Dry skin can lead to flare-ups. Apply lotion, cream, or ointment to your child's skin. It’s especially important right after a bath and during cold months, when you’ve got the heat on.
Don’t: Use Just Any Lotion
The “oilier” a moisturizer, the better it can hold water inside your child’s skin. Stick with an ointment or cream with a high oil content, and layer it on thick.
Do: Skip the Scents
Steer clear of lotions, soaps, or detergents with fragrance. Mild, dye-free, unscented products are less likely to trigger a reaction in your child’s skin.
Don’t: Let Them Scratch
Eczema itches, and little hands have a hard time leaving it alone. But messing with it makes it worse, and can even lead to infection. Teach your child not to scratch their skin. Keep their nails trimmed short in case they forget.
Do: Dress for Success
Itchy clothes can scratch and irritate your child’s skin. Soft, breathable fabrics like 100% cotton are best.
Don’t: Let Them Overheat
Hot, sweaty skin is ripe for an eczema outbreak. Avoid hot baths or showers. Keep them from too much activity when flare-ups are bad. Make sure they’re cool enough when they sleep, too.
Do: Avoid Allergens
More than 35% of kids with eczema also have a food allergy. Be sure you know what might be kicking your child’s eczema into high gear. Dust, pollen, or pet dander could also be culprits.
Don’t: Ignore Infection
Skin with eczema is at risk for bacteria or viruses. Keep an eye out for signs of infection, so you can treat them quickly. These can include:
Bumps filled with pus
Crusted spots that look different than the rest of your child’s eczema
Do: Bathe Them Better
Never give your child a hot bath. Instead, keep tub water lukewarm. Other things that can also help soothe and heal include:
Bleach (as long as it is used for appropriate situations and in the correct doses, approximately half a cup to a full tub of water)
Don’t: Use Hand Sanitizers
Waterless, antibacterial cleansers are hard on skin. Always wash your child’s hands with water. Keep it cool, pat dry (instead of rubbing), and moisturize right after you’re done.
Do: Try Steroid Cream
Sometimes your child’s eczema needs more than just a bath and moisturizing to stay under control. Ointments called topical corticosteroids can help. Your doctor can help you find the right one and tell you how to safely put it on.
Don’t: Do It All Yourself
Once your child is old enough, help them learn smart skin habits so they can take an active part in keeping flare-ups away. Even very young kids can be taught basic tips like to not scratch.
Do: Ease Their Stress
When kids are under pressure, their skin shows it. Help them avoid stressors. Also be sure they’re getting what they need to cope with their daily life. Things like:
Relaxation things like deep breathing can help, too.
Being around smoke is bad for kids (and adults) in general. It’s also an eczema trigger. Be sure your child isn’t exposed to secondhand smoke.
Do: Push Water
Creams can only do so much. To make sure skin doesn’t dry out, you also have to hydrate from the inside. Make sure your child drinks 6-8 glasses of water every day. That'll give their skin some much-needed moisture.
IMAGES PROVIDED BY:
National Eczema Organization: “Child Eczema,” “Infants and Toddlers,” “Bathing.”
American Academy of Pediatrics: “Eczema: How to Help Your Child Avoid the Itch.”
American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology: “Eczema in Children.”
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Water: How Much Do Kids Need?”
Kid’s Health: “Eczema.”
American Academy of Dermatology Association: "Atopic Dematitis: Bleach Bath Therapy"
The Mayo Clinic: "Eczema bleach bath: Can it improve my symptoms?"