4 simple tips to control your child’s eczema

Skin Care

by Darshan Patel, MD

Jun 13, 2022

If your child has eczema, you know the key to managing it is preventing a flare-up. Eczema can be painful and as a parent, you never want to see your child uncomfortable. Here are a few tips from a pediatrician to help you manage their eczema for happier, healthier skin.

Preventing an eczema flare-up

Eczema, medically known as atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition that can be seen in children and adults of all ages. In general, it presents as a rash that is:

  • Pink or red
  • Dry
  • Itchy
  • Usually found on the face, inner elbows, knees, hands and feet

The cause of eczema is not well known, but it’s believed that genetic and environmental factors play a role. As such, it can be commonly seen in children who also have asthma or seasonal allergies.

Fortunately, there are treatments and precautions that can be followed to help get rid of the rash and prevent it from coming back—that’s what we call a “flare-up.” Let’s discuss a few of the most helpful options and strategies you can use to help manage your child’s eczema.

1. Moisturize effectively

The first key to managing eczema in your child is moisturizing. Moisture is key to attacking the dryness of the rash. When picking a moisturizer, make sure to choose one that is non-scented and thick. Non-scented is key to making sure that no extra fragrances cause the eczema to become worse rather than better.

Ask your child’s dermatologist or doctor for recommendations on specific brands or products. It is recommended to try one brand at a time. If the brand works, keep using it. If not, feel free to switch to another brand until you are able to find one that works for your child.

2. Avoid scented soaps and detergents

Make sure to avoid scented soaps and detergents. The great thing about these soaps is that they have moisturizers in them as well. If you want even more moisture, make sure to get the bar soap over the liquid soap.

It also helps to keep baths short. All your child needs is a 5-10 minute bath or shower.

3. Use medications when necessary

If your child’s eczema does not respond to these treatments or flares up and worsens, then may be a good time to talk to a doctor about medications. Some of the medicines that doctors can give to help include steroid creams and/or ointments.

Generally, ointments are better than creams because they tend to be better absorbed. These ointments or creams can be used twice a day for a few weeks for flare-ups. There are tons of options to choose from, so it’s best to talk to your child’s doctor about what is best for their unique needs.

4. Watch for infections

Because eczema is dry and itchy, it can cause kids to pick at the skin. This can put them at risk of an infection because of a break in the skin. If the rash begins to appear different than normal, go to a doctor to have it evaluated.

A topical or oral antibiotic may be needed if there is an infection. Given that itching is common, there are also medications that can be given to help with itching. Make sure to talk to your doctor about these medications again to know if they are the right fit for your child.

The good news is, eczema can be managed with an effective and consistent skincare regimen, and with continued support from your doctor.

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