow bend, knees: what is its location?
The localization of eczema varies depending on the age of the child.
- in infants : the attack is symmetrical and most often predominates on the convex parts of the face (forehead, cheeks, chin) as well as on the external face of the limbs (arms and legs). The nose and the seat are generally spared.
- in children aged 2 years and over : the lesions often take on a thick and whitish appearance (lichen) and are sources of severe itching. They are usually located in the folds of the body – elbows, knees, neck, etc. – but also hands, wrists and ankles.
What are the triggering factors?
If in most cases, eczema flare-ups happen without warning, certain factors can nevertheless favor their triggering. For instance :
- when baby is teething,
- during the temperature changes : when it is too hot or too cold.
“This stress can cause an inflammatory reaction,” confirms Dr. Lasek.
Why does my child have eczema?
The occurrence of a infant eczema often takes place in a context familial atopy hereditary. The proof is: according to INSERM, studies show that nearly 50-70% of children people with atopic eczema have a first-degree relative – father, mother, brother or sister – who is also atopic. A figure that rises to 80% when both parents are affected.
Faced with atopic eczema, we will look for a family history of asthma, allergic rhinitis or eczema, confirms Dr. Lasek.
What are the causes ?
Atopic dermatitis is linked to a abnormality of the skin barrier of genetic origin. “In so-called atopic people, the skin will be more permeable and less tight than normal. She will tend to to dry out more and letting in environmental allergens, which will lead to an inflammatory reaction and itching,” adds the specialist.
CHILDHOOD’S ECZEMA: WHAT’S FAULT?
The treatment of infant eczema is mainly based on the use of emollients for relieve skin dryness and the application of corticosteroid creams on the inflammatory lesions.
During a flare-up of atopic eczemathe application of a topical corticosteroid – that is to say a cream based on corticosteroids – reduces inflammation, soothes itching and prevents superinfection. “This treatment is very effective and has no side effects,” insists the dermatologist. It quickly relieves the baby and improves his quality of life”.
In the severe forms of the diseasewhen local treatments are insufficient, it is now possible to resort to biotherapy from the age of 6 years. “This biotherapy is based on the administration by injection of a monoclonal antibody – the dupilumab – which will target and neutralize two inflammation messengers that are particularly active in atopic dermatitis, specifies the specialist. The treatment must be continued for several months, at the rate of an injection every four weeks, but we obtain very good results. »
What cream to use to soothe atopic skin?
A background treatment aimed at combating skin dryness and restoring the skin’s barrier function will also be prescribed by your dermatologist or your attending physician. “This consists of apply an emollient daily (moisturizing cream) on the body after showering or bathing,” says Dr. Lasek.
Tips to soothe your baby
In addition to the treatment prescribed by your dermatologist or your attending physician, simple measures can soothe your baby.
In order not to attack or further irritate the skin, it is recommended:
- to use a soap-free gel and unscented
- limit hot baths and too long. Prefer short lukewarm showers or baths,
- avoid wearing itchy textiles especially wool sweaters. Cotton or linen, on the other hand, are well tolerated,
- not to use fabric softeners scented to wash clothes,
- apply an emollient cream to restore the skin barrier after showering or bathing.
“I also advise parents of young patients to get closer to a school of atopy, adds Dr. Lasek. These therapeutic education centers make it possible to better take charge of the disease and to adopt good reflexes: for example, to apply your cream correctly, in the right place, in sufficient quantity, etc. »
What is the evolution of infant eczema?
In nearly 90% of cases, atopic eczemadisappears when the child grows up. But, it also happens that it persists. “It is very difficult to predict whether eczema will continue into adulthood. It depends on several factors: if it is a severe form or not, if there is an atopic field in the family, etc. concludes Dr. Lasek.