Eczema is a topic that comes up often in local mommy sites and during our consultations. Many families we work with have concerns about sleep training and itchy/irritated skin. The change of the season can bring flare ups, but there are some things you can do to bring ease to your baby’s skin. We reached out to Dr Craw and asked if she would weigh in on a few to the top questions – and here are her answers:
Should a child with eczema have a bath or shower every day? If yes; for how long?
The recommendation is for a child with eczema to bathe or shower every day for 5-10 minutes in lukewarm water with a gentle non-soap cleanser. Hot water will dry out the skin and should be avoided.
TIP! This can be included as part of your bedtime routine.
Let’s talk about medicated cream… do we need to put anything overtop of it?
Yes. Medicated cream/ointment should be applied to affected areas with eczema and a moisturizer formulated for eczema-prone skin should be applied afterwards to the entire body.
TIP! The National Eczema Association has a list of products on their website. *we do not endorse a particular brand of cleanser or moisturizer
Can I stop using the medicated cream when it has cleared up?
Yes. After a patch has cleared to completely smooth skin, the medicated cream does not need to be applied to that patch any longer. The medicated creams should be re-started at the first sign of a new patch.
Do I need to continue with the moisturizer even if there are no visible spots of eczema?
Yes. The barrier function of the skin in many eczema patients is impaired. Routine moisturization repairs the barrier function of the skin, preventing water from leaving the skin and preventing irritants and allergens from entering the skin. Routine moisturization will help to prevent flares of eczema which will decrease how often the medicated creams are required.
Are there certain materials that we should use or avoid?
In general, natural fibres such as cotton, bamboo and silk will be the least irritating to the skin. Many children will tolerate synthetic materials such as polar fleece. Every child will have different tolerances for different fabrics. In general, hypoallergenic, fragrance free laundry detergent and fabric softener should be used as fragrance can be a trigger for eczema.
When should we request to see a dermatologist?
Patients with mild eczema, can be managed by their family doctor or pediatrician. Patients with more severe eczema may require a referral to a skin specialist. A family doctor or paediatrician may opt to refer patients with eczema, not responding to the medicated creams they have prescribed, to a skin specialist.
BIO: In most cases, appointments with a dermatologist requires a doctor referral. If you are in the Oakville area, and want to see Dr Craw, have your doctor fax a referral to 289-715-2213.