Things to Do; Things to Avoid
Avoid perfumes, colorings and preservatives
Take care in what products you apply to your child’s skin.
Your child’s skin is sensitive and needs to protected from harmful additives
that may cause irritation. Generally speaking products containing perfumes,
colorings and preservatives will be more likely to irritate the skin and
trigger an eczema flare up.
Normal soaps are very drying and damaging to sensitive skin.
A young child who has no signs of actual dirt on their skin will often only
need to be washed with water. However if a cleaner is required choose a
non-soap product that has been designed for sensitive skin.
Talk to your child
Having eczema can often make a child feel outcast from other
children, especially as they get older. Talking to your child, explaining their
condition to them and encouraging them to take an active part in the care of
their skin will often help them to cope with their eczema and feel more
comfortable being around other children.
When your child starts school it is also advisable to
discuss the condition with your child’s teacher. Chances are the teacher will
already be familiar with eczema and will be only too happy to help with your
child’s care at school and to discuss the condition with the other children.
Eczema is often triggered by different foods. When
introducing new foods to young children it is always advisable to go slowly and
monitor the skin as you go to ensure that a new food introduced to the diet
does not trigger the eczema.
When older a food diary is often helpful to identify foods
that are already in the diet that may be causing a problem. A food that
triggers eczema in a young child will not always be a problem forever. It is
worth trying the food again several months later to see if the sensitivity is
Sometimes it is necessary to add supplements to your child’s
diet to help control their symptoms. The most common supplement to be used is
an omega 3 supplement that will help to reduce the inflammation as well as the
itching and redness.
It’s all Trial-and-Error
First and foremost when treating a child with eczema you
should moisturise the skin. Children with eczema always have very dry skin and
applying a moisturizer daily or more often will help to control the symptoms
and reduce the risk of the skin becoming cracked and an infection developing.
Add bath oil to the bath
The skin can be moisturized by adding a bath oil to the bath
water or applying a moisturizing emollient directly to the skin immediately
after bathing and during the day.
In conjunction with moisturizers a specially formulated
cream designed to control the symptoms of eczema should be used. There are many
such creams available ranging from the traditional steroid creams to the new
prescription non-steroid creams and the natural creams.
Most natural creams can be bought over the counter and used
for as long as the eczema is present. Unlike the steroid and prescription
non-steroid creams, which are designed for short-term use only.
Take the Time to Experiment
Due to the individual nature of child eczema creams to treat
the condition will have a varying effect on each individual. What works well
for one person may be of no benefit to another. This means several creams may
need to be tried before a suitable one is found for a particular individual.
The only way to completely control a child’s eczema symptoms
is to identify and remove all triggers. Unfortunately, this is not always
possible however identifying and removing as many triggers as possible will
significantly reduce the symptoms and make the overall condition easier to
Eczema Affects Everyone Differently
Some people are born with an inherited tendency to develop eczema.
Normally harmless substances in the environment will trigger an outbreak of
eczema in people born with this tendency.
When eczema will first be triggered and how severely substances
will affect the skin is difficult to say as everyone born with this tendency is
different and reacts differently.
This can make identifying triggers and controlling symptoms
difficult. A process of elimination is usually needed to establish individual
triggers. This can be a long and drawn out process.
Although all people react differently and different substances
will affect each individual differently there are some common substances that
are most prone to triggering an eczema flare-up:
- Dust mite
- Animal dander
- Environmental and seasonal
- Some foods (especially egg, cows
milk, shell fish, peanuts, wheat, nuts, rice, codfish, food additives and
- Alcohol and coffee.