Atopic dermatitis: how can you prevent its appearance?
Atopic-prone skin, also called atopic dermatitis, affects one child in five.1, but atopic doesn’t mean atypical. If the signs of this eczema are unpleasant (redness, itching sensations, dryness, etc.), they are not rare, nor contagious to other children, and not irreversible.
Written in partnership with Dr. Clarence De BELILOVSKY, dermatologist & member of the Mustela experts' circle.
The signs never lie!
A few months after birth, was your baby’s skin quite dry and did some red patches start to appear? Do you or your partner have atopic-prone skin? Don’t hesitate, from birth onward, to adopt a few habits that could become a source of pleasure and comfort.
Remember that prevention is your best ally. Atopic-prone skin is strongly linked to hereditary factors, but we can still do something about it. There are two keywords: prevent and repair.
Atopic dermatitis prevention and skin care for your baby
We know that dry skin is no longer impermeable, and can allow allergens, which are partly responsible for atopic-prone skin, to penetrate (see our file on Atopic-prone skin). In order to repair dry skin and, more specifically, the skin barrier, we can help it to again play its defensive role. Let’s not forget that well-hydrated skin means less irritation.
To hydrate, apply an emollient cream or balm (see the benefits of emollient care). In addition to providing all the ingredients of a moisturising cream, they also contain lipids that help restore the oily layer needed by the skin surface; it becomes more supple and resistant. There is even some proof that, if you apply emollients daily from birth onward, it can reduce the risk of symptoms of atopic dermatitis appearing by 33% to 50%1. It would be a shame not to do it!
For greater efficacy, choose skincare well-adapted to your baby’s delicate skin (see Specific nature of babies’ skin). Indeed, if you think that your baby’s skin is lovely and soft and you can’t stop touching and tickling it, remember that it not mature yet: its dermis is three times thinner than an adult’s, and is also much more permeable (which requires more attention in case of atopic-prone skin. It will take three years to acquire the same functionalities as adult skin: more reason to use baby/child-specific formulas specially developed for babies and children to suit all their specific needs and which you can apply without fear as of your baby’s first days of life.
Eczema, atopic-prone skin, and redness: preventive responses
On a day-to-day basis,2 , avoid anything that can contribute to flare-ups developing if your child has atopic-prone skin, including:
- Allergens, like mites or dust.
- Irritating or drying elements like soap; dry, rough-textured clothes; very dry air; and too-high temperatures.
Of course, it is not always easy to anticipate everything, and you don’t have to panic when your baby is too hot, or when he loves cuddling you when you are wearing your pretty woolly pullover, which usually feels so soft. You just have to remain vigilant and avoid, as much as possible, certain environment and activities. If your child loves playing in the water, a little drop of Stelatopia bath oil in his bath or in his inflatable pool (filled with de-chlorinated water) can also help him happily avoid having harmful water on his skin.
Despite everything, there will be some moments in your baby’s life when atopic-prone skin will show up anyway. Don’t panic! In this case as well, emollients will be your best friends. If necessary, you also can also seek advice from your physician.
1Source: Eric L. Simpson, 2014, Horimukai 2014.
2Read up on this topic: Live well every day