If you're a parent or carer of a child with eczema then you'll be all too familiar with the sound of scratching as they try to relieve the itch! Thankfully, it is something they will likely grow out of but it can be heartbreaking to watch as your little one suffers a flare up, which is why we have created this blog full of tried and tested tips to soothe the itch and help both you and your family deal with Eczema.
What Is Eczema?
Eczema, or atopic eczema to use it’s medical name, is an extremely common skin condition that affects 1 in 5 children, although it can also strike in adulthood too. It causes red, dry, itchy patches of skin that can become extremely inflamed, depending on the severity of the case.
What Causes Eczema?
Although the exact cause of eczema remains unknown, the term “atopic” means sensitive to allergens which puts it in the same category as other allergy related conditions such as asthma, hay fever and food allergies, therefore, it’s not uncommon for eczema sufferers to develop some of those symptoms too.
Known triggers for eczema include pollen, dust, heat, certain clothing, wash powders, soaps, detergents, pets, and more so the list is endless, which is why it is hard to pinpoint a definitive answer. The good news is that they will likely grow out of it, but the bad news is that it can last months, if not years with varying triggers for each child, so no two cases are the same.
What Does Eczema Look Like?
Symptoms of eczema include patches of itchy, dry, red skin with small raised bumps. It commonly appears on the hands, wrists, creases of joints such as elbows and behind the knees, but can also occur on the face, neck, and behind the ears which is especially common in younger children and babies.
How To Treat Eczema
While there is no direct cure for eczema, there are a number of things you can try that will combat the itch and soothe the affected area, these include:
Making The Switch to Organic
If ever there was a time to make the move to organic products and clothing it’s now! All of our babies and children's organic clothing are soft to the touch, hypoallergenic and free from harmful chemicals, making them a fantastic option for sensitive and eczema prone skin. Plus did we mention the designs are oh so cute! Want to know more? Then why not take a peek at our previous blog on why buying organic children's clothing is better for your little ones, (and the planet) for the low down on why we love it so much.
Then, when it comes to organic products, the same great reasons apply. Not only are they kind to your skin but they help to wash away any itching and dryness that comes with eczema! We especially love the Harry & Rose bubble bath that is suitable to use on even the most sensitive skin, including newborns.
Bath & Bed Time
Using a fragrance free moisturiser on your child's skin 2 to 3 times a day will really help to keep the itchiness at bay. A top tip is to moisturise straight after the bath as creams tend to absorb much better when the skin is damp. Choose an emollient cream, ointment or lotion as these reduce water loss by covering the skin with a protective layer. You may need to test a few out until you find the one that works best but some tried and tested brands include Childs Farm, Aveeno and Oilatum.
Avoid daily baths when eczema is at its worst as washing too often can dry the skin out further, so unless they’ve been swimming in mud, having a bath every other day will be just fine, and always remember to pat your child dry after the bath as opposed to rubbing, as this can aggravate already inflamed skin.
When it comes to night time, there’s a chance that the need to itch may disturb their sleep, so to reduce the risk of them scratching too hard, we recommend a babygrow with built in mitts, separate scratch mitts if not, or even a pair or clean breathable socks over their hands while they sleep. You could have fun with this if your children are a little older and create a sock monster pet!
Natural Remedies for Child Eczema
- Aloe vera gel
- Coconut oil
- Tea Tree Oil (diluted)
- Colloidal Oatmeal baths
All of which have proven antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties which will help to soothe and protect.
Keep Things Cool
Keep your childs room nice and cool as they sleep for a comfortable night ahead. And if you haven’t already, make the change to organic bedding, sleeping bags and pyjamas where possible which is much kinder on their skin.
Keep A Diary
This might seem like a laborious task at first, but it will soon become second nature, then before you know it, you’ll have months of data to look back on to analyse for any food, clothing or environment triggers that may have caused a flare up.
When To Seek Medical Advice
As a parent, only you know your child best, so if they are extremely uncomfortable or the skin becomes so sore that it cracks or bleeds then it’s best to contact your GP for advice. They may be able to prescribe alternative treatments such as steroid creams and antihistamines.
Note: Prescribed treatments and creams vary in strength so please do not be tempted to use any creams or medication that have been prescribed for someone else, as each case is different.