There are many illnesses and conditions that affect infants and children. One example is the skin condition eczema.
Studies show that eczema is one of the most common childhood skin conditions and presents differently depending on when your child gets it. This condition isn’t curable and tends to flare up at different times, but does that mean your child must deal with it the rest of their life?
At their three New York City locations, Dr. Javier Zelaya and the skilled medical team at Skinworks Dermatology have over 25 years of experience treating children with a variety of skin conditions, including eczema.
Eczema is a noncontagious condition that causes skin to become irritated, inflamed, and itchy. The form most common to children (atopic dermatitis) is one of the seven kinds of eczema, and your child may have it before they reach 6 months old.
Common signs of eczema include dry and itchy skin; discolored patches of skin (red to brown); small, raised bumps; skin that’s thick, cracked, or scaly; and red, swollen skin that’s a result of scratching.
Children with this type of eczema may have it into adulthood, but it may only flare up occasionally with gaps of as long as several years.
Causes of eczema in children
The exact cause of eczema isn’t entirely understood, but it appears to be linked to a gene variation that affects the ability of your child’s skin to retain moisture and protect itself from bacteria. Other factors increasing the risks of an eczema flare-up include:
- Family history of eczema
- Immune system malfunction
- Environmental factors, e.g., pollutants, smoke, stress
- Being African American
- Being Asian American
One major concern with developing this skin condition at an early age is that it makes children more vulnerable to bacterial, fungal, and viral infections.
Outlook and treatment
In some cases, children stop experiencing eczema as early as 3 or 4 years old, while others must deal with dry skin and flare-ups well into adulthood. An estimated two-thirds of children “outgrow” eczema but they’re likely to continue having dry skin issues.
If your child’s eczema doesn’t go away, help is available at Skinworks Dermatology.
Emollient creams can reduce itching and dryness, along with medicated creams and lotions like corticosteroids. Injectable biologic therapies such as Dupilumab can help in severe cases for children over 6, and light therapy can reduce the inflammation associated with eczema.
Preventive measures like avoiding environmental triggers, trying not to scratch, undergoing wet wrap therapy, and using fragrance- and soap-free products can help reduce flare-ups and make life easier for you and your child.
We can’t guarantee your child won’t have eczema as they get older, but we can help keep it from hurting their quality of life. If you want to discuss your child’s eczema, call the Skinworks Dermatology office in Maspeth, Chelsea, or Park Slope, or make your appointment online today.