When we talk about eczema, one should first understand what it truly means. According to Dr Uma Sothinathan, Consultant Paediatrician of Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur, eczema means that the skin is in a hyperactive state where patches of skin can become inflamed, itchy, red, cracked, and rough. The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but there are a number of triggers that causes the symptoms of eczema, such as food, environment, cleansers and other irritants.
There are many types and stages of eczema, but the most common one in the first year of life is Seborrheic Dermatitis or cradle cap, which mainly appears where there are a lot of oil-producing glands such as the nose, scalp, around the ears and creases.
Should Mummies Alter Their Diet?
According to Dr Uma, dietary modification should not be the first approach in tackling SD. The key is to have a balanced diet incorporating mothers' choice of healthy foods and to avoid overindulgence with food that are naturally considered to be allergenic. This ensures supply of nutritious, good quality breast milk.
“The main thing that mummies should take care of is skincare,” she says. Parents should choose a cleanser that is gentle on baby’s skin, is non-perfumed and doesn’t lather too much. It is also important to keep your baby’s skin moisturized by applying a fragrance-free moisturizer after a nice warm bath.
Going all natural may work for some babies, but having a threshold point at which your baby is seen by a doctor, ensures early intervention for the few who may need step-up treatment. A conversation with your baby's doctor will reinforce the steps that you have implemented correctly, allow reflection on possible trigger factors and help plan step-wise strategy to manage future flare-ups.
“Do not get your steroid medication over-the-counter. Seeing a doctor would enable you to determine the underlying cause, get you the proper prescription and proper method of applying the medication without making things worst.”- Dr Uma Sothinathan, Consultant Neonatalogist & Paediatrician of Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur