The Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Pictures, Cure and Treatment of Nla in Babies, Ela Yoruba skin disease.

Nla in Igbo or Ela in yoruba is simply an ugly eczema (skin infection) found commonly in the skin folds (like the neck, buttocks, and joints) of children especially infants. Nla us a major source of worry to mums and can make the child irritable, sleep poorly, and develop fever. Nla distorts the smooth feel, texture and beauty of a child’s skin. Nla has been muted to also be a fungal infection but this is not true.

There are many kinds of eczema. And nla in babies looks different from that of older kids and adults. It is located on different parts of the body at different ages.

It is the most common rash I see in my consulting room. I see it every single day. I see it in children of both genders and all ages and races, and during all seasons of the year.

Causes of Nla in Babies

Unhygienic parents and poor hygiene has been suggested as the cause of eczema (nla or ela) in babies by some medical experts but this not truly the reason. The developoment of Nla in kids and even in aduts have been found to be largely genetic. Atopic families (this is an important word: ATOPIC means your family is prone to eczema, allergies, and asthma – your body is sensitive in general; kinda think of it as an “over-reactive” immune system) are more prone to have kids with eczema.

Eczema has a flare nature to it. It comes and goes. It can be affected by the things you put on the skin of your child, weather, foods, clothing, detergents, or it may appear FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER.

A large, fascinating study in 2011 introduced the “hygiene hypothesis” to us – children who are in daycare, live near farm animals, have dogs as pets – are LESS prone to get eczema! This disproves the theory that poor hygiene causes nla. This however dies not mean your baby you be left unkempt and uncared for.

Many children with ela (nla) are sensitive to certain foods. Meaning, their eczema gets worse if they eat certain things. However, many kids with eczema have zero problems with foods.

What kind if water are you using to bathe your child? A few studies suggest that “hard water”, which is water with high levels of calcium carbonate in it, can make kids more prone to eczema. However we aren’t positive, and more studies are needed.

Changing your diet in pregnancy (either eating a lot of a certain food or avoiding it) is not likely to prevent eczema in your child.

How common is Nla?

It is more common in children than adults. 11-15% of children in Nigeria have eczema. 7% of adults have it. 60% of kids with eczema will get it in their first year. 85% will get it by age 5. This is epidemiological studies.

Why do some kids get eczema and some don’t?

The answer is: genetics. Some kids are born with problems in the genes of the skin, or problems in the genes of the immune system.

Signs and Symptoms of Nla (eczema)

💥are mainly dry, itchy skin. Because it is so itchy, it is often called “the itch that rashes.”
💥include redness, scales, and bumps that can leak fluid and then crust over
💥tend to come and go. When they get worse, it is called a flare-up.
💥may be more noticeable at night

💥Infants younger than 1 year old usually have the eczema rash on their cheeks, forehead, or scalp. It may spread to the knees, elbows, and trunk (but not usually the diaper area).

Some Pictures of Nla in babies and older children

Nla in Babies
Nla skin irritation on the neck folds of a babies neck.

Here is another picture showing nla at the back of the knee of a child. Skins looks really irritated and thickened probably from excessive scratching👇

Ela Yoruba skin disease
Nla (ela) at the back of the knee of a child. This is eczema in English

Cure or Treatment of Nla

I advise all mothers, not to be worried, nla in babies is not really curable but the symptoms can be well managed to the extent that it may not recur again even later in the child’s adult life. Here are some treatment options that have been found to be helpful in the “cure” of eela:

1. If the nla is on the folds of the buttocks, change baby’s diaper regularly and sometimes expose the buttocks to air and apply shea butter. It helps.

2. Skin should be moisturized often (ideally, two or three times a day). The best time to apply moisturizer is after a bath or shower, with the skin patted dry gently. Ointments (such as petroleum jelly) and creams are best because they contain a lot of oil.

3. Topical steriods: Another medical-seeming treatment is the use of hydrocortisone-containing creams like Funbact A, Visita plus, , Skineal etc. However, do not abuse steriods as these creams can mess up your babies skin. Get the prescription from your paediatrician. Tribotan has not been found to be helpful in the treatment of nla according to testimonies from mothers i have interacted with.

4. Lotions contain too much water to be helpful in the treatment of nla in babies.

5. Kindly give your baby one or two diaper-free hours daily and apply a coat of petroleum jelly (vaseline) round the baby’s buttocks when putting a diaper or nappy on your baby. This ensures the urine doesn’t cling to the baby’s skin thereby causing or aggravating the skin irritation. And whenever your baby poos, change the diaper or nappy. Do not leave poo on your baby for long. Mums using cloth nappies should change wet or soiled nappies more frequently than those using diapers.

6. For kids with thickly folded neck, nla is even worse when the baby drools saliva. Please always keep the neck dry and apply dusting powder or vaseline to reduce the clears the infection. It clears around 4 months when your baby may have started raising his/her head up and sitting.

7. Loratidine syrup will help relief the itching.

8. Keep your child’s fingernails short to prevent skin damage from scratching.

9. bleach baths: bathing in very diluted bleach solution will help relief itching and soothe the skin. Do not try this at home if you cannot properly dilute the bleach.

10. Get rid of known allergens in your household and help your child avoid others, like pollen, mold, and tobacco smoke.




2. Informed mum

3. Dr. Diane



  1. Thanks for the teaching. It’s really helpful. People told me that it is caused by taking tea and milk or eating anything made of sugar. But now I know better.

  2. Thanks for the teaching.My 8 months baby boy has been suffering from nla since I gave birth to him.It makes him to have hard stool and rashes.I have tried several treatments but up to no avail.pleaae help me I am tired of this nla

  3. Comment: Good morning sir,pls I want you to help out on my skin,I have itching on my body and whenever am itching my body it will be as if someone beat,my body will bring out mark of beating.I av use different drugs but not working pls what can I use sir.Thanks

  4. At least am now relieved.Bcause I was told it eats up the babies intestine and can cause death.It comes and goes.
    I pity my baby as she cries from the irritation
    Thanks doc


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