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Does Your Infant Have Atopic Dermatitis

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Atopic dermatitis, which is colloquially known as eczema, can develop at any age. However, it is most common in children and often first shows up in infancy. Many parents spend a few weeks or months wondering what's going on before they finally realize atopic dermatitis is to blame for their child's symptoms. But the sooner you realize what's ailing your baby, the sooner you can start treating their condition. So keep your eyes out for the following signs of atopic dermatitis in infants.

Chronically dry skin

Most babies suffer from dry skin now and then, but it should clear up after you apply lotion a few days in a row. If your baby has patches of dryness that don't seem to respond to lotion or moisturizer, then eczema might be to blame. The same areas are typically dry over and over again. Often, it's the arms, backs of the knees, neck, or scalp.


Babies with eczema are often itchy. Depending on their age, your baby may or may not actually itch their skin with their hands. Younger infants may simply squirm around a lot, seeming to rub their itchy bodies against their bedding. If your child seems to always be wiggling their legs against the bed, for instance, this could indicate itchiness.

Raised, fluid-filled bumps

In some children, eczema presents as raised bumps. They may look red and slightly moist, and if you rub them, they may leak fluid. The bumps will stay moist for a few days, and then they will dry out and the skin in that area will get flaky. It's most common for this symptom to appear on the fingers or toes.

Thickened skin

Does your baby seem to have skin that is thicker than normal in some areas? Maybe you've noticed some thicker, callus-like areas along the scalp, arms, or neck. Babies don't usually develop calluses, so these are likely a symptom of eczema. They often arise from the repetitive itching babies with eczema do, and they can also appear where tighter clothing has been rubbing.

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a complex condition that requires a lot of management. You will want to switch to mild, unscented versions of laundry detergent, shampoo, body wash, and other products. Your baby will also need to see a doctor, and they may need a corticosteroid cream to get symptoms under control then they are at their worst. Keep your eyes out for symptoms so that you can take these steps as soon as possible, if needed.

For more atopic dermatitis information, contact your doctor.