Top Tips for Managing Eczema
In people with eczema the skin barrier does not work as well and moisture is easily lost from the skin causing it to be dry and itchy.
The following hints and tips will help to manage your child's eczema.
Medicated creams and ointments
Moisturise every day, even when there is no eczema.
Wash your hands before applying moisturiser.
Use prescribed creams or ointments (such as topical steroids) as directed by your doctor or nurse practitioner.
Bath or shower once a day where possible.
Gently remove any eczema crusts while in the bath – this will allow the prescribed creams/ointments to work better.
Avoid soap products and bubble bath as they dry the skin.
Also avoid products which contain perfume or fragrance as they can irritate the skin.
Use a shampoo for sensitive skin when washing hair.
Avoid overheating – children with eczema get hot quickly and this can make eczema more itchy.
Try not to overdress children – 100% cotton clothing is preferred.
Avoid heavy blankets and quilts on the bed – soft cotton or silk sheets are recommended and a thin cotton blanket or a lightweight sleeping bag in cooler weather.
Do not have heaters in bedrooms.
Keep fingernails short and clean – this can help prevent damage to skin from scratching.
Remove prickly materials such as clothing tags if the child’s skin is affected by them.
Cortisone creams and ointments
Cortisone creams and ointments help to settle irritation and itch on the skin (making your child more comfortable) and help reduce eczema flares (redness and itch).
When and where should I use cortisone creams and ointments?
Apply cortisone (as prescribed) to the skin as soon as you see any areas of eczema (red, inflamed, rough areas), and apply it to all the eczema affected areas, not just the worst bits. It should also be used on broken skin.
How much do I use?
It can be hard to know how much cream or ointment to apply to an area. If you apply too little, it may not work.
Apply enough cortisone cream or ointment to cover all the eczema affected areas. Fingertip unit amounts can help. One fingertip unit is enough to cover an area of skin twice the size of a flat adult hand with the fingers together. For example, if the area of skin to be treated is the size of four flat adult hands, two fingertip units of cream or ointment should be applied each time.
Once a day is often enough. Continue applying once a day until the eczema has completely gone (the skin is smooth, not red and not itchy), or as advised by your treating health professional. If treated correctly, the eczema should clear within 1-2 weeks, in most cases.
How much moisturiser should I be using?
Probably more than you think! Aim to use the following amounts each week:
- 125g for a baby
- 250g for a small child
- 500g for a bigger child or teenager