Ask Our Doctors: Family Edition

Treating Eczema

What is Eczema?
Eczema is a chronic, recurring skin disorder that interferes with normal skin function and results in easily irritated, dry and itchy skin. Although there isn’t a cure for eczema, practicing daily skin care and avoiding potential irritants can help control the condition.

Who Gets Eczema?

The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it is commonly found in families with a history of eczema, allergies or asthma.

Tips for Treating Eczema

Eczema flare-ups are often triggered by certain substances or conditions such as stress, abrupt changes in climate, animal dander, and exposure to certain household products like soap or detergent.

• Use moisturizers and ointments to protect the skin’s barrier and lock in moisture
• Use a humidifier
• Keep nails short and avoid scratching the skin
• Always wash new clothes before wearing
• Avoid foods that could cause a flare-up

Ointments and Moisturizers

When skin is raw and irritated, it’s best to use ointments that soothe it. Fragrances, dyes and preservatives can irritate skin, so it’s best to use ointments with as few ingredients as possible, such as Eucerin’s Aquaphor. (link)

Try a soak-and-seal method with your baby. Bathe your baby in lukewarm water for about 10 minutes, and then apply ointment when his or her skin is still damp. This will help retain moisture and keep the skin’s barrier hydrated and protected.

Try oatmeal baths, salt baths or oil baths as well.

Topical steroids, available in different dosages in prescription and non-prescription strength, are the most common medications used to treat eczema. As always, seek the guidance of your pediatrician, dermatologist, or allergist.

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