If your baby or toddler suffers from the dry, itchy, flaky skin (along with the restlessness and sensitivity) that characterises eczema, you’ve probably already tried several treatments. But if all the lotions and creams aren’t working, you might be feeling at your wits’ end.
If so, it might help to understand what eczema is, and what causes it.
The clinical name for eczema is “atopic dermatitis”, and it often shows up in families with a history of other atopic conditions (e.g. asthma and hay fever). It happens when the skin’s moisture barrier fails, leading to dryness, inflammation and itching.
Eczema is incredibly common in Australia: up to 33% of people here develop it at some stage (compared to 20% in the rest of the world). And it tends to develop early: over half of all sufferers show signs during their first 12 months.
Part of the reason that older children tend to grow out of eczema may be that their skin thickens as they grow. Your baby’s skin is five times thinner than yours, making moisture loss far easier.
Eczema is often described as an allergic condition, although recent evidence casts some doubt on this. While nobody is 100% sure of its cause, some common triggers include:
Most of the commonly recommended treatments are external. They’re about keeping your baby’s skin protected and moisturised, and avoiding the things that dry it out in the first place. So you’ll often see recommendations to:
These are all important measures to take. But it can also be useful to look at holistically reducing your baby’s risk of developing eczema in the first place.
Researchers have found evidence that certain probiotics (supplements that contain beneficial bacteria) can help to lower the risk of infants developing eczema. However, it’s important to realise that different strains of probiotic bacteria can each have different effects in our bodies.
Nutra-Life Probiotica Baby, Toddler and Child contains Lactobacillus Rhamnosus – the probiotic strain that’s been clinically shown to reduce children’s risk of eczema. It comes in a convenient, premeasured dose that you can add to breast milk, formula, or unheated food to make taking it quick and easy for your child.