Allergic dermatitis in infants

Allergic dermatitis in infants is an allergic reaction in the form of skin rashes that occurs in response to an irritant. The people also call this disease “diathesis”, and in medicine there are other terms: “atopic dermatitis” or “childhood eczema”.

Do not think that dermatitis appears only in newborns. An allergic reaction can occur on any area of ​​the skin of a child at any age. First of all, it is necessary to identify the allergen and remove its effect on the baby.

Allergic dermatitis in infants is a common phenomenon. No wonder the pharmacological market has such a huge amount of antiallergenic drugs. Children with a hereditary predisposition are especially prone to an allergic reaction.


But why are babies so prone to allergic reactions? In newborns, the body is rebuilt. Perestroika affects many systems, including the immune system. Every day, the child’s body encounters various allergens, and due to the immaturity of the immune system, an incorrect immune response can form, resulting in an allergy.

There are three ways in which a stimulus (allergen) enters the body of a newborn:

  • together with food or drink, then we are talking about food allergies;
  • direct skin contact with an allergen, for example, a reaction to household chemicals, synthetics;
  • through inhalation of an irritant, for example, an allergy to dust, pollen, indoor flowers.

An allergen can be determined by the fact after which a skin reaction appeared.

Dermatitis in a newborn who appeared after eating food is called food. It is he who is most often found. All other varieties are classified as non-food.

Allergic dermatitis in newborns can occur due to digestive problems or overeating. It’s hard for the intestines to digest the entire volume of food. With a decrease in the load on the gastrointestinal tract, the symptoms are reduced.

The causes of dermatitis in infants caused by food are as follows:

  • artificial feeding;
  • violation of diet;
  • the introduction of allergenic foods;
  • early feeding.

New foods are introduced to the child gradually when the digestive system is strengthened.


The main symptoms of this disease, regardless of the age of the child, are as follows:

  • areas of redness of the skin;
  • pimple rash or red spots;
  • dryness and peeling of the skin;
  • severe itching;
  • insomnia and irritability;
  • digestion problems.

With constant contact with the allergen, all manifestations only intensify.

Manifestation in infants

Newborns are especially sensitive to allergens. Allergic dermatitis in infants has its own characteristics, it always manifests itself in the form of a rash or red spots on the face. Rashes are accompanied by severe itching and peeling. Without treatment, cracks appear on the skin.

In newborns prone to dermatitis, the following symptoms occur:

  • dry skin;
  • diaper rash in the perineum, elbow bends and buttocks;
  • “Milk crust” on the scalp.

Red spots can be seen not only on the cheeks, but also on the legs and arms, and with a strong reaction – on the stomach and back. They can be flaky and weeping. The most severe manifestation of allergic dermatitis is Quincke’s edema, which is characterized by swelling of the mucosa. In this case, allergic rhinitis or asthma develops.

Dermatitis in infants affects not only the skin, but also the digestive and respiratory organs.

The following symptoms appear:

  • profuse burping of food, which indicates digestive problems or overeating;
  • colic
  • bloating;
  • diarrhea or constipation, green feces;
  • cough;
  • shortness of breath, shortness of breath;
  • rhinitis or conjunctivitis.

In infants, the first signs of the disease appear after a change in nutrition, for example, with the introduction of complementary foods or during the transition to artificial feeding. Symptoms may not appear immediately, but within three days, when a sufficient amount of allergen accumulates in the body.

Allergens for the newborn are citrus fruits, eggs, fish, milk, red berries, vegetables and chocolate.

Skin rashes in infants caused by food do not always appear after “aggressive” foods, such as strawberries or raspberries. A rash on dairy products is increasingly common.

Forms of dermatitis in infants

This disease has several varieties, depending on the symptoms. There are diaper, atopic and seborrheic dermatitis.

Seborrheic form

Allergic seborrheic dermatitis manifests itself in the form of flaky yellow or brown crusts on the head of crumbs, which appear under the influence of yeast fungi. This form of the disease is easily treatable, and can itself go away several months after birth, even without drug therapy.

Sometimes seborrheic dermatitis manifests itself not only on the scalp, but also on the neck, face, chest and even in the auricles. There are three forms of the disease:

  • light when the scales are only on the head;
  • average, in which the symptoms are more pronounced;
  • severe, when, in addition to skin manifestations, the child has weakness, appetite and sleep worsen, an upset gastrointestinal tract appears.

Regardless of the severity of the symptoms, consult a doctor.

Diaper dermatitis

The disease is characterized by diaper rash and inflamed skin in the folds of the buttocks and perineum. The problem is quite common, as newborns have very delicate skin, it is easy to injure them with hard clothes.

Diaper dermatitis can be caused by non-compliance with infant hygiene. Urine and feces cause inflammation and irritation.

Atopic form

One of the most severe and common dermatitis among one-year-old children. The atopic form is chronic. The disease is characterized by seasonality, more often manifests itself in the autumn-spring period, in the summer all symptoms can disappear. It develops against the background of food allergies or with a hereditary predisposition.

In atopic form due to constant contact with the allergen, the upper layer of the epidermis is disturbed. The disease needs timely diagnosis.

Over the years, the child may develop the disease and the true food allergy will disappear, but in some children the atopic reaction is supplemented by new allergens. In addition to food, an adult child is allergic to dust, pollen, pet hair or other substances.

Which doctor should I go to?

If allergic dermatitis is not treated, it grows into atopic with age, and in severe cases, into eczema. Other allergic diseases, for example, allergic rhinitis or asthma, can join these ailments. At an early age, until the symptoms are too pronounced, the child should be shown to a dermatologist and an allergist (if an allergic reaction goes to food).

A specialist will help establish the cause and eliminate the effect of the allergen. It is impossible to make a diagnosis on your own. For example, seborrheic dermatitis can be confused with atopic.


Using an allergy test to identify what the baby is allergic to is impossible. This test shows the allergen only in children from 3 years.

Diagnosis of infants is to examine the child and draw up an anamnesis. For a complete picture, it is necessary to donate blood and feces to detect intestinal dysbiosis.

Diagnostic difficulties

Allergic dermatitis without treatment is gradually developing and gaining strength. At an early age, he may show himself weakly. Symptoms may disappear after short-term therapy and reappear, but the disease then progresses slowly.

If the newborn suffered from skin rashes, then by two years an allergic rhinitis already appears. It is difficult to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe adequate treatment, since the disease is symptomatically similar to a cold.

By 6-7 years, such a child is no longer allergic rhinitis, but bronchial asthma. All manifestations of the disease can subside only by the age of 30.

34% of infants with allergic dermatitis develop bronchial asthma.

Dermatitis treatment

Treatment of allergic dermatitis in newborns begins only after the detection of the allergen. Excluding its effect, the symptoms will begin to disappear.

Medicines are used only in two cases:

  • to eliminate symptoms;
  • if the effect of the allergen is not possible.

The treatment of different forms of allergic dermatitis varies.

Form of dermatitis Treatment
Seborrheic dermatitis Apply special shampoos, for example, Nizoral. A care product reduces inflammation and kills the fungus. After washing the hair, the scales are thoroughly combed out. With seborrheic dermatitis, olive, almond or baby oil is applied to the skin to soften the crusts. Then comb out the scales with a soft brush. Additionally, a drying cream, for example, Bioderma, is used. With severe itching, antifungal creams, for example, Clotrimazole, are attributed. If seborrhea does not go away, and the symptoms become worse, antibiotics are prescribed
Diaper dermatitis Treatment of the diaper form includes timely skin care for the baby. The skin of the baby should be given a break from the diapers. When taking a bath, moisturizers are added to the water. After bathing, Bepanten cream or ointments based on lanolin are applied to places of diaper rash
Atopic dermatitis The first step is to eliminate the effect of the allergen. With this form, the skin of the baby constantly needs care. How to treat atopy? Antihistamines are used orally. For skin care, emollients are attributed, which moisturize and relieve inflammation. Among the drugs, Aqualan L, Mustela, Topicrem, Bioderma and others can be distinguished.
Diet therapy

Diet as a way to treat allergic dermatitis in infants is effective only when dermatitis is caused by food. In this case, a proper diet is the only cure for the disease. Medicines will not help if you do not follow a diet.

If the newborn is on artificial nutrition, then it is transferred to hypoallergenic mixtures that do not contain cow’s milk protein.

When breastfeeding, a woman should abandon potential allergens such as:

  • cow’s milk;
  • eggs
  • fish;
  • sweets and chocolate;
  • red fruits, beets and tomatoes;
  • citrus;
  • strawberries, raspberries and other red berries.

Feeding a child with dermatitis is administered no earlier than 6 months and only during the period of subsiding of the main symptoms. New products are introduced gradually, not more than once every 2 weeks. So it will be possible to follow the reaction of the body and probably determine if there is an allergy to this product or not.

New food is given at the end of the main meal, starting with 1/3 tsp. and gradually increase the dosage.

Drug treatment

How to treat allergic dermatitis in infants?

Such tools are suitable:

  • antihistamines that reduce the effect of the immune system, reduce itching and inflammation (drops of Fenistil or Fenkarol)
  • enterosorbents for cleansing the body of an allergen (activated carbon, Smecta);
  • bacteria to restore intestinal microflora (prebiotics and probiotics);
  • immunomodulators;
  • enzyme preparations.

Initially, treatment begins with antihistamines and sorbents in order to clear the allergen. Immunomodulators and hormonal drugs are prescribed only when necessary.

External creams and ointments are used to eliminate symptoms:

  • emollients – the same as with atopic dermatitis;
  • hormonal drugs (Advantan, Afloderm, Fucicort and others);
  • anti-inflammatory dermatitis creams (Bepanten, Pantoderm, Sudokrem, Radevit, Elidel and others);
  • ointments from itching (Fenistil, Timogen) or antipruritic solutions (Dekasan);
  • antibiotics in the form of ointments and solutions are prescribed for infection of the skin or fungal infections (Miramistin, Futsidin).

Hormonal ointments are attributed only with pronounced symptoms, when antihistamines are not effective. The drugs are prescribed by the doctor, self-medication is prohibited.


Preventive measures will protect an allergic child from dermatitis.

The recommendations are as follows:

  • Breastfeed as long as possible.
  • Eliminate foods that may cause allergies from your diet.
  • Enter complementary foods before the due date.
  • When feeding a baby, adhere to the regimen, do not overfeed the baby.
  • For bathing babies, use only boiled water with the addition of moisturizers. After bathing, gently wipe the baby with a soft towel.
  • Dress your child only in clothes made from natural fabric, no synthetics.
  • Wash your items with baby soap or hypoallergenic powders.
  • Wet the house daily.

With age, the child can develop allergic dermatitis, but for this to happen, the disease cannot be allowed to become chronic. Timely treatment is the key to the health of the crumbs.

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