Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common skin condition in babies. It is often
characterized by dry, inflamed, and itchy skin. Baby’s eczema usually appears in the first six
months to five years of a child’s life. These symptoms tend to appear or disappear. In cases of a
recurring severity, the eczema is referred to as a flare-up.
Causes of eczema
The risk factors identified in the development of eczema include genetics and environmental
allergens. Some of the irritants include personal care products such as soap, shampoo, cleansers,
oils, baby powder, wipes, ointments etc. Also, laundry detergents and fabric softeners used in
washing clothes have been found to trigger eczema. Bodily triggers include scratching, saliva,
and sweat. Other environmental triggers include tobacco smoke, pollen, dust mites, heat, and dry
Food allergies are a leading cause of baby’s eczema, and this is where maternal nutrition during breastfeeding comes into play. The World Health Organization currently recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continuing to breastfeed, as well as introducing other foods, until 2 years of age. Breast milk contains compounds such as α-tocopherol, β-tocopherol, and prolactin-all help degrade inflammatory compounds, increase immune function, and decrease the sensitivity of infants (Lien & Goldman, 2011). In addition, The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that lactating mothers with infants at high risk of developing AD should avoid peanuts and tree nuts, and should consider eliminating eggs, cow’s milk, and fish from their diets. However, the incidences of allergies vary from case to case, and it’s the prerogative of a mother to restrict her diet if she notes a direct relationship between her dietary intake and her child’s eczema.
Some of the food allergies cited by our customers who are breastfeeding include eggs and meat products such as pork and beef.
There is no cure for eczema, and dermatologists and pediatricians prescribe medications such as antihistamines and corticosteroids, as well as fragrance-free moisturizers and natural remedies. There is also a need to identify and eliminate potential triggers and allergens.
Shea butter is a natural remedy that has been found to be effective in moisturizing and healing flaky skin in baby’s eczema. Shea butter is a good emollient with anti-inflammatory properties.
Shea butter is rich in fatty acids: oleic, stearic, palmitic, arachidic, and linoleic which makes it an excellent emollient.
Vitamins A, E and F, which are all found in Shea butter, also help to promote the healing of dry, itchy, and inflamed skin.
Shea butter also contains anti-inflammatory properties which help to keep skin from becoming easily irritated, which is a common challenge for eczema sufferers.
Shea butter can also be used to form a protective barrier on the skin, preventing flare-ups from allergens, such as dust and other irritants that can cause the skin to become itchy and inflamed.
Lien, T.Y. & Goldman, R.D. (2011). Breastfeeding and maternal diet in atopic dermatitis. Can Fam Physician. 57 (12): 1403-1405.
Author- Terry Wangechi- (Biochemist and Founder, DermiJoy Skincare)