There is a puzzling small article in the April Parents magazine that cites a dermatologist at University of Oregon Medical School who says that daily baths can cause eczema in babies. That is statement is not supported by allergists, the National Eczema Association, or me. My experience in caring for hundreds of babies and children in my fifty years of practicing pediatrics is that babies and children love and need a daily bath. If a baby or child is going to later on develop asthma or hay fever, as 80% of children with eczema do, then parents need to be particularly careful about the soap they use for a child and avoid many of the commercial baby products. The National Eczema Association has a list of moisturizers they recommend for children with eczema that can be used after a bath. Letting the skin get very dry can increase eczema.
My own grandson had eczema as a baby and later developed asthma. Both grandfathers were allergic with skin problems and asthma. The allergic diathesis, as it is called, occurs in about 10% of the population and about 10% of babies and children deveop eczema. Children in families with many allergic individuals are at risk for eczema, hay fever, asthma and other allergic problems.
If allergies are a problem in a family, it is wise for parents to be careful about the introduction of specific foods. Eggs, fish, chocolate, cow's milk products, nuts, soy, and wheat are some of the worst offenders. Mothers, who are breast feeding, should be careful about the foods they eat if their family has lots of allergies.