Whilst there may be no cure for eczema, good management can make the condition far less aggressive and far more tolerable. These tips could help you to help your little one…
Routine, Routine, Routine
It’s important to use a good emollient (moisturising ointment) to keep the skin supple, even when eczema has cleared up to help to stop it coming back. Try to establish a treatment routine that works for your family. Applying an emollient cream to the skin at least twice a day plays a vital role in keeping their skin hydrated and protecting it from irritants. By introducing a regular routine in the morning and before bed, this will become simple, straight forward and a part of every day family life.
‘Emollient Time’ is Fun Time!
As part of a chaotic morning, or in the evening when you’re desperate to finally sit down, applying emollient is probably the last thing that you or your little one will feel like doing. For even the most patient child, having a cream applied to their body twice a day can be a real chore. Try looking at it as special time in the day for you both – tell stories, sing songs, play I Spy…. Maybe make it a little easier by introducing a reward scheme, turning the routine into a positive experience!
Monitor Their Triggers
No one knows for certain what causes eczema, but it’s clear that for everyone the cause of a ‘flare up’ can differ. Start to look for patterns in your child’s symptoms, does their skin get worse after eating a certain food? Try keeping a ‘Skin Diary’ that you can use to help you stay on track.
Watch out for eczema hotspots
There can be lots of eczema and allergy triggers within the home so it’s important to keep your child’s bedroom as allergy friendly as possible. Make sure when washing their bedding and clothing that you avoid fabric conditioners and use a double residue rinse cycle to remove any washing powder residue.
Keep it mild
Avoid soaps and detergents close to the skin as these can make the skin drier and itchier. Creams or soap substitutes containing a chemical called sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) should be avoided, as this may also be harmful to the skin. Use extra mild clothes detergents. Choose cotton fabrics instead of synthetics or wool.
Try to avoid very hot baths and showers as the heat can flush the skin and make it itchier. Instead bath or shower using a soap substitute, bath or shower emollient. This will cleanse the skin without stripping the skin of its important oils.
Apply with care
Always put the cream onto the skin in quick downwards strokes. This stops the creams from getting into the skin’s pores and leading to spots. Use emollients (moisturising creams) often. Even as much as 4 times per day. Once you’re in a routine, it only takes a few moments to quickly cover your skin with a calming cream.
A cuddle goes a long way
Living with eczema can lead to feelings of anxiety, shame and frustration which ultimately can make the condition a lot worse. Loss of self esteem experienced by individuals suffering with eczema can lead to deterioration in the skin condition itself, leading to further lack of confidence, feelings of isolation and in extreme cases depression. If a child is affected try to find time to cuddle the child and make bath time enjoyable specially making the application of the emollient more like a massage.
Try not to worry!
Often, one of the main concerns for parents is that their child will struggle with eczema-prone skin as adults and for the rest of their lives. But don’t worry, it is thought that around two thirds of children will grow out of their skin condition as they move into adulthood.