Childhood eczema is commonly seen in babies and children of any age.

Eczema in children is typically either ‘atopic dermatitis’ or ‘contact dermatitis’.

Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition characterized by red, dry, scaly patches on skin that are often very itchy; it can also be inflamed, wet and oozy. These patches can be found on cheeks, around the mouth, on the scalp, behind ears, or on the arms and legs.

Atopic dermatitis often has a genetic component or is ‘inherited’. Even with a family history, there is usually a trigger that starts the process in infancy.

There can be a variety of things that contribute to the formation of these annoying skin eruptions children experience. Some contributing factors include:

  • Environmental allergens – dust mites, pollen, grasses, mold and pet dander
  • Food sensitivities are a common trigger of eczematous rashes in children and will often begin when new foods are introduced to babies

Contact dermatitis is the more common presentation of eczema in babies and kids. Drooling or licking lips can contribute to contact dermatitis. Babies can have folds of skin on their neck, legs, arms or behind their ears where moisture gets trapped and starts the process of a skin irritation that can progress to an eczematous rash.

Contact dermatitis can also be triggered by a food sensitivity, by a sensitivity to body care products, laundry products, or by other environmental toxins or pollutants.

Figuring it out…

Eczema is an allergic response by the immune system. If the root cause of skin eruptions in children is not addressed, the eczema can become more severe and lead to other immune reactions. Children who develop either atopic dermatitis or contact dermatitis often develop other allergies such as hay fever, food sensitivities or even asthma.

Childhood Eczema naturopathic doctor visit

Naturopathic medicine is a model of healthcare that strives to address the root cause of health concerns and remove obstacles to cure, while working with the body’s innate ability to heal itself. The naturopathic care team at The Boucher Naturopathic Medical Clinic conducts a thorough intake with each patient, to get a comprehensive understanding of the disease process and its origins. As part of the naturopathic intake, the naturopathic team will assess children’s susceptibility to atopic disease, the current state of the presenting condition, the environmental factors involved, as well as food and other sensitivities.

Naturopathic doctors are trained and equipped with all of the tools necessary to address eczema in babies and children and start the healing process. They may recommend food sensitivity testing, allergy scratch testing or an elimination diet. They may use herbal medicine, nutritional supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids, probiotics or vitamins and minerals. They may also choose to use homeopathy or a physical medicine modality such as hydrotherapy. Each patient is thoroughly assessed by a naturopathic doctor and an individualized treatment plan is prepared to specifically address the patient’s presenting health concerns and constitution.

Article by: Dr. Lori Ferguson, BSc., ND

Dr. Ferguson is a licensed naturopathic doctor practicing in Vancouver, BC where she specializes in telemedicine. In addition to private practice, she works as a clinical supervisor at the Boucher Clinic in New Westminster, which is a teaching clinic connected to the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine – Boucher campus. Dr. Ferguson enjoys getting out into the community and doing speaking engagements on women’s health, pediatrics, stress, environmental medicine, and disease prevention.

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