Does your kid suffer from severe eczema? It sucks to watch your kid be so uncomfortable. Rest assured, you are not alone!
Eczema affects about 20% of children and 4% of adults. The good news from that statistic is that there is a chance that your child will grow out of it!!
Eczema flare ups can be caused by many different “triggers.” Every eczema patient has different triggers, such as food allergens, environmental allergens, stress, temperature changes, etc.
I first discovered my oldest daughter, JL’s, eczema when she was about 6 months old. I had just finished changing her diaper and stood her up on her changing table only to find that her skin had split behind her knees. I had never noticed any skin problems up until this point. Needless to say, I freaked out a little. I examined her knees, googled images of skin rashes, and scheduled a doctor’s appointment. Her doctor confirmed my suspicions. It was eczema, and it seemed to appear out of nowhere.
That was about 4 years ago, and we have learned a lot about eczema since then. We know what some of her triggers are, and how to avoid them (scented soaps, lotions, detergents, pet dander, temperature/season changes, seafood). She sees her dermatologist every 3 months (when the seasons change) to check in. Also, we keep a steroid cream around the house for those tricky patches that pop up from time to time.
We have adopted a daily skin regimen. When we stick with this regimen, we have control of her eczema (at least 95% of the time). It doesn’t require any special eczema soap or eczema lotion.
You don’t need to spend $200 on special oils. In fact, we firmly believe that less is more. The less you do to an eczema patient’s skin, the more control you will have over the eczema.
Bathe your child frequently.
Aim for at least 5 times a week. This may seem counter productive since you do not want to dry out your child’s skin. However, research shows that a daily bath is a key ingredient in controlling eczema. Be sure that the bath/shower water is lukewarm and that your child only spends 10-15 minutes in the tub.
Use a mild, moisturizing soap.
People with eczema have trouble maintaining moisture in their skin. Therefore, a good moisturizing regimen is crucial! The first step in moisturizing your child’s skin is the right soap. Be sure to use a mild, unscented soap like Dove. There are a lot of soaps that are marketed for eczema patients, but I have found that plain ole Dove is the best – hands down.
Give oatmeal baths.
When you are battling a flare up, plop your kid in an oatmeal bath. Again, there is no need for fancy oatmeal bath products labeled for eczema patients. The only things you need for a great oatmeal bath are pantyhose and oats. Yes, you heard me correctly – pantyhose. Cut one leg off of the pantyhose (save the other for another day) and put about 1 cup of dry oats in the leg of the pantyhose. Tie a knot at the top of the oatmeal to create an oatmeal bath ball. Now swirl the oatmeal ball in the lukewarm bath water. Give the ball a few squeezes to get all the oat juice out of the ball and into the water.
Avoid rubbing your child’s skin dry with a towel. Instead, pat the skin gently. You want to leave the skin a little bit damp before you moisturize.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Did I mention that you need to moisturize your child’s skin? Within 3 minutes of getting out of the tub, slather on plenty of moisturizer. I highly recommend Aquaphor. I don’t have eczema, so I can’t speak to this personally, but JL has some pretty wicked eczema and says that most eczema lotions hurt during a flare up. However, she has never complained about Aquaphor. It’s simple, and it does the trick. So, it get’s this mom’s stamp of approval!
Reconsider your choice of laundry detergent.
You would be surprised how much the right laundry detergent will help your child’s skin. Go with an unscented, free and clear detergent. I recommend All Free & Clear. This is now our family’s laundry detergent. We use it for JL’s clothes (because she is allergic to basically everything), and it also works well for washing AD’s cloth diapers.
Use a humidifier.
A humidifier is so important if you have cold winters! Every time we transition from fall into winter, I am reminded again how important JL’s humidifier is. We use this humidifier from Vicks. It’s a humidifier and a nightlight. That’s a win for mom and a win for JL. You can keep it running all day, but you should at least have it running in your child’s bedroom at night.
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Hi! Our names are Bri & Mike and we are the creators of Practically Parents. We have three awesome (and challenging) kids and love to share our parenting successes and failures with you.