We know that looking after a child with eczema can be tough. That’s why this week we’ve asked our team of skin experts for their tips on steps to incorporate into your child’s daily routine to help reduce irritation and flare ups.
Lock in Hydration
In healthy skin, a protective barrier prevents excess moisture from evaporating and repels irritants. In children with eczema this barrier has often been damaged, worsening the problems of dryness and itching, and increasing the potential for infection. It’s important to kick-start the day by setting your child’s skin up with a routine that helps to restore the skin’s natural barrier so that the skin can protect itself from the stresses of the day ahead.
One of the key ways to do this is to lock in hydration with a nourishing emollient. This means that, even if your child is using a corticosteroid cream prescribed by the doctor, it’s important to apply a moisturising lotion every morning.
Epaderm Cream is a light cream with a quick absorption: perfect to use before getting your child dressed for school. It contains glycerin, which helps bind water in the skin; as well as yellow soft paraffin and liquid paraffin, which are known to help prevent water evaporating from the skin surface.
Focus on the Face
Often children are affected by eczema on the face and cheeks, and so it’s especially important to remember to apply ointment to any affected areas, particularly now that the colder weather is setting in.
Consider applying a thicker ointment, such as Unguentum M Cream, which isn’t too greasy and is specifically formulated to form a layer of oil to help prevent evaporation of moisture from the skin.
Back from school
Give the Skin A Moisture Boost
School times can be tricky: not only are there irritants that might cause your child’s skin to flare up, but it can also be difficult to ensure their skin stays properly hydrated when you’re not with them. So once your child is back home, give their skin a boost of hydration with another round of moisturisation.
For mild cases of eczema, use a thin, vitamin-rich lotion such as Cuderm Lotion, which has a fast absorption time, minimising disruption to evening fun (which is, after all, probably your child’s primary concern!).
If your child has more severe cases of dry skin use a more intensive moisturiser such as Eucerin AtoControl Acute Care Cream that contains a powerhouse of ingredients, designed specifically to restore the skin’s natural protective barrier and reduce moisture loss; protect skin cells from UV-radiation; cleanse the skin of bacteria; and relieve itching.
Relieve the Itch
If your child has had a bad day at school with irritating, itchy skin, apply a soothing gel such as Kimovi Gel to the affected areas. This gel contains ingredients that are known to have anti-inflammatory properties that help to relieve itchy skin, as well as antibacterial agents that help the skin to clear infection-causing bacteria.
Cleanse the Day Away
Bedtimes don’t have to be boring! They can also become a time of fun new rituals to help your child find relief from irritated skin and get a better night’s sleep.
Start the evening routine with a shower or bath to remove dirt accumulated during the day and prepare the skin for thicker ointments. Consider adding a nourishing bath milk to bath times, such as E45 Junior Bath Milk, which is specifically designed to hydrate and soothe the skin, hold nourishing oils in, and help the skin protect itself from damage. It might seem counter-intuitive, but limit bathtimes to 10 minutes or less as longer exposure to warm water can dry out the skin by removing the skin’s natural oils.
Remember to steer clear of soaps, fragrances, parabens, colourants, or nut oils that can dry out the skin. Instead of using a soap product, it can actually be beneficial to use cleansing, oily emollients as a substitute, which will not only keep the skin clean, but actively help to lock in moisture levels. Epaderm 3-in-1 ointment is a perfect soap substitute for sensitive skin.
Prep The Skin For Regeneration
During the night your child’s skin will work hard to regenerate from the stresses of the day. It’s important to aid the skin’s natural process with a thick, oily moisturiser that will give the skin an intensive injection of moisture.
Ointments have the highest oil-content of all moisturising products available for eczema-prone skin, making them particularly effective at sealing in moisture. Because of their high oil-content, many people prefer to use them at night as they can leave the skin feeling quite greasy.
You might find it beneficial to use an ointment such as Hydromol, which is classed as an ‘occlusive’, which means it forms a ‘barrier’ layer of oil on the skin’s surface, preventing water loss through evaporation and effectively sealing moisture in. It is ideal for use as part of your child’s regular night-time routine, and can also be used under wet wraps.
Apply moisturiser at least 20 minutes before bedtime to allow it to soak in.
Relieve The Eczema Itch
Many children with eczema unconsciously scratch their itchy skin whilst they sleep. If you notice that your child is very affected by uncontrollable scratching, then it’s important to implement steps into their routine to minimise the risk of bleeding or infections.
Start by applying a soothing gel, such as Kimovi Gel, to particularly itchy areas of the skin. This gel contains ingredients that are known to have anti-inflammatory properties that help to relieve itchy skin, as well as antibacterial agents that help the skin to clear infection-causing bacteria.
When the skin is prepped and your child is ready for bed, try incorporating a pair of non-allergenic Eczema gloves into their nightwear. These can help to break the ‘itchy-scratch’ cycle and reduce the risk of overnight bleeding and infections.
Other Tips To Help Your Child Get A Good Night's Sleep
Children with eczema often find sleeping a problem, as their skin can get hotter and itchier at night. Keep their bedroom cool and use cotton sheets or a light, natural-fibre duvet.
Keep pets out of the bedroom, as dogs and cats can make eczema worse.