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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Health answers: Why do babies often get eczema?

Q. Why do babies often get eczema?

A. Eczema — a chronic case of itchy, red, swollen, dry, or broken skin — is a common problem in infants and in young children. “Babies often get eczema because their skin barrier is still forming over the first year,” says Lynda Schneider, director of the allergy program at Boston Children’s Hospital. Their skin is thinner and has a different mix of protein, fat, and water than mature skin. It absorbs and loses water quickly, she says, and “the water loss can result in a defect in the skin barrier.”

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