Eczema in children: 7 tips to stop the itch

Eczema in children
Eczema in children

Eczema in children: 7 tips to stop the itch

Dr Colin Holden, consultant dermatologist, has these tips for parents of babies and small children with eczema.

Get an eczema diagnosis

If you think your baby or child has eczema, see your GP to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. If necessary, your child may be referred to a dermatologist.

Don’t try to treat eczema by yourself. Each case can need different treatment, which usually involves a combination of moisturisers (emollients) and steroid creams and ointments.

If their skin becomes red and starts to seep liquid, it may be infected, in which case see your GP immediately for antibiotics.

Give your child a bedtime routine

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.

Apply moisturiser at least 20 minutes before bedtime to allow it to soak in. Keep pets out of the bedroom, as dogs and cats can make eczema worse.

Your GP or pharmacist may be able to recommend a suitable sedative antihistamine that may help your child sleep during a particularly bad flare-up of symptoms.

Avoid harsh soaps, shampoos and bath oils

Soap and bubble bath can make eczema far worse, as can washing your child too often.

Bathe your baby in warm - not hot - water, and stick to fragrance-free soaps, shampoo and bath oil. Your pharmacist or GP can advise you on what products to buy.

Use lots of moisturiser

Dry skin is more likely to flare up or become infected with a bacteria or virus. Use moisturising creams on your child as directed by your GP to make sure the skin affected by eczema is kept as soft and moist as possible. Avoiding harsh soaps that dry out the skin will also help.

Read more about moisturisers and how to use them on a child with eczema.

Help your child to stop scratching

One of the biggest problems with childhood eczema is the urge to scratch the itchy skin, which may then bleed or become infected.

See if your child scratches at certain times of the day, for example while watching TV, and try to teach them to do something else instead, such as tightly holding their arm.

Praise them for not scratching, or even use a star chart. Keep their nails short.

Cotton bandages, vests and/or leggings can help keep the cream in the skin and help prevent your child from scratching.

Check your child's diet

Eczema usually starts when a baby is around six months old. In about 10% of cases it is triggered by foods, including milk, eggs, citrus fruit, chocolate, peanuts and colourings.

If you suspect a food is causing your child's eczema, it's important to seek advice from your GP before you cut out the food to make sure your child still gets a balanced diet.

Read more about food allergy and intolerance.

Keep your child cool

Heat can make the skin itch more, so after your child has been running around or playing sports try to keep them as cool as possible in loose clothing.

If they've been swimming, rinse off any chlorine from the pool, as this can irritate the skin.

Natural Remedies for Dry Skin

Natural Remedies for Dry Skin
Natural Remedies for Dry Skin

Is your skin dry, itchy, tight and generally uncomfortable? Have you tried every possible over the counter and cosmetic product with no success? The good news is that there is help. There are a number of natural treatments out there that can help. Whether looking for an anti aging cream or a remedy for dry skin, you can find a number of natural remedies.

  1. Coconut Oil

Organic coconut oil is completely safe and effective and can be used on all kinds of dry skin. This includes dry skin due to pregnancy, seasonal weather or ageing. Make sure that you only pick up the organic and virgin coconut oil from the food store, as any other form may have some other ingredients blended to cause further skin irritation.

  1. Grape Seed Oil

Grape seed oil has antioxidants to naturally fight against the dryness of your skin. It also has anti scarring and anti aging properties. Grape seed oil can be directly applied over the whole body or face. This should be done after your shower for optimum results.

  1. Aloe Vera

You might have come across many cosmetic and skin care products containing Aloe Vera as an essential ingredient. But did you know that Aloe Vera is best effective when applied directly from the green plant? It is inexpensive and you can keep a live plant at your home and detach a small portion of the leaf to apply the directly over the face or body to fight dryness.

  1. Emu Oil

Emu oil has been used since centuries as the safest natural remedy for dry skin. Other than your face, you can also use it on your hands, feet and body.

  1. Oatmeal

Apart from having oatmeal for breakfast, it can also effectively be used as an agent to hydrate dry skin. An oatmeal bath is an excellent option for extremely dry skin. Simply use the old fashioned oatmeal tied in a cloth to create a soothing bath that will provide instant results.

  1. Honey

Honey comes with endless health and skin benefits. It can be used to fight dry skin, wrinkles and other environmental effects.

  1. Avocado

The mono unsaturated fats of avocado are some of the best natural skin moisturizers. Simply mash a very ripe avocado and use the pulp as a face mask to keep your dry skin hydrated for hours at a time.

The only way to figure out what remedies work best for your skin is by trying as many of these natural sources as possible.