Child Eczema Webchat - Mon 17 Jan 12-1pm

Babyexpert is pleased to welcome Dermatologist Dr Susan Mayou to answer your questions about childhood eczema and baby skincare in a LIVE webchat on, Monday 17 January, from 12-1pm.

Don't worry if you can't make chat on the day, leave your question below now and Dr Susan will endeavor to answer as many questions on the day as possible.


  • Hi,

    I am nearly full term with my first baby. I am a bit worried that once born he/she will develop Eczema, since my husband has had it since birth and gets it very badly. Also, there is a history of Asthma on both sides of our families (I believe the two are linked).

    Could you please tell me if there is any way that I can prevent the onset of Eczema? I am using mild non-bio washing detergent for baby clothes and have lots of emollient cream at the ready - what else can I do??

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you very much,

  • Hi

    My 16 month old baby has eczema. She first suffered with it when she was 4 months old and scratched it so much it bled quite badly and at one point it looked infected. Luckily the Hydromol ointment prescribed by the doctor cleared it up within a couple of weeks. However, she has suffered again with eczema the past two months and the ointment didn't seem to touch it this time. We have tried two types of non-steroidal creams, SOS - a herbal cream, which did seem to get rid of the redness but didn't get rid of the eczema and more recently we are trying a hemp seed oil cream, recommended to us. Todate, this has again helped with the redness but not got rid of it. Is there anything else we can try? Our baby suffers during the night with itching and has scratched her shoulders again, despite trying to keep her cool. We have also tried Aveeno oil at bathtime, which seems to help stop the itching a little. Does this mean she is likely to suffer with eczema as she gets older (it does run in my family, unfortunately. My Sister and Mum suffered quite badly when they were young and I suffer from dermatitis - which I didn't start with until I was 20!). I'd just like to find something which works and helps get rid of the eczema but do not want to use steroidal creams on her skin as a baby if I can avoid them. Trudie
  • My son who is nearly 6 months has always suffered from dry red skin since he was born, more so on his cheeks, arms and legs. We tried oilatum in the bath every other day or so which didn't seem to do any good. However we have now been advised by the health visitor to bath him in oilatum every day and also apply diprobase morning, evening and whenever he feels dry. His legs and arms seem to feel more hydrated although the dry skin is still there. However his face, particularly his cheeks seem to be really suffering. He is constantly scratching his face and his head to the point where he bleeds. I'm unsure as to whether it is just dry skin or whether it is something more and we need other treatment for it? Thank you in advance for your help.

  • Good morning,

    I have dealt with childrens' skin problems for the last fifteen years and will be available to answer your questions online for the next hour.

    Sue Mayou
  • Babyexpert is very pleased to welcome Dr Susan Mayou, who is here to answer your questions on baby and toddler eczema, from now until 1pm...
  • Dear Nina, (blidge210507)

    The most important and firstline treatment for children prone to dry skin and eczema is to use moisturisers. It is recommended that an oil is put in the bath, and after patting the skin dry a moisturiser is applied all over. A moisturiser should be applied again in the morning. This is known as complete emollient therapy.

    If the skin is inflammed and itchy then this can be addressed by applying a weak hydrocortisone ointment such as 1% hydrocortisone ointment to affected areas once or twice daily. I can reassure you that this strength of steroid is completely safe and does not cause the problems parents are understandably concerned about such as skin thinning. Indeed it is much better for the childs skin than itching, scratching and bleeding which you are conerned might leave scarring.

    I hope this helps.

    Sue Mayou
  • Hello,

    My baby is 6 months old and is constantly itching his stomach and neck at night (which is casuing him to wake). He has a small rash on his neck, which the doctor has precribed hydrocortisone for. I also suffer for Eczema. My question is- we are currently seeing an osetopath for another issue, she suggested to cut all dairy out and try soya products instead. Is this a good idea?

    Many Thanks

  • Dear Maria (Margie84uk)

    The tendency to eczema, asthma and hayfever is inherited, although even without a family history 1 in 5 children have a tendency to eczema in early childhood. Despite this and the fact your husband still has eczema,in general eczema has a good prognosis with 50% growing out of it by the age of two and 90% by the age of fifteen.

    It is very sensible to be thinking in advance of what you might do to minimise any eczema your baby might develop. It is well worth breast feeding and some mothers look at their own diets to minimise their consumption of the most allergy provoking foods. The National Eczema Society is a very good resource and can provide a list of the order of these foods ranging from the least to the most likely to cause a problem and this is also useful for when you start weaning your baby. There is also a lovely booklet produced by Steifel called Coping with Eczema which has this list and which I give to every patient.

    You are sensible to use the non-biological washing detergents, although modern washing machines have enough rinse cycles to deal with retained detergent and I agree to treat any dryness with a moisturiser applied twice daily and remember to also use an oil in the bath.

    I hope this is helpful

    Best wishes

    Sue Mayou
  • Dear Trudie (Trudesuk)

    What you have done so far has all been very sensible with a bath oil, a moisturiser and non-steroidal creams. However as the problem persists I would recommend a weak topical steroid such as 1% hydrocortisone ointment. I can reassure you that it will not cause any skin thinning and she is suffering without it.

    I completey understand your reticence to use steroids but it is a question of strength, quantity and where you are applying it. Thus 1% hydrocortisone (which can be bought over the counter without a prescription as it is weak) is safe to use in the shorterm. I always recommend the ointment base in preference to the cream as creams contain preservatives which can sting inflammed skin whereas ointments do not.

    Dry skin is always itchy and the itching is always worse when we are hot which is classically in bed at night so keeping her room cool is a good idea, as is putting a saucer of water under the radiator to help humidify the room when the central heating is on and reduces further water loss from your baby's skin into the room.

    I hope this helps.

    Kind regards

    Sue Mayou
  • Dear Nikki (NIKKINOOS)

    I completely agree with the advice from your health visitor to bath your son in Oilatum every day. Water, especially in some areas such as London, is extremely hard and drying for the skin but with a bath oil, a bath is theraputic. Followed by an emollient such as Diprobase or Oilatum is completel emollient therapy and a very good basis to his treatment. He should also have the moisturiser applied to affected areas throughout the day: as his face is involved I recommend a mosituriser as a protective barrier before feeding, going outside in this cold winter weather and before sleep if he is a dribbler. If despite this approach his skin is red, inflammed and he is scratching, as you say, to the point where he bleeds, something more is needed. Red inflammed skin contains inflammatory cells which release mediators which the baby perceives as itch and therefore scratches, so an antinflammatory is required. You can buy 1% hydrocortisone ointment over the counter without a prescription and once it has improved reduce to the weaker 0.5% hydrocortisone ointment which needs a prescription from your GP!

    I hope this is helpful

    Kind regards

    Sue Mayou
  • Hello,

    my son is 6 months old and has always suffered from dry skin - we have been treating it with rmassaging olive oil into his skin which has worked for his body but not his head and face. His ears are very dry and where he scratched and pulls his ears they are bleeding. Over the weekend he has developed a red spotty dry rash around his chin, cheeks and mouth - what should i use to treat this? carry on with oil or try E45?

    many thanks
  • Dear Gemma, (Gemmaz26)

    It does sound as if your six month baby has eczema and although diet is a problem in only a minority of babies with eczema it is mostly relevant in the under 2's. It is also a good time if you are concerned about his diet as presumably you are only just starting to wean him and/or he is only on a small number of different foods. Before you alter his diet you need his skin to be as well controlled with the moisturisers and hydrocortisone you already have so you can be objective about any changes the diet may or may not have. There is certainly no harm in trying a short time off dairy and assessing the results, although there are a number of people with dairy intolerance who are also allergic to soya. In any case he is very likely to grow out of any food intolerances.

    With kind regards

    Sue Mayou
  • Hi, my son has just turned 3 and has areas of bad eczema (mostly on his wrists). We have a variety of creams, antihistamine medicine and steroid from the skin specialist doctor which have improved the eczema and we are happy with this.

    The doctor thinks he'll just outgrow it, but I'd like to know how likely this is or whether it could be food allergy related. We found out just after he turned 2 that he is milk protein intolerant and once we took the milk protein out ofhis diet (its now been reintroduced to some extent) his eczema improved somewhat.

    We have a family history of eczema and asthma and my husband was allergic to lots of things in childhood which he grew out of which makes me think that my son could have inherited some of the allergies which could be causing hte eczema - how likely is this?

  • LittleBugarooo!

    Dear Mummy,

    The rash you are describing sounds like mild eczema and I would continue with your olive oil but change the E45 to E45HC to treat this. Apply twice daily to start with, then just at night and wean off.

    Kind regards

    Sue Mayou
  • Hiya,

    My daughter is now 9 months old & from around 8 weeks her skin has been very bad. It all started with her cradle cap, which, eventually cleared up using oilatum bath formula & aveeno cream. But, now the rest of her body just seems constantly dry. We use aveeno cream twice daily & use oilatum in her bath which is every 2 days. She has also been prescribed some cream as she gets very bad flare ups on the back of her neck & legs. I was just wondering is there any other type of cream I could use everyday on her as I feel her skin is never very soft.


  • Dear Jayne (Lambchop26)

    You have optimised your emollients using an oil in the bath and a regular moisturiser, although there is no harm in having a daily bath as long as it is with an oil. You could also try a slightly greasier moisturiser Cetraben and apply it three times daily.

    She started with seborrhoeic eczema (cradle cap) but now has atopic eczema and it sounds as if you have been prescribed a topical steroid for the areas affected by eczema. If the rash persists despite putting this on affected areas after the moisturising regime twice daily you may need a slightly stronger cream and should go back to your GP for this.

    I hope this helps

    Kind regards

    Sue Mayou
  • Thank you to all our users and many thanks also to Dr Susan Mayou for such an informative webchat.

    For more information on The SOAK and SMOOTH to SOOTHE campaign launched by makers of Oilatum???? Junior, to help parents who are currently struggling to manage their child's eczema, click here:
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