Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes patches of skin that can become red, irritated, dry, and itchy. It can be associated with allergies and asthma, and there can be a genetic component as well (it is more likely your child may develop eczema if there is a strong family history). Eczema can develop during infancy and persist throughout childhood and into adulthood, although some children will outgrow their eczema as they age. Many things can trigger eczema flares including dry skin, heat, allergies, and contact with different products.
There is no cure for eczema, however there are measure we can take to help alleviate the discomfort. The most important line of therapy for eczema is a daily moisturizer. By trapping moisture in the skin, it prevents the skin from drying out which is a trigger for many with eczema. We typically recommend a thick lotion or ointment versus a thin, watery lotion to help trap moisture better. Aveeno Eczema Therapy, Cerave, Cetaphil, and Aquaphor are usually recommended. It is advised that you apply a moisturizer at least twice to three times daily, and especially after bathing.
During flare-ups, you can use an over the counter mild topical steroid, 1% hydrocortisone, and apply to the affected area twice a day for 5 days to help decrease the inflammation and irritation. If this does not help relieve your child’s symptoms, see your pediatrician, and we can prescribe a stronger topical steroid. In cases of severe eczema, we may prescribe an oral steroid to help decreased inflammation.