We found no evidence that exclusive breastfeeding for four months or longer protects against eczema.
Breastfeeding a baby for at least four months does not appear to reduce the chances of the baby eventually developing eczema, European researchers have found.
This is disappointing news, as earlier research had suggested that breastfeeding might help provide children with some protection against this uncomfortable and often painful skin disease.
The study, which was published in the British Journal of Dermatology, analyzed data from an international asthma and allergy study that involved more than 51,000 children worldwide. The data included information on how long each child was breastfed (if at all), when they were weaned, and whether or not they had allergies. The children had also been examined for eczema.
“We found no evidence that exclusive breastfeeding for four months or longer protects against eczema,” the study’s authors concluded.
But, they added, this doesn’t mean babies shouldn’t be breastfed. As many studies have shown, breastfeeding provides infants with significant nutritional and other health advantages. Eczema-free skin just doesn’t appear to be one of them.
One of the best things you can do for your skin is get a good night’s sleep.
Lack of sleep, research suggests, can lead not only to a dull complexion and dark circles under the eyes, but also to more pronounced fine lines. Staying up too late or tossing and turning all night can also trigger acne or eczema flare-ups.
Why? Scientists believe that sleep, especially deep sleep, is needed to restore and repair cells, including those in our skin. And not getting enough sleep can suppress our immune system, leaving our skin vulnerable to rashes and other problems. How much sleep you need depends on your individual genetic makeup, but most people require seven to eight hours each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).
Beauty Sleep Tips
Not getting that many zzzz’s? Here are some of the NSF’s tips:
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule—including on weekends. In other words, go to sleep and wake up at about the same time every day.
- Set up a soothing bedtime routine for yourself, such as soaking in a hot tub, reading a book, or listening to relaxing music.
- Make sure the environment in which you sleep is dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool.
- Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable and supportive.
- Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. Empty it of televisions, computers, and other devices or materials that might interfere with your sleep routine.
- Don’t eat within two to three hours of your bedtime. Restrict fluids as much as possible, too, to avoid awakening to go to the bathroom.
- Exercise regularly—but not right before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine—in chocolate and soft drinks as well as in coffee or tea—within six to eight hours of your bedtime.
- Avoid nicotine, which is a stimulant, before bedtime. Better yet—quit your nicotine habit. Smoking has devastating effects on health, including on skin health.
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol is a sleep disruptor and not a sedative.