Understanding Pediatric Eczema: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments - Westchester Center For Dermatology
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Understanding Pediatric Eczema: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Published on June 16, 2024

Eczema, particularly atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition in children that can cause discomfort. Understanding its causes, symptoms, and available treatments is important for managing this chronic condition effectively. This blog post will discuss pediatric eczema and the benefits of seeking professional help for your child’s well-being.

Causes of Eczema in Children

Pediatric eczema is a complex condition often influenced by genetic and environmental factors. A family history of eczema, asthma, or hay fever increases the likelihood of a child developing eczema. This genetic predisposition makes the skin more sensitive and prone to inflammation. 

The immune system of children with eczema also overreacts to minor irritants or allergens, causing inflammation and the characteristic rash. External factors, such as pollen, pet dander, harsh soaps, and detergents, can trigger or worsen eczema. Extreme hot or cold temperatures and dry air can also exacerbate the condition.

Food allergies, particularly to dairy, eggs, nuts, and wheat, can also trigger eczema flare-ups in children. Children with eczema should identify food triggers to avoid skin problems. Eczema can compromise the skin barrier, making the skin less effective at retaining moisture and more susceptible to irritants and microbes.

Eczema Symptoms

Eczema symptoms can vary widely among children, but common signs include:

  • Itchy Skin: Intense itching, especially at night, is a common symptom of eczema. Scratching can lead to the “itch-scratch cycle,” where itching leads to scratching, further damaging the skin.
  • Red, Inflamed Patches: These patches can appear anywhere on the body but are most common on the face, neck, hands, and the insides of elbows and knees.
  • Dry, Scaly Skin: Affected areas often become dry, scaly, and thickened over time due to persistent scratching and inflammation.
  • Crusting and Oozing: Severe eczema can lead to blistering, crusting, and oozing, increasing the risk of skin infections.
  • Pigment Changes: Repeated eczema flare-ups can cause areas of the skin to become lighter or darker than the surrounding skin.

Eczema Treatments

Managing pediatric eczema involves lifestyle modifications, skincare routines, and medical treatments. Here are some effective eczema treatments:

  • Moisturizers: Regularly applying thick, fragrance-free moisturizers helps maintain the skin’s barrier and prevent dryness. Moisturizers are standard for baby eczema care.
  • Topical Corticosteroids: Over-the-counter and prescription corticosteroid creams reduce inflammation and itching. However, patients should use these medications under medical supervision to avoid side effects.
  • Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors: Non-steroidal medications like tacrolimus and pimecrolimus effectively manage eczema without the side effects associated with steroids.
  • Antihistamines: These can help reduce itching, especially at night, and improve sleep quality.
  • Wet Wrap Therapy: This involves applying moisturizer and then wrapping the skin with damp bandages to lock in moisture and reduce inflammation.
  • Avoiding Triggers: Identifying and avoiding triggers such as certain foods, environmental allergens, and harsh skincare products can prevent flare-ups.
  • Oral Medications: Dermatologists prescribe oral corticosteroids or immunosuppressants to control symptoms in severe cases.
  • Phototherapy: Exposure to controlled amounts of natural sunlight or artificial ultraviolet light can help reduce symptoms in some children.

Why Choose Westchester Center for Dermatology to Treat Eczema?

Choosing the right care for your child’s eczema is important for their well-being. At Westchester Center for Dermatology, our experienced pediatric dermatologists offer personalized treatments for your child’s needs.

Our practitioners have extensive experience diagnosing and treating pediatric eczema to help your child receive the best care. From basic skincare advice to advanced medical therapies, we recommend unique treatment plans to address skin needs and triggers.

Although eczema isn’t usually an emergency, it can worsen despite daily application of over-the-counter steroid creams or other home remedies. If the skin has become infected, the rash has become hot and painful, and red streaks appear, or if a fever is present, contact the Westchester Center for Dermatology to receive medical attention immediately.

Contact Us to Learn More

Contact us today if you are concerned about your child’s eczema or need expert advice. We provide the highest quality care to help your child achieve healthy, comfortable skin in Hastings on Hudson, Crestwood, Tuckahoe, Thornwood, Pleasantville, Harrison, Hawthorne, and Purchase. Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn more about our services.