Eczema is a red, extremely itchy rash which often appears on the cheeks at 2 to 6 months of age. When skin becomes dry, it is not because of a decrease of oil in the skin, but due to the increased loss of water from the skin. Proper bathing and moisturizing are the key to treating eczema.
Eczema is most commonly seen on the flexor surfaces (creases) of elbows, wrists, knees, neck, ankles, and feet. If scratched, the rash may become raw and weepy.
Eczema is an inherited type of sensitive, dry skin. A history of asthma or hay fever, or a family history of eczema, makes it more likely that your child may develop eczema. Flare-ups occur when there is contact with irritating substances (for example, soap or chlorine). Weather changes may aggravate eczema.
In 30% of infants with eczema, certain foods cause the eczema to flare up. If you suspect a particular food item (for example, cow's milk, eggs, or peanut butter) is causing your child's flare-ups, avoid these foods and call our office before reintroducing the food.
Eczema is a long-term condition and will usually not go away until adolescence. Early treatment of any itching is the key to preventing a more severe rash.
Factors That Trigger Eczema
What Can I Do To Avoid Triggering Eczema
Treatment of Eczema
Use Of Steroid Creams and Ointments
Steroid creams and ointments come in different strengths or potencies:
Group I (Very potent: up to 600 times stronger than 1% hydrocortisone)
At the first sign of a flare-up of your child's eczema, begin treatment with a low potency steroid. Most children with mild eczema will respond to treatment with low potency steroids (Group 7). If treatment is started right away, this may prevent progression of the eczema.
Hydrocortisone 1% cream and ointment are Group 7 steroids and are over the counter. They are very safe and can be used up to four times per day in all age children.
If your child's eczema does not respond to Group 7 steroids, progressively higher potency steroids can be used. The higher group steroids should only be used long enough to get the eczema under control. If this requires more then 2-3 weeks, please call our office. You should then use a low potency steroid to treat the eczema until the rash is completely resolved.
When you travel with your child, always take the steroid cream/ointment with you. Do not let your supply run low. Get the prescription refilled when your supply runs low.
Ultra-high potency steroids are rarely needed in children. High-potency steroids (Group 2 and 3) can be used to treat more severe eczema (under a doctor's advice) until the rash has shown improvement.
How Do I Use These Medicines
Is Bathing Good For A Child With Eczema?
Soak and Seal Technique
Works to increase the absorption of topical medication and should be used on severely affected skin.
Lubricating Creams and Ointments
Lubricating creams and ointments are very effective in lessening your child's dry skin.
The following are examples of commonly used Iubricating creams and ointments:
Try to apply these moisturizers right after a bath or shower while your skin is still wet. The longer you wait the less effective the moisturizers will be.
How Can Alpha Keri Bath Oil Help My Child's Skin?
Alpha Keri Bath Oil is very effective in decreasing water evaporation from your child's skin after a bath. It functions just like the moisturizers discussed above. Remember, it is the rapid evaporation of water from your child's skin that makes eczema worse.
Treatment of Itching
Eczema itches. Scratching makes eczema worse.
Benadryl elixer (over-the-counter):
Atarax syrup (prescription):
Call Our Office If:
National Eczema Association
Eczema & Sensitive Skin Education