Eczema is a condition that causes skin to become dry, red and itchy. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis. It is prevalent among infants and children, although it can occur in adults as well. While there is no cure for eczema, it can be managed with proper care and treatment.
Parents of young children with eczema may want to consider the following tips.
Moisturize Daily to Get a Handle on Eczema
Both mild and extreme cases of eczema can benefit from use of a good over-the-counter moisturizer. By applying a moisturizer to their child’s skin twice a day, parents can help prevent dryness caused by eczema. The inner creases of the elbows, the inner creases of the knees and the hands are the areas most commonly affected by eczema. Therefore they may need more moisture than the rest of the body.
The best time to moisturize is immediately following a bath, when skin is damp. This is also a good time to trim a young child’s fingernails, as they will be soft and easier to cut. It is important to keep a baby or toddler’s nails short because when they scratch, a rash is likely to develop.
Scented Products Can Cause Eczema Flare-ups
Scented detergents, soaps and shampoos can irritate sensitive skin. Children with eczema should not come into contact with such products. Wash a child’s bedding, clothes, washcloths and towels with a laundry detergent that is fragrance and dye-free. If possible, run everything through a second rinse. Dryer sheets contain irritants and should never be used if a child has skin problems. Mild soaps and shampoos that are scent-free are best for use on sensitive skin.
Bath Time and Dry Skin
Frequent or lengthy baths tend to rob an eczema sufferer’s skin of much needed moisture. Parents may want to consider limiting their child’s number of baths to perhaps two or three a week. Bathwater should be lukewarm, not hot, in order to prevent dry skin. Parents of infants with eczema can get by with giving their little one a quick sponge bath a couple of times a week. Gently pat skin dry as opposed to rubbing it dry.
Clothing Eczema Sufferers Should Avoid
Children with eczema should not wear materials such as wool or fleece. Wool can cause skin to become irritated and itchy. Fleece clothing can cause the skin to sweat, thereby aggravating the eczema. Tight-fitting clothes should also be avoided, as they can rub against the skin. Clothes made from cotton are the best choice for eczema sufferers; the light material allows skin to breathe.
Consult a Medical Professional
Parents of children who have skin problems should always visit a doctor for a proper diagnosis. A certified health professional such as a physician or dermatologist will prescribe appropriate medications (such as steroid creams) and recommend helpful ways to combat eczema in young children.
By employing proper skin care techniques, following advice from a health professional and exercising patience, parents may soon find their child’s eczema can be managed effectively.