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is eczema hereditary?

Is eczema hereditary?

We still don’t know what actually causes eczema, and there are so many variations that it can sometimes take a while to even narrow down which type you’re dealing with in the first place! The latest thinking is that eczema is caused by a combination of factors, including:

  • Genetics
  • Abnormal function of the immune system
  • Environment
  • Activities that may cause skin to be more sensitive
  • Defects in the skin barrier that allow moisture out and germs in

So, is it hereditary?

Eczema certainly seems to run in families, so that suggests a genetic role in eczema’s development. A major risk factor is having a relative who has or has had eczema, asthma or seasonal allergies such as hay fever.

I have eczema, does this mean my child will?

Not necessarily. Lots of adults with eczema go on to have kids with no skin issues at all. Similarly, some children will develop symptoms when both parents seem to be eczema-free. If you do suffer from eczema or asthma, or have particularly bad allergies, keep an eye on your child’s skin. They may be more predisposed to eczema, so it’s a good idea to seek treatment as early as possible. It’s always better to treat eczema as soon as the sensitivity and itching begins – that way you can prevent some of the more severe reactions.

Preventative care

We have a range of gentle and natural solutions for those with sensitive skin, so it may be worth using these instead of normal children’s bubble baths which have a lot of harsh chemicals in them. If you do notice an issue with your baby’s skin, make sure you go and see a GP straight away. There are many kinds of eczema, all of which require slightly different treatments.

Using our bath soaks every night will help keen skin soft and hydrated, even if your child doesn’t suffer from eczema! It’s a great way to soothe any general itchy or dry skin and prevent breakouts for those little ones with sensitive skin.

Mum guilt

Don’t feel guilty if you have eczema and your child develops it too. It’s a very common issue for many, many children. Focus on creating a management plan for your bub so breakouts are less often and less severe. If you want to know more, check out some of our other blog posts – we’ve got lots of great tips on how to prevent toddler flare-ups, advice for managing eczema in hotter months and practising self-care if your child is diagnosed with eczema.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

sun for eczema

Is sun good or bad for eczema?

Summer is a lovely time of year – swimming, picnics, days at the beach and long, balmy evenings. However, for those of us with children who suffer from eczema, it can be a stressful season.

There are a lot of varying opinions on whether the sun is good or bad for eczema, and there are no simple answers!

Some people find that their eczema improves with exposure to sunlight (this is particularly true of the contact and discoid types), while others experience a worsening of their condition in the sun.

Some types of eczema are even directly caused or made worse by exposure to the sun, although this is rare. The term for this is photosensitive eczema.

Once you work out what triggers your child’s (or your own) eczema, you can start to put a management plan in place for the coming warmer weather.

There is a lot of new research that says exposure to sunlight is beneficial for eczema sufferers. Vitamin D is great for lots of things, and some people do find a little sunlight can really help clear their skin. As well as Vitamin D, sunlight also triggers the release of compounds (regulatory T cells and nitric oxide) which dampen the problematic immune system response in people with eczema.

As with any outdoor activities in Summer, you need to follow the normal Sun Smart recommendations:

  • Cover up with loose, cotton or UV protection clothing
  • Use sunscreen (more below about which types to look for)
  • Wear a hat and sunnies
  • Seek shade
  • Don’t go out in the peak UV hours

Try planning some nice outdoor activities in the early morning or late afternoon sun when it’s not too warm. Dress your child in light, cotton layers to keep them cool. Don’t let your child get too hot or sweaty, as this can then become a trigger for a flare up. Stick to semi-shaded areas and always use sunscreen (sunburn can also cause skin inflammation and make eczema worse). Use your judgement when exposing them to a bit of sunshine – you want them to soak up those lovely rays, but to stay safe and cool!

When it comes to choosing your child’s sunscreen, try and find a physical sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These types of sunscreen create a physical block meant to keep UV rays from penetrating the skin. They’re non irritative but effective – unlike some sunscreen with chemical blockers which can cause irritation, burning, and itching for those with sensitive skin.

Top Tip! Keep your sunscreen in the fridge in Summer for a super refreshing and cooling application!

 

In conclusion, sunlight is a good thing for most people with eczema. A little exposure to some light morning sunshine is something that can help manage flare-ups and improve the condition of sensitive skin, so long as you’re careful not to overdo it.

Spending more time outdoors this Summer? Check out our post about Spring remedies where you can find lots of tips for managing your child’s eczema in the great outdoors.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

spring remedies

Spring remedies for eczema

Spring is just around the corner, and whilst most of us are glad to see the warmer weather return, it can affect those with sensitive skin.

Heat can be a big trigger for those with sensitive skin and eczema, meaning flare ups can be more common in Spring and Summer. Hotter days also mean we have the air con on more, and that can be really drying – another thing that can exacerbate eczema symptoms.

With Spring also comes the release of pollen and other allergies from grass and flowers into the air which can irritate those prone to reactions. So, before the warm weather kicks in, we thought we’d give you a few tips to help cope with the change in season.

  1. Moisturise, moisturise and moisturise again

The key to keeping eczema under control is moisturising the skin regularly. Don’t wait until the skin becomes red and itchy, make it part of your daily routine to moisturise your child so their skin stays soft and hydrated. Keep some cream or ointment close-by or in your handbag too so you can keep them nice and moisturised throughout the day if you’re out and about.

  1. Pick your playtime’s 

Try to organise your day so you’re out and about in the early morning and later in the afternoon. Avoiding the hottest parts of the day can really help manage those eczema symptoms. Another great way to beat the heat is to set up some water play in a shaded part of your backyard so the kids can still get outside and stay nice and cool.

  1. Be Sun Smart

We’d recommend being Sun Smart to anyone who’s out in the Aussie sun, but those extra layers of rashies, hats and sunnies do a really great job of protecting those with sensitive skin. If your child gets too hot and irritated, a cold compress is a nice way to cool them down and relive the itch.

  1. Swimming

We all love a dip to cool off in the warmer months, especially little ones! Sea water is a great natural remedy for eczema, so a splash in the ocean is always a good thing. If you go to your local pool, try to choose one that is saltwater based as chlorine can trigger eczema. If this isn’t possible, just take some simple steps to reduce the chances of a flare up. Make sure you shower your child straight after their swim using an oatmeal based, soap-free wash and cover them in moisturiser to protect their sensitive skin.

  1. Comfort at night

In Spring the nights can start to get warm, so make sure your child’s room is a nice cool temperature. Dress them in light cotton clothing (this is a great idea during the day too) so the skin can breathe and pop a fan on if it is feeling a bit stuffy.

  1. Rugs

Spring is typically picnic season, and that means lots of time outside. Sitting directly on sand or grass can really irritate your child’s skin, so make sure you have a blanket or rug with you on these occasions. You can get some great lightweight ones now that fold or roll up nice and small, perfect to keep in the back of the car for your alfresco dining occasions!

Need more suggestions, What are some quick tips for helping eczema in the heat.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

How to help soothe that tricky scalp area

The hair and scalp can be a tricky area to treat. The scalp can sometimes require conventional treatments like medicated shampoos, but there are also natural remedies you can try at home to relieve symptoms of itchy dry scalps and help your baby recover quickly.

Here are our top four natural remedies to help soothe the itch.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil contains wonderful fatty acids that can add moisture to the skin and relive the itch. Try applying cold-pressed virgin coconut oil directly to your child’s scalp after bathing. Use it before bed to keep the skin moisturised overnight and wash off in the morning so the hair isn’t greasy. Also read, All you need to know about coconut oil for baby eczema

Colloidal oatmeal

This is the main ingredient in our entire range – we can’t get enough of it. Oats have natural properties which are proven to help relieve the symptoms of itchy, dry skin. These properties are soothing, protective, anti-itch and moisturising. Try our oatmeal bath soak, eczema moisturiser, along with our nourishing scalp oil for combined efficiency for relieving itchy, dry scalps. This three step process layers hydration into the skin using moisturising products which not only seal in natural goodness to keep skin healthy, but also protect the skins barrier so it functions at its best.

Olive oil

Raid your pantry, because olive oil is also packed with healing properties for the scalp. Apply to the affected areas and leave the oil on for about an hour. Use a brush to remove scales from your baby’s scalp, reducing any build up. Rinse, brush again and then shampoo hair as usual.

Itchy Baby Co Natural Scalp Oil

We’ve combined a few of our favourite natural ingredients to create this soothing oil. It’s packed with the goodness of oat extract, which forms a silky barrier on the skin to trap hydration and help stop moisture loss. The organic coconut oil reduces flaking and the calendula oils are great for soothing and giving nourishment. Just pump a small amount into your hand and massage directly into your child’s damp scalp until the oil starts to be absorbed.

For hair in particular, sometimes loose flaky skin can get caught and you find yourself picking at your child’s hair to get it out. We’ve come across a few products over the years, and can recommend this Cradle Cap Brush and Comb to help remove that extra dry, flaky skin. Perfect for using after moisturising and applying our natural scalp oil.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

eczema colloidal oatmeal bath itchy dry skin

It’s just OATMEAL! How can an oatmeal bath help my child’s itchy, dry, eczema skin?

I know, I get it, and I thought the exact same thing – oatmeal is oatmeal. How is it going to help my child’s itchy, dry, eczema skin? So to satisfy my scientific pharmacist self, I started researching the clinical evidence and research available (that kept me busy for awhile!) and after those late night study sessions, I decided to jump right in. Or rather… I stepped into the oatmeal bath carefully holding my little boy and hoping with every bit of my heart and soul for something to wash away the pain of his suffering and ease my guilt.

Why can an oatmeal bath be effective for eczema and dry, itchy skin?

Naturally, the benefits of an oatmeal bath go back to science…

Research shows most of the benefits of having an oatmeal bath come from oatmeal’s chemical structure:

  • Beta-glucans hold in water and protect the skin, and may also assist in stimulating collagen production to strengthen the skin from irritation.
  • Cellulose and fibre which give oatmeal the ability to soften and moisturise the skin.
  • Phenols which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, helping reduce irritation and itching of your child’s eczema skin.
  • Our body contains prostaglandins which cause blood vessels to dilate, resulting in inflamed, irritated skin that can be prone to infection by bacteria and other microorganisms.
  • Colloidal oatmeal lowers the levels of prostaglandins, resulting in repaired barrier function and calmed skin.
  • Saponins, which are compounds found mainly in grains, and this ingredient gives colloidal oatmeal exceptional cleansing qualities to wash the skin and also take away any triggers sitting on the skin’s surface which can cause irritation and lead to infection.

Is using oatmeal for eczema and itchy, dry skin a new thing?

No! Oatmeal has been used for hundreds of years to soothe itchy and irritated skin. The oldest oat grains were found in Egypt in about 2000 BC and was introduced to North America at the beginning of the 17th century. Colloidal oatmeal started to be used for cosmetic benefits in facial masks as well as for cleansing and relieving itching. In the mid 1900s, colloidal oatmeal became ready to use for skin care and in 2003, the US FDA approved it as a product that can relieve skin irritation and itching.

What new evidence is around to suggest colloidal oatmeal might be effective for my child’s eczema?

Studies have been conducted on colloidal oatmeal, as it has been used for centuries as a topical treatment for a range of skin conditions, including eczema. Extracts of colloidal oatmeal were made with numerous solvents and tested in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory assays. A blind study was also carried out with 29 healthy females who displayed mild to moderate itch with dry skin on their lower legs. After treatment with colloidal oatmeal, results showed significant clinical improvements in skin dryness, roughness and the magnitude of itchiness. These results provided evidence that colloidal oatmeal does contribute to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, benefiting the skin, and may be used to treat the symptoms of eczema (Reynertson KA et al., 2018; PubMed 2018).

In a double blind, active-controlled study researchers aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of 1% colloidal oatmeal cream, compared to prescription creams in children with eczema. A variety of ages (ranging from 6 months to 18 years old) were randomised to colloidal oatmeal and prescription cream. The effectiveness of these products was tested using the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI) scores, as well as the Investigator’s Global Atopic Dermatitis Assessment (IGADA) scores. The EASI scores showed that prescription cream was not superior to colloidal oatmeal. It was concluded that 1% oatmeal cream was equally effective and safe as the prescription cream, in the treatment of mild-moderate eczema in children (Lisante Et Al., 2017; Medline, 2018).

Another double-blind, randomised, controlled study was conducted by researches where colloidal oatmeal was applied for 15 minutes as an open patch test, and under a patch for 24-48 hours. Results showed no sign of an allergic reaction. In a 2-week, single-blinded study of patients with Fitzpatrick skin types IV-VI, a remarkable improvement in skin brightness was seen within the first day, and continued throughout the study period. These results concluded that using the moisturiser containing colloidal oatmeal twice daily had great improvements in alleviating symptoms of irritated skin (Nebus et al., 2004).

But what is colloidal oatmeal?

When we hear oatmeal bath, it may sound like having a bath with breakfast cereal, but it is not quite what we think.  Oatmeal is ground into a fine powder and boiled, making it into a colloid, which is a solution of very small particles suspended in warm water, and because it has been finely ground, it remains evenly dispersed and does not sink to the bottom. This well mixed oatmeal is called colloidal oatmeal. Colloidal oatmeal binds to the skin and forms a protective barrier which helps to lock in moisture, as well as ease inflammation, it also cleanses the skin.

Where can I find colloidal oatmeal to help my child’s eczema and itchy, dry skin?

Our itchy baby co. products contain colloidal oatmeal. A regular skincare routine of bathing and moisturising your child every day can lead to healthy and happy skin.We recommend dissolving two to three spoonfuls of our natural oatmeal bath soak in a lukewarm bath every day and applying our oatmeal and coconut moisturiser within two minutes of taking your child out of the bath.  You can find a range of natural skincare products containing oatmeal oatmeal at itchy baby co.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

References:

Lisante, T., Nunez, C., and Zhang, P. (2017). Efficacy and safety of an over-the-counter 1% colloidal oatmeal cream in the management of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis in children: a double blind, randomised, active-controlled study. Journal of Dermatological Treatment 28: 659-667
Renertson, KA. et al. (2015). Anti-inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) contribute to the effectiveness of oats in treatment of itch associated with dry skin.  J Drugs Dermatol. 14 (1): 43-48. PubMed-NCBI
Nebus J, et al. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004;50:P77.
Gibson L, et al. (2003) Origin, history, and uses of oat (Avena sativa) and wheat (Triticum aestivum).

common types of eczema

What are the most common types of eczema in babies and children?

Atopic eczema

This is the most common type of eczema we see at itchy baby co. This form of is often hereditary and can go hand in hand with asthma and/or hay fever. In atopic conditions the body’s immune system responds to triggers which normally do no harm, for example certain foods, house dust mites and irritants, such as soaps and fragrances. This response makes the skin red and itchy.

Dry skin is a symptom of it and is thought to be caused by a breakdown in the skin’s natural barrier. The breakdown of this barrier means that moisture escapes from the skin more easily and allergens and irritants are more likely to aggravate the skin, causing inflammation.

Read more

Keratosis Pilaris

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis Pilaris is a common skin condition and is thought to be harmless, but it still can look uncomfortable and inflamed and can be very itchy. The most likely times for children to be affected are either before two years old or during their teenage years.

Read more

itchy baby co. natural moisturiser

why is itchy baby co. natural moisturiser different?

Most of you know my story and I’m sure it’s similar to yours. For many years, well ever since my little boy was born nearly five years ago, we have battled with eczema. The emotional ups and downs, well mainly downs, the relentless search for effective products and the ongoing visits to a range of health professionals from naturopaths to paediatric dermatologists, all the while hoping that something, anything, would help.

As a pharmacist and mother I felt so frustrated and helpless that nothing I was trying was making much of a difference. So I was motivated to do something myself and our range of itchy baby bath soaks was developed. Then I started thinking about a moisturiser. What is about many of the creams available for eczema which are stopping me from seeing results? What do most of these eczema creams have in common and what can I change to develop a moisturiser to target eczema which might be different?

Read more

coconut oil and baby eczema

All you need to know about coconut oil for baby eczema

Can coconut oil really be an effective treatment for baby eczema? It’s a question asked by thousands of parents struggling to heal their baby’s eczema and stop the suffering.

With all the hype around coconut oil at the moment, it’s easy to get confused. Afterall, you don’t want to make your child’s eczema worse. And although prescribed steroid creams prescribed by your doctor have a place in eczema treatment, they are generally recommended for short term use and eczema is often an ongoing condition.

Here we present the scientific facts around coconut oil and its potential as a treatment for baby eczema. Because it turns out virgin coconut oil is a powerful natural solution that has proven benefits over conventional eczema treatments.

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