Mommy Tips For Childhood Eczema
Being a parent of a child with eczema can prove difficult at times. Mommy instincts kick in and you want to do anything within your power to help make the boo boo better. There are several things that you can do to help alleviate the pain, prevent infection and comfort that itch. Let’s take a further look below:
Moisturize With Care
The best defense against childhood eczema flare ups, is a proper moisturizing routine. Because eczematous skin is already more prone to allergic reactions and sensitivity, it is important that you find moisturizers that are truly, 100% hypoallergenic. There are no regulations around the use of the term, “hypoallergenic” so become aware of contact allergens and skin irritants.
Moisturize with heavier creams and ointments, especially on dry, cracked eczema patches. For an overnight treatment, apply the ointment and wrap it with a small piece of saran wrap. Cut up a white, cotton sock and secure the plastic wrap and ointment with the sock in areas such as the knees or elbows. Use products that focus on skin barrier optimization (SBO). Ceramides (ceramide 3 especially), cholesterol esters and long chain fatty acids, are key ingredients for repairing the skin’s barrier and maintaining optimal skin health.
It is nearly impossible to prevent your child from scratching at the itch associated with eczema. The biggest risk scratching the rash poses, is the possibility of infection. Roughly 90% of eczema sufferers are colonized with Staphylococcus aureus on their skin and in their nasal cavities. It is important to keep your munchkin’s fingers out of their noses! In addition, trim your child’s nails very short. That way in the case of them scratching while you are not looking or during the night, while asleep, they are less likely to break the skin, leaving it open for infection.
Watch Topical Interactions
What do I mean by that? Simple. Be mindful of anything that comes into contact with your child’s skin. This includes skin care products, soaps, shampoos, clothing and laundry detergents. Always opt for a free and clear detergent alternative to traditional laundry soaps. Fragrance is the third biggest contact allergen to eczematous skin, so always use products that have a label that reads, “Fragrance Free.” Even products that claim to be unscented, often still contain fragrances within the ingredients to mask chemical smells. So really read the labels mom!
Choose clothing that is loose fitting and made from non-irritating fabrics, including: cotton, silk, rayon and linen. Avoid fabrics that might aggravate and irritate your child’s condition, such as wool. Some products to avoid completely, include: dryer sheets, fabric softeners and bubble baths.
Keep a list (I recommend a note in your smartphone) of contact allergens so that you know what to avoid in skin care products. Some common allergens, include: sulfates, PEGs, acrylates, beeswax, parabens, formaldehyde releasing preservatives, methylchloroisothiazolinone/MCI/MI, oatmeal (gluten component), lanolin alcohol, peanuts and soy.
If you are unable to get your child’s eczema flares under control, make an appointment with a licensed dermatologist immediately. They can assist you in finding a proper eczema treatment plan for your love bug!
Dr. Cheryl Lee Eberting is a board certified dermatologist who has dedicated her career to research and treatment of skin ailments. She writes regularly on her Sensitive Skin Care blog.