Challenge the stereotypes
Written in partnership with Dr. Clarence De BELILOVSKY, dermatologist; member of the Mustela experts circle.
• I avoid giving topical dermo-corticoids to my baby. Because they contain cortisone, topical steroids are often controversial. There is no precise reason though. What you need to know is that they don’t have any side effects unlike the corticoids you take by mouth. Applied on the skin in case of flare-ups, once a day and locally on the rashes, topical steroids are safe for newborns as well as for children and teenagers. They are particularly efficient in treating inflammations quickly. For treatments with topical steroids in parallel to your emollient skincare products, be sure to follow your physician’s advice to make rashes and the itching disappear. They may also help your baby fall asleep more easily and have a better quality of life.
• The milk I give my baby can have a consequence on his skin. In case of doubt, don’t hesitate to consult your physician. He will prescribe the necessary tests to reveal a potential food allergy and identify the things that your baby should avoid eating or drinking. Contrary to widespread belief, cow’s milk – and more specifically the proteins it contains – is not necessarily the one to blame. Nowadays, the best treatment we know to prevent and cure extremely dry skin remains the daily emollient skincare products and the topical steroids to apply on red patches in case of flare-ups prescribed by your physician (see how can you prevent its appearance?).
• My child’s atopic-prone skin will develop into asthma. This confusion is often due to the fact that, around the age of two, asthma can appear at a time when atopic-prone skin tends to abate. But there is still no link. If your baby has atopic-prone skin, it is because they have atopic sensitivity. It means that their immune system overreacts in the presence of allergens. This can also result in conjunctivitis, hay fever and asthma which are other possible manifestations in addition to eczema. Your baby can be subject to one or more manifestations without a direct link between them, depending on sensitivity.
• I can’t take my child to the sea or to the swimming pool if they have atopic-prone skin. On the contrary. Swimming is an ideal activity since it makes you sweat less and minimizes the risks of itching. For a perfectly relaxing time, there are a few steps to take including applying some baby/child specific products: Stelatopia emollient balm or a fragrance-free very high protection sun spray, suitable for atopic-prone skin and with a high SPF if your child is exposed. Your child can then fully enjoy the waves.
• I avoid taking my child to the nursery or to school when they have a flare-up. There is no reason for this. Extremely dry skin is not contagious so your child doesn’t have to stay home. You should just inform the staff who take care of your child (see how can you talk about it at the nursery?). They can pay particular attention to them, understand their grumpy moods, and so on. In any case, if you prefer, nothing stops you from keeping your child home for special cuddles.
• Rashes, itching, skin sensitivity… Does this mean no pets? Why not? You certainly have to avoid any contact with allergens so as not to trigger your child’s immune system. Hairs and feathers are part of those allergens. However, an allergic reaction is not a foregone conclusion. If you already had a cat, a dog or a hamster before your child’s birth, this early contact with the pet may have immunized them. The best thing to do is consult your physician to run tests. If unfortunately the allergy is confirmed, you will need to take some precautions like banning the pet from certain rooms or from the couch. If you don’t have any pets but your child always wanted one, you can always get an aquarium!
• Extremely dry skin is just about stress. Extremely dry skin is primarily an allergic manifestation, often hereditary. However, it can be stressful: random flare-ups, itching, fatigue, and so on. Not only for the child, but also for the parents or relatives who can sometimes feel helpless. This stress can be an aggravating element. Cuddles or explaining to child what extremely dry skin is can make this easier.