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How To: Treat Mild Eczema in Toddlers
The rash appears
Right after our daughter turned one, she started to break out in what looked like a rash that was spreading pretty quickly across her back. Nothing to cause us to worry too much, but enough to make us dive into some research.
I pulled up pictures and descriptions of all kinds of infant and toddler rashes and was having a hard time matching it to anything. My husband and I decided it was closest to mild ringworm and looked up what could be done for it. It’s a contagious fungal infection that could have easily been picked up at daycare.
The solution sounded simple enough. Spread athlete’s foot cream liberally on the rashes twice a day for two weeks and that should get it all cleared up!
The clotrimazole in athletes foot cream clears up the contagious fungal infection known as “tinea” (ringworm, athletes foot, and jock itch).
So we tried it out and the rash started to disappear. Then two weeks later, we were about to head to the doctor for her 15 month appointment and the rash came back…but on her stomach.
Then her scalp went from red to white and began to flake off. Behind her ears got red and tough.
A misdiagnosis on our part
When we spoke to her pediatrician about it, she corrected our diagnosis. She had mild eczema, not ringworm. When we asked the doctor about the athlete’s foot cream, she told us that the moisture from the cream helped the eczema calm down for a bit but that we would have to go another direction to keep the eczema under control.
Eczema is common in children from six months to five years of age, but the cause is unknown. It is not contagious and there is no cure, but you can work with your doctor to keep the symptoms under control. It affects about 20% of all children.
Because our daughter has a mild case, we do not need any prescriptions yet. We got some suggestions from the pediatrician and went on the hunt for the best products to keep our baby’s skin baby bum soft and healthy.
Learn the Triggers
Knowing your child’s triggers will help prevent uncomfortable flare ups and possible infections. Find a routine that works best for your child and stick to it. Even if their skin looks like it has cleared up, diverting from your routine can cause flare ups to appear.
Always discuss symptoms and treatment with your child’s doctor.
- Dry Skin
Especially with dry winter air, even if there are no current flare ups, if you do not moisturize, flare ups can appear quickly
Soaps, shampoos, detergents, certain fabrics, metals (especially nickel), cigarette smoke, fragrances like cologne or perfume, antibacterial ointments, or even saliva
- Heat and Sweating
Keep baby cool and dry (check inner elbow and behind the knee especially during crawling)
Eczema may become infected by staph, ringworm, or the herpes virus
Pet dander, pollen, dust, mold, or dandruff
Stress and hormonal fluctuation can cause flare ups
She told us to combine it in a 50/50 mixture and get it on her whole body (including her scalp) twice a day.
It started working within minutes from our first application!
We were incredibly thrilled and after a week of doing this routine twice a day, all of her flare ups had disappeared.
We decided to drop down to once a day as it didn’t seem like she needed treatment twice a day anymore… and BOY were we wrong. Her eczema rash came back immediately.
It is important to stick to the doctor’s advice, people!
After going back to twice a day, we have kept her flare ups under control and her skin is supple and kissable.
Treating the Scalp
We went on a search for a more gentle shampoo and body wash and found this fabulous TruBaby Eczema wash that was 1/5 the price of the competitors.
When I read the reviews on Amazon, parent after parent said that this wash outperformed the fancy $30 – $50 baby eczema washes, I was thrilled!
It is keeping her scalp nice and moist and we got this silicone bath brush (from the makers of the Nose Frida and the Windi) to help massage her rash on her scalp and get the soap out of her luscious baby locks.
With all of her hair, nothing was really getting onto her scalp. It was all in her hair and her hair was nasty while her scalp was still dry.
I found the best way to accomplish getting the mixture on her scalp and off of her hair is to:
- put the mixture on your wrist
- part their hair all the way to one side with a comb
- dab your finger into the mixture and blot it into that part
- rub it into their scalp along that part
- move the part over about half an inch
- repeat the dab, blot, rub
- continue all the way across their scalp
This works best right after bath time when their hair is wet and will stay where you put it.
Use a soothing bath that does not cause your child flare ups.
It may take some time and some experiments to see what products you need to avoid and what products work best.
We have loved the Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash since she was itty bitty for getting her skin nice and moist.
Aveeno actually has Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Soothing Bath Treatment for treatment of her flare ups that is fantastic!
Every child is different and will require different treatment. We are thankful that her eczema is mild for now and we feel that we have researched and are prepared because we know her triggers and we have found what seems to work best for her as of right now.
Our pediatrician has been fantastic and is prepared with a ton of knowledge on how we can move forward if we have to change her routine.
Always check with your pediatrician for information on how to treat your child for any condition. They know your family history, your child’s medical history and can give you the best advice and a routine specifically designed for your child.