My baby Marcie does. The cradle cap developed the same time as her eczema rash, at about 2 weeks old. It’s greasy, yellow, crusty and difficult to scrape off. I applied olive oil onto the cradle cap, and combed it off when the crust soften. Cradle cap can develop above eyebrows and inside the ears too!
Cradle cap is caused by overactive oil glands and usually occur in infants. I was told by doctors that it’s related to eczema and can last up to 2 years old. Marcie still has it but it is no longer as pervasive. It’s itchy for her though and I do apply 0.05% steroid lotion when the scratching is really intense.
A few ways you can manage the cradle cap:
1. Use a cradle cap shampoo. I use it once a day for Marcie and realised that you have to massage the scalp quite firmly in order for it to be effective.
2. Brush baby’s hair and keep it short. I find that once Marcie’s hair is longer, she gets warm and somehow starts scratching. I’m not sure if it has anything to do with cradle cap, but I’m not choosing beauty hair over comfort.
3. The yellow flakes must be removed early. I learnt that the hard way by letting the cradle cap/flakes build up and when I wanted to remove the thick crust, lots of hair got removed along it. There’s some damage done and even after half a year, some parts of scalp still can’t grow hair. 🙁
4. Don’t forget to wash off the olive oil on baby’s scalp. I did that once cos I was too tired to shampoo Marcie after removing the cradle cap crust. It was a huge mistake cos somehow it got so itchy that she scratched her scalp so bad that night. (Update on 8 Jun – just read that olive oil contains oleic acid which some babies may be allergic to, may want to consider using virgin coconut oil)
Lastly, know that cradle cap will eventually go away in a few months time. So take a deep breath and not let the crust ruin your day.
Determining if your baby has eczema may not be so straight forward. Being a first time mom, I remembered reading a checklist from the paediatrician on what is normal and not normal in a newborn. Rashes is one of the items listed as normal, no need to see a paediatrician.
My baby Marcie has eczema from 2 weeks old and I only realised that her rashes were not ‘normal’ on her 1st month checkup. The paediatrician diagnosed Marcie with eczema after looking at her rashes and linked it as an allergy to milk (which turned out to be not the cause).
If you are wondering if your baby has eczema, the signs and symptoms listed below can serve as a guideline:
1. Itch – Itch causes scratching (and keeping my baby from scratching really stresses me out!)
2. Inflammation – Damage to skin cells caused by scratching. The redness in skin is caused by increased blood flow and the skin feels warm to touch and swollen.
3. Scaly Skin – More than usual dead cells on skin; can come in various forms, including white/powdery, cracked, thin/transparent sheets that peel off or thick/yellow flakes/chips
4. Lichenification – Thicker, darker and rougher skin from scratching/rubbing
5. Brown skin color – Brown spot where eczema used to be, caused by cells in skin (‘melanocytes’) releasing extra pigments from scratching
6. Scratch marks
7. Crusts – Caused by leaking serum, the liquid part of blood that heals inflammation
9. Small blisters
10. Nails – Thick & rough nails, pitted/ ridged
11. Dry skin
There are more signs and symptoms listed in the book “Eczema Free for Life” by Adnan Nasir, but listing all that here will be information overkill.
That’s the advice that I received during the first specialist consultation for my baby’s eczema in 2010, and I’m still sticking to it after ten years.
What should I do? What moisturizer to use?
I suppose we all started our journey of parenting eczema kids asking these questions. And the advice from my daughter’s doctor (Prof Hugo, who later co-authored with me Living with Eczema: Mom Asks, Doc Answers) is ‘Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize’. Followed by, ‘You Can’t Moisturize too Much’.
Our Selection of Moisturizers
So, what moisturizer to use?
I did ask this question, and Prof Hugo’s answer was the one that your child likes, and you can afford to use it generously.
And, my child does have preferences. Here’s the timeline of the moisturizers which we have tried, and honestly, we haven’t tried that many because we are the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it kind of person.
Frequent, almost daily use. From 2010 to date. The main plus point is its price point! I don’t think it’s the best moisturizer in terms of ingredients but it does its work of keeping moisture in and skin hydrated. For the past ten years, we have used it for at least 5 years and there was once when it didn’t seem to work as rashes appeared and skin seemed dry. We then switched to a more expensive cream like Physiogel but has since re-incorporated QV cream back into our staple of creams. We do not use QV lotion though as its effect is not long lasting enough for our dry skin > Read full review
Soon after, at the advice of a GP (who still is our GP!), we tried Physiogel AI. It contains ingredients that can replenish skin lipids, therefore, more effective in hydrating dry skin. The only negative about it is its price. At $35 for 100ml, it may not be a cream which you can generously use twice a day for your whole body. I think we use it more frequently when our daughter was a baby, since her surface area was smaller then! However, we use Physiogel AI lotion daily – typically as a first layer over dry skin, and then ‘seal’ with a thicker less expensive cream > Read full review
physiogel ai lotion
Since Physiogel AI worked well but was too costly for frequent use, we tried ‘downgrading’ to Physiogel cream. It still contains lipids such as triglyceride, and long lasting enough. We used this for quite a few years, in particular, when using the cheaper QV cream alone didn’t work so well after continued use > Read full review
california baby eczema cream
Given all the marketing on organic and natural product, we tried California Baby. It didn’t seem to be long lasting and felt a little itchy after use. We stopped just after using once and threw the bottle away. Some of the reviews on Amazon were positive, while others feedback caused rashes.
Burt’s Bees moisturizing cream
We tried another natural cream that was a gift from friends. It could be that the product was expiring, and therefore had bacteria growth (or she was sensitive to one of the natural ingredients), my daughter’s skin looked more inflamed and itchy after a single use on her leg. As with California Baby, we threw it away. Some of the Amazon reviews also mentioned skin irritation.
Curel japan intensive moisture
I was actually asked to review this cream when it was first launched in Singapore. However, I was kind of averse to doing product review and declined. Subsequently, free samples of it was given out during an eczema patient session and I tried it out on my daughter. It was very smooth and creamy feel, but given the cost of $24 for 120ml, we decided to continue using cheaper alternatives that also worked.
bioderma atoderm pp baume
My daughter had fungal infection, and around the same time, the eczema rashes started to flare up, with thickened skin and dark scabs. We decided to re-visit a dermatologist (something that we hadn’t required since 1-year old!). The dermatologist recommended Bioderma, the dermatologist’s range. While that worked well, it was not available at regular pharmacy and we tried the Atoderm normal range which also worked.
However, half a year later (at around the start of fourth grade), my daughter’s skin started to rash. It could be that her classroom was at the top floor and sun-facing. In any case, we stopped Bioderma for a while to switch back to Physiogel AI, and currently re-incorporated Bioderma Creme to our staple of creams > Read full review
aveeno eczema therapy
We decided to try out Aveeno because its sunscreen is value-for-money and really sun protective. Personally, Aveeno’s eczema therapy moisturising cream feels very moisturizing. However, my daughter doesn’t like it as it feels greasy to her. > Read full review
The above completes our ten-year experimentation and use of moisturizers. There are some others like Ceradan and probiotic skincare lotion which are not available outside of Asia. There are a lot of posts that cover moisturizers – key ones are:
You know what will be really useful? For you to share your moisturizer journey in the comments or in the forum post that I’ve created for this. Another parent reading this can be spared from trying a cream that didn’t work.
Hello to all parents out there, particularly to stay at home moms raising kids with eczema or allergies.
It’s nice to meet you here and I hope your day has gone on well – no emotional breakdown, no shouting/crying. And you have got your toilet break and time to grab a glass of water and lunch.
I know what you are going through as I have gone through the same. It’s no joke to take care of a baby diagnosed with chronic eczema – apart from the already heavy workload required to take care of a newborn, there is the struggle with getting baby to drink the less tasty hypo-allergenic milk and preventing baby from scratching her skin/scalp. My baby Marcie has eczema from 2 weeks old and I quit my job to take care of her. Staying at home also give me the blues, surrounded by four walls with noone but a contantly irritated and ‘scratchy’ baby to talk to.
I’ll be sharing my journey with you, hoping to offer some real-life tips to deal with eczema rather than giving you tons of facts and figures. I know how you feel sometimes, looking at all the facts, googling into the middle of night hoping to find a cure, but all you get seems to make you more fearful of what you could possibly be doing wrong. This blog is meant to do the opposite, to provide a light-hearted and heart to heart sharing with you, hoping to inject some blissful moment into your day when you know things are still on track.
& always believe You are the Best Parent for your eczema child