Illness: Eczema, Cradle Cap
Eczema presents as patches of itchy, dry, red skin, sometimes with white or red bumps. Eczema can range from chronically red, irritated, weeping skin to a few patches of dry skin that disappear after a few days. About 10 percent of children in the United States develop some form of eczema during childhood. Chronic eczema can be annoying, but it can usually be treated.
Many babies get cradle cap, a condition that also produces flaky skin. The skin becomes scaly on the top of the head and sometimes around the ears and neck. Experts think that cradle cap is a buildup of extra skin cells and oil. It causes no discomfort and is harmless. Cradle cap usually occurs within the first few months of a baby’s life and clears up by 6 to 12 months.
Eczema, Cradle Cap: Symptoms
Symptoms of eczema:
- Itchy and uncomfortable dry, scaly skin
- Tiny white bumps or red patches
- Oozing patches, which may appear where the skin creases around the neck, elbows, wrists, hands, feet, and backs of the knees
- Worsening in winter, when the air is especially dry
Symptoms of cradle cap:
- Scaly, crusty rash on the scalp, especially over the soft spot (fontanel), sometimes on the eyebrows and around the ears and neck
Eczema, Cradle Cap: Causes
Causes of eczema:
- Reaction to vaccine
- Reaction to antibiotics
- Stress and anxiety
- According to East Asian medicine, eczema occurs when there is stagnation that prevents good circulation of the blood to the skin, which can be caused by excess phlegm
Causes of cradle cap:
- Excess skin cells and oil production caused by birth hormones
- Reaction to formula or food
Eczema, Cradle Cap: Prevention
Prevention of eczema:
- Keep the air around your baby moist.
- Keep her out of the wind and cold.
- Anything that touches her skin should be irritant-free. Be mindful of chlorinated pools, soaps, perfumes,
- To keep her systems running smoothly and to prevent digestive stagnation, burp your baby after feeding,
and limit nighttime feedings, if possible.
Prevention of cradle cap:
- Keep your baby’s scalp clean and dry.
- Gently but thoroughly brush or comb your baby’s hair every day.
Eczema, Cradle Cap: Suggestions for Care
Be gentle with skin prone to eczema. When bathing your baby, use unscented, hypoallergenic soaps and moisturizers and warm water. Avoid bubble baths and hot baths. Use a soft towel to pat your baby dry. Be sure to bathe her after she sweats or plays in dirt or environments where she may have picked up an irritant, such as dust, mold, animal dander, or pollen.
Dress her in loose-fitting, long-sleeved, soft cotton clothing, and use soft cotton bedding. Wash clothes and bedding with scent-free hypoallergenic laundry detergent, and rinse clothes an extra time if needed. Avoid scented products and PABA in sunscreen. Maintain proper humidity in the air surrounding your baby. Do not use steroid creams to treat eczema, because they can exacerbate the condition and push the eczema inward, causing asthma. Unlike eczema, cradle cap usually does not require treatment, but you can oil your baby’s head with sesame or olive oil and brush the scalp gently to remove dead skin.
Foods to Emphasize
A diet rich in fruits (especially berries), vegetables (especially cooked carrots and leafy greens), and omega-3 fats. Offer fermented foods and probiotic booster.
Foods to Avoid
Foods that trigger allergic reactions and create excess phlegm, such as dairy products from cows, eggs, soy, peanuts and tree nuts, fish and shellfish, chocolate, corn, and wheat. Avoid ice-cold beverages and foods, oranges, bananas, and other damp, phlegm-producing foods. Avoid sugar, food coloring, and artificial flavoring.
Essential Oils for Baby
For eczema, use these oils in the bath and for massage (combine with a carrier oil).
For cradle cap, massage lavender (combined with a carrier oil) into the scalp and then gently remove dead skin
Acupoints for Baby
- Lung 5
- Stomach 25, 36
- Spleen 3
- Bladder 17, 18, 20, 23
- Kidney 7
- Liver 3
- Gallbladder 20
- Governing Vessel 20
- Conception Vessel 12
- Heart 8
Reiki for Baby
For two or more minutes, place your hands on the following parts of your child’s body: abdomen, chest, neck, back, hara (belly), and other affected area(s).
Massage for Baby
- Gently massage the neck muscles.
- Massage the back of the neck, the areas along the spine, the tops of the shoulders, and the small of the back.
Eczema, Cradle Cap: Concerns
Neither eczema nor cradle cap is life threatening. However, severe cases of eczema can be painful and irritating,
and oozing open wounds can become infected with bacteria. With cradle cap, picking at crusts can lead to bleeding and bacterial infection. Speak with your health care provider if your baby fits any of these criteria:
- Has infected skin from eczema or cradle cap
- Has eczema or cradle cap that seems to be spreading or getting worse
- Has eczema or cradle cap for the first time
Note: The suggestions and ideas in this article are not intended to take the place of professional guidance or treatment; they are meant to complement the advice of your child’s health care provider, caretakers, and educators, while offering consolidated information to help you develop your intuition and make choices that fit with your own personal, religious, or spiritual philosophies. There is no guarantee as to the effects of the use of the recommendations and no liabilities can be taken.