Eczema remedies for kids are readily available at home. While there is no cure, here are practical 40 tips for the treatment and clearing of atopic dermatitis, and prevention of flare-ups by an Integrative Pediatric Dermatologist.
Remember the term Eczema is the same as Atopic Dermatitis
1.Soothe and decrease itching of the eczema involved skin by applying OreganKnow healing ointment 2X per day. It contains a non-allergic extract from the leaves the Oregano plant that is anti-oxidant and takes away inflammation from the skin. It also wipes out eczema causing bacteria that grow on broken and cracked skin of children with excema. These bacteria worsen and perpetuate the rash. It is safe for all areas including the face and eye lids. The ointment can be purchased at OreganKnow.com. If eczema is severe, consider topical 1% hydrocortisone OINTMENT 2X per day to affected areas for several days. Apply OreganKnow healing ointment IX per day in addition to the hydrocortisone ointment. Once eczema calms down then spot treat with either OreganKnow healing ointment and/or 1% hydrocortisone ointment. Manuka Honey is an alternative to OreganKnow healing ointment. Do not use essential oils such as oregano essential oil as it may exacerbate the dermatitis.
2.Consider wet wraps overnight. See video here for technique. https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=8GZCCTTZAlo
3.Consider Sea Salt bath everyday. They also decrease harmful bacterial growth on the skin. Use about a handful to a tub. Sea Salt baths take 7-14 days to see results with decreased itching, redness and crusting. Redmond Real Salt® brand sea salt works great.
4.Bathe or shower in warm, not hot water as hot water causes flares.
5.In the bath do not use essential oils, soy oil or oats has they may worsen dermatitis
6.No bubble bathes, no liquid soaps
7.After shower or bath, pat the skin dry, do not rub.
8.Use unscented bar soap in private areas only. A suggestion is Basis Sensitive Skin Bar whose pH or acidity is close to the level naturally found in the skin.
9.Plain water for washing the rest of the body without soap.
10.Moisturizes must be applied to the skin within 2-3 minutes after leaving the bath or shower.
11. Remember the greaser the moisturizer the better. Creams are much better than lotions to prevent flare-ups.
12.Skin care should not be like a ritual but a time of fun and bonding with your child
13.Moisturize your baby before they develop eczema. Recent studies showed that if your family has an eczema tendency, then baby’s skin should be moisturized before eczema appears or to prevent a flare-up. Crisco vegetable shortening is inexpensive and works great to prevent the appearance of eczema.
14.In the alternative, moisturizers that contain plant derived ceramide help repair the skins barrier. Ceramides are natural fats that our skin produces to stick skin cells together and improve the barrier leading to relief of symptoms. I suggest a product called Aveeno® Skin Relief Moisture Repair Cream
15.Look at the ingredients in the moisturizer and beware of certain ingredients that may worsen dermatitis such as lanolin.
16.Most patients do not get enough moisturizing emollients. As a rule, the ointment that fits on your finger tip will cover the area of 2 adult hands. This amount is ½ a gram.
17. In cold dry climates a cold air humidifier in the child’s bedroom at night is a must.
18.A cleaner environment not always better: major study in 2013 showed that if a baby’s mother did not clean the pacifier after it dropped on the floor and just plugged it back in the child’s mouth, those children had less eczema than the babies of mothers who cleaned it each time. If this grosses you out then simply supplement your infants’ diet with healthy bacteria as found in Culturelle® Kids probiotics. In fact, In mom’s who start taking probiotics during pregnancy and continued after birth while breast feeding, their child will have a 20% less chance of developing eczema compared to Moms who do not. If excema develops in her child despite taking the probiotics, the child’s excema will be less severe. Culturelle® Baby drops are convenient for breastfeeding moms to give to their babies.
19.When your baby is born do not allow nurses to clean the vernix, the waxy white natural coating newborns. It protects the skin from the introduction of harmful allergens or chemicals that will promote the development of allergic diseases such as excema. Certainly do not allow the nurses to apply “baby lotions” to the skin of newborns which are usually loaded full of chemical preservatives and fragrances. You may be again increasing the risk of you child developing excema
20. Avoid irritating fabrics such as wool as it is a major trigger.
21.Synthetic fibers such as polyester are irritating to eczema prone skin.
22.Cotton clothing is better tolerated.
23.Wash cloths in detergents that are dye and fragrance free. I suggest All® free clear
24.Some doctors recommend double rinsing cloths but the average family uses an extra 10,000 gallons a year using this procedure.
25.Do not use dryer sheets or fabric softener.
26.Scents can be an irritant leading to flares. A safer alternative to add scent to freshly laundered clothes is by adding a few drops of lemon or lavender essential oil to an old t shirt and cut it up into squares. Toss one into the dryer with the wet cloths. This provides eczema safe and gentle, nice, light scent to clothing.
27.Avoid aerosolized fragrances in the house. Avoid plug-ins, air fresheners, candles and colognes. Do not spray or use odor elimination products in the house such as Febreze.
28.Avoid contact with house hold allergens such as house dust mites and animal dander from dogs or cats. Dander is skin cells and fur form animals that dust mites feed on. Dust mites may exacerbate eczema in some but not all children. If you suspect dust mite allergy then see an allergist for testing. Go here for suggestions for decreasing dust mites if it is an issue in your child. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dust-mites/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352178
29.Ensure your infant or child is consuming enough Vitamin D. If in doubt have the Pediatrician check the Vitamin D level and supplement as needed.
30.Do not use topical anti-histamines.
31. Treat infections such as teeth cavities promptly.
32.Don’t forget the psyche! Children who are under stress scratch more and this exacerbates their condition.
33.Never yell at your child to stop scratching; they learn scratching leads to more attention. Scratching is a sign that you need to up your treatment game.
34.To improving sleep in atopic dermatitis, reduce sensory input with low light and sound in the room, avoid temperature extremes and avoid screen time before bed.
35.If you child is not sleeping discuss use of antihistamines at night with your Pediatrician. In fact, sleep problems in early childhood as a result of atopic dermatitis may be causal or at least a risk factor for ADHS later in life
36.Studies show that children who are fully vaccinated have lower risk of eczema. This may seem to be just the opposite of what you might think. Vaccinations should never be given during an acute flare. Wait 3 days till things calm down.
37.If the dermatitis is localized to one area of the body ask a dermatologist about patch testing, not prick testing. The later is used to determine the cause of asthma and hay fever. Patch testing is used to determine if something is getting in contact with the skin causing the dermatitis such as Bactrian ointment, rubber in shoes or even a wood toilet seat.
38.“Foods to avoid” is a commonly asked question. In fact, random food avoidance may lead to worse eczema in some children. Foods that might be flaring the eczema in your child is a complex topic. Do not simply restrict foods that you suspect are causing flares in childhood atopic dermatitis without consulting your doctor. This may in fact worsen flares when the food is reintroduced. If you are looking for a flare from food they can either occur as an immediate flare in 15 minutes or delayed for 24-48 hours. The immediate flare is sometimes associated with more sever symptoms such as hives, itching, wheezing, diarrhea and/or vomiting. If seen, this should be evaluated by an allergist who will do skin prick test to aid in the diagnosis of this type of food allergy. The most common culprit food here are milk, eggs, nuts, soy, shellfish, fish, and wheat. Remember a positive prick test does not mean allergy. Discuss with your doctor. Delayed reactions in 24-48 hours have no testing available for diagnosis, proving a causal relationship more difficult. If you suspect this delayed type allergy then ask you allergist about an oral provocation test. The child is fed to suspected food allergen or a placebo followed by careful observation for flares in 24-48 hours. Obviously this type of testing is very specialized, tedious and difficult.
39.Many bacteria and fiungi survive in medications and moisturizers that contain petroleum jelly or creams. Don’t stick you hands in a jar to apply an ointment or cream to your child and then go in the same jar for another finger scoop. You are transferring bad bacteria from your child’s skin to the jar. We call this double dipping. To get more cream or ointment use a spoon or tongue depressor to dole out the moisturizer.
40.If the dermatitis is not responding consult the Pediatrician. Everything that is red, scaly and itch is not atopic dermatitis. Your child may have an infestation in the skin such as scabies in the skin or a genetic immune deficiency or even a zinc deficiency causing the dermatitis.