It is reported that 1 in 8 school children in the UK suffers from eczema. If your child is one of them and is suffering from childhood eczema, then there are plenty of lifestyle changes you can make to help avoid irritants and alleviate their discomfort.

Use these top tips and tricks to make living with childhood eczema easier for your children in 2019. 

Irritants

  1. Use gentle, fragrance-free toiletries - from shampoos to shower gels and soaps to wet wipes, make sure any toiletries that come into contact with your child’s skin are fragrance-free and suitable for sensitive skin.
  2. Use chemical-free cleaning products - avoid cleaning products that contain chemicals. Instead, opt for safe, natural products to avoid irritating skin (whilst also looking after the environment!)
  3. Wash clothes using products for sensitive skin - your child’s clothes are in constant contact with their skin, so using a gentle laundry product that is suitable for sensitive skin is essential.
  4. Keep a food diary - if you’re not quite sure what is causing your child’s eczema flare-ups, try keeping a food diary to see if any foods may be irritating their skin.
  5. Bedding - make sure you’ve invested in bedding made from gentle, eczema-friendly materials like 100% cotton to give your child a good night’s sleep.
  6. Pets - keep pets out of your child’s bedroom.

Clothing

  1. Wear gentle materials and avoid man-made ones - clothing made from 100% cotton or silk is gentle on the skin, whilst synthetic, dyed, man-made materials and wool are most likely to cause irritation.
  2. Remove scratchy labels - check the inside of clothing for labels and remove to avoid irritation.
  3. Wash new clothes before wearing - wash clothes before first wear to remove any potential irritants.
  4. Wear loose-fitting clothes - opt for loose-fitting clothes that will rub as little as possible and give the skin room to breathe.

Preventing scratching

  1. Wear specialist scratch mittens - the urge to itch is strong, but specialist scratch mittens fromScratchSleevescan be used to cover up your child’s hands to stop scratching and give their skin the time it needs to heal.
  2. Keep nails trimmed short - short nails are easier to keep clean and will do less damage.
  3. Swaddle babies - not all babies like to be swaddled, but if your little one does, then it’s a great way of stopping them scratching their skin as well as keeping them cozy!
  4. Keep the temperature cool - very cold or very warm conditions can trigger a flare-up, try to keep the temperature in your home regulated at around 18 degrees all year round.
  5. Use a humidifier in the bedroom if the heating is on - when using the central heating in the winter, pop a humidifier in your child’s room to stop the air (and their skin) getting too dry.

Remedies 

  1. Use emollient at least twice a day - remembering to always moisturise regularly, even on the good days, to keep the skin feeling more comfortable.
  2. Apply creams at least 20 mins before bedtime - make applying moisturiser part of the bedtime routine, allowing at least 20 minutes for it to soak in to avoid it rubbing off on pyjamas and bedding.
  3. Steroid cream such as hydrocortisone - use prescribed topical steroids on the affected parts, but only in short bursts when needed.
  4. Cold compresses - during a flare-up, helping your child to hold a cold compress against their skin when it is feeling itchy can be a good alternative to scratching.

Every child is different, so it can take some time to figure out what irritates your child’s eczema and what you can do to help soothe the flare-ups.

Published by Joel Borthwick