Dermatologists claim Australia has one of the highest incidences of dermatitis in the world.

Dermatitis – also known as eczema –affects between 10 to 15 per cent of the Australian and population and one in three children suffer from eczema – also called dermatitis – with up to one in four children developing eczema before the age of two.

A complex disease, it affects the skin, causing itching, dry and cracked skin, hives, blotches, redness and can get easily infected with bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and viruses such as the cold sore virus.

“Australia has one of the highest incidences of eczema in the world, and it is only getting worse – 50 years ago only one in 10 Australian children suffered from eczema,” explains MooGoo CEO and allergenic skin care expert Craig Jones.

“Dermatitis can develop for a number of reasons, including climate, lifestyle, hygiene and genetics and can become easily infected, causing pain, inflammation and lack of sleep,” he explains.

“Our skin can become dry and in Summer, especially, there is a lot more pollen in the air, it’s the time of year for tropical fruit (which can be problematic), and children are really susceptible to heat rash – all things that can trigger eczema flareups.

“Some skincare and sunscreens, especially fragranced, can also cause skin to react.”

Eczema can take a huge toll on families, with research showing the impact of moderate and severe eczema on families is significantly higher than the impact of diabetes on families.

Mr Jones suggests these quick and easy tips parents can follow to help manage their children’s eczema:

  1. Take a probiotic. Babies and children have immature immune systems and taking a probiotic can help boost their ability to ward off infections.
  2. Observe diet. Allergic reactions to food can mean an eczema flareup, and in summer babies and infants are often trying new foods for the first time. Remember, some people have reactions when they ingest certain foods, but others have contact reactions to things like mango syrup. Keep a diary of the food your child is eating and their flareups to help track the triggers.
  3. Keep cool. Babies and children are very susceptible to heat rash caused by sweating and so tepid baths – or cool in winter – and using wet washcloths can be a big help. Unfortunately, heating and air conditioning does dry out the skin, so if it’s on, make sure to keep your child’s skin well moisturised.
  4. Patch test new products. Keeping your child’s skin moist is essential to prevent eczema flare-ups, and you are likely to try multiple products to find the best for your child. But, before you do, always do a patch test on their upper forearm or eyelids – these sensitive skin areas will react to any allergens if the product is not right for your child and you can avoid a full-blown allergic reaction.

Craig Jones’ top 10 tips and products for combatting eczema are:

  • Avoid harsh soaps, foaming agents, fragrances and preservatives in your skincare
  • Keep skin moist and apply fragrance free products straight after bathing
  • Check your washing detergent for sulphates and other skin irritants
  • Reduce the heat of your shower and bath, as it strips your natural oils from your skin and further irritates it
  • Reduce or avoid sugar and yeast and eat oily fish, vitamin A and E rich foods and omega-3 rich foods like flaxseeds and walnuts
  • Use a probiotic that contains the lactobacillus rhamnosus strain
  • Keep a food diary and note when flare ups occur
  • Consult with a healthcare professional to identify any environmental, dietary or other allergens that may be contributing to your skin problem