iStock/peopleimagesEveryone suffers with dry skin at various points during their lifetime, especially in winter, but over 30 million Americans have some form of eczema, a group of conditions that cause the skin to become irritated, dry, rough, scaly and (almost always) very itchy. While this number may sound high, it’s actually only 1 to 3 percent of all adults. The skin condition is even more prevalent among youngsters, affecting up to 20 percent of infants and children. Now scientists are saying that a very inexpensive drugstore treatment may help prevent the condition from developing in the first place.
Two studies, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, have found that rubbing petroleum jelly on a baby every day for the first six months of life can greatly reduce the infant’s chances of developing eczema later on. Based on the trial results, the researchers theorize that moisturizing infants daily with petroleum seals their skin against inflammation triggers. These findings could be monumental, considering the fact that petroleum jelly is easy to get your hands on at local drug and grocery stores, is a breeze to apply, and costs virtually nothing by preventative medicine standards.
Many infants get eczema not only on their faces, particularly their chin and cheeks, but also oozing, itching, and flaking along the rest of their body, including their hands, face, back of the knees, feet, and other areas (it may itch before a rash appears). Their rashes can be bright red and bumpy, appearing as if they’ve had a severe allergic reaction, when really it’s just irritated skin resulting from eczema. And while most children will outgrow baby eczema by their 10th birthday, some will continue to have the symptoms for the rest of their lives. If you have the ability to prevent your baby’s discomfort and pain, talk to your doctor about giving daily petroleum jelly a shot.
In the meantime, if eczema is a problem for you, check out these other home remedies for eczema and psoriasis relief.