MarcieMom (@MarcieMom) met Dr Christopher Bridgett (@ckbridgett) through Twitter – and learnt that he had a special interest of using behavioural interventions to help people with atopic eczema. DrB trained in medicine at Corpus Christi College, Oxford and St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, then as a psychiatrist in Oxford. He now works in private practice in London. He has co-authored several publications on The Combined Approach, that proposes using habit reversal to stop habitual scratching in atopic eczema. To find out more about behavioural dermatology, click http://www.atopicskindisease.com/articles/PeterNoren to read DrB’s interview with Peter Norén MD, the Swedish dermatologist who created The Combined Approach.
MarcieMom: Welcome Dr B, this week’s all about newborn babies. Being a first time mom, I made the mistake of thinking my baby’s eczema rash was normal acne. So the question is: Rashes on newborn are often considered normal, and sometimes listed in the hospital guideline to new parents that they needn’t bring their newborn to see a doctor. How should a parent distinguish between the ‘normal’ rash and eczema rash?
Dr B: This is really outside my area of expertise and experience – I am only a psychiatrist, working with dermatologists, and their patients. I guess it’s safe for me to say any persistent rash should be seen by someone, and suspect eczema if atopy runs in the family.
MarcieMom: Some eczema babies also get cradle cap, and the cradle cap shampoo has to be used to massage the scalp and wash off the cradle cap. What’s the difference between cradle cap shampoo and normal baby shampoo?
Dr B: Aha! I think I can answer this… Yes, they are different. Cradle cap is seborrheic dermatitis of the new born and infants – it is usually harmless, and can clear on its own, without any special treatment. The regular baby shampoo will help reduce the rash, but specially formulated cradle cap shampoo is stronger – it may have salicylic acid in it for example. If the special shampoo is used, please make sure it is suitable for the age of the child!
Marcie Mom: I’ve also read that brushing a newborn hair helps to keep cradle cap away. Is that true? What does brushing hair do to the scalp?
Dr B: Yes, brushing the hair helps tidy things up, until the cradle cap clears. With cradle cap there is excess sebum being produced. Sebum is the natural oil of the skin. Sebum is good for the skin and hair, in moderation – for example, it gives insulation against water loss. When birds preen they are spreading oil over their feathers, and that is what brushing the hair does – see how it shines! – DrB.