Fighting childhood eczema can be incredibly frustrating for both parents and children. I remember the day that my 6 month old baby developed a red splotchy rash all over her back. I was still in the panicky stage of parenting and rushed her to the doctor as soon as they opened.
They gave us a “yep! Looks like eczema.” and sent us on our way. Although I felt silly for rushing into the doctor for something so simple, It was also very frustrating because they gave us just a few vague pointers on how to manage the flare-ups.
Soon I would learn that the reason they were vague and nonspecific is because every child’s eczema is different and can be managed in different ways. This seems to be a very common theme within parenting. I struggle with this as I wish there was just one specific way to solve a problem.
Tips for Fighting Childhood Eczema
To manage your child’s eczema it will take a bit of patience while you play a game of trial and error. Below are a few tips on what worked best for us.
Lots of Lotion
This is probably going to be the area that you spend most of your time. Mild cases of eczema can even be completely managed by diligently applying lots of lotion. The key to this area is finding the lotion that your child responds to best and applying it as often as possible. If the eczema is not improving or is even getting worse with a particular lotion stop and try a new one.
What worked for us: Aveeno Baby Lotions came highly recommended to us from both doctors and friends. Unfortunately, our daughter had an allergic reaction to this lotion so we had to search for an alternative. We use Babyganics Eczema Care Skin Protectant. We typically apply lotion 1-2 times a day, except during her flare ups when we apply 3-5 times a day.
Avoid Over Bathing
If you have a toddler avoiding extra bathes may seem impossible because toddlers seem to be dirty within 30 minutes of bathing them. Just the other day my daughter found a pack of markers and drew all over herself while I was cleaning the bathroom after her evening bath! Unfortunately, baths can be very drying for your little one’s skin and make eczema worse.
What worked for us: We give our daughter a full soapy bath 2 times a week (obviously more if truly needed). Outside of these bathes we do our best to spot clean with wipes or a washcloth. Any more baths than this and you can see her skin noticeably start to dry out.
Avoid Harsh Soaps
Avoiding harsh soaps is a tricky area that emcompasses many different items. You have to consider everything that comes in contact with your child’s skin from laundry detergent to simple hand soaps. While you analyze all the soaps within your house don’t forget to check at daycare, grandma’s house, or any other place your child frequently comes in contact with soap.
What worked for us: Luckily, we already use a Free & Clear detergent so it was not necessary for us to change this. However, we did switch over our bath soaps and hand soaps to products that were simple and had less harsh chemicals.
Wear Clothes Made of Cotton
Of course do not forget to think about what is almost always touching your child! It is recommended that you try to clad your eczema prone child in loose cotton clothes and natural fabrics. You should avoid wool and any other fabrics that have a harsh or scratchy texture.
What worked for us: I’ve got to be honest here, we really did not change much in this area. We live on a pretty modest budget so I could not afford to go out and buy a full wardrobe of natural organic fabrics. For us, it is enough to avoid wools or anything rough to the skin.
Patience is Key
We did not see noticeable results until a few weeks after we started making lifestyle changes. Even once you have found what works best, flare-ups can be stubborn and persistent.
Hopefully this has given you a few ideas to adjust your lifestyle to avoid your child’s eczema outbreaks. Most cases of eczema are very manageable if you are diligent and once you find the right combination of techniques.