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Get the tools and support you need to best manage your eczema

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Eczema Treatment For Children

managing eczema

With a good regimen of bathing, moisturizing and prescription medications (if needed), you can help your child be more comfortable

There is no one “right” treatment for eczema in children. What works for another child may not work for yours. You may have to go through several treatments or combinations of treatments in partnership with your doctor before you find one that helps manage your child’s symptoms. Be persistent and patient as treating eczema can take several weeks or longer before you see real progress.

Bathing and moisturizing

It is important to have a regular schedule with eczema care that includes bathing with a gentle cleanser and moisturizing to lock water into the skin. Moisturized skin helps control flares by combatting dryness and keeping out irritants and allergens.

Bathe your child daily, using lukewarm — not hot — water for five to 10 minutes. If possible, bathe them at night before bedtime, when the skin is more likely to lock in moisture. Use a gentle cleanser recommended for sensitive skin. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the affected skin with a washcloth or loofah.

bleach baths to treat eczema atopic dermatitis

Dilute bleach baths may help to calm the inflammation from eczema

After bathing, pat the skin lightly with a towel leaving it slightly damp. Water softens the skin and enables it to better absorb medication and moisturizer. Apply a thin coat of any topical medication prescribed by your doctor to affected areas of the skin only.

Liberally apply a moisturizer all over the body (not just the areas with eczema) to lock in moisture. Use an ointment or a cream rather than a lotion. Apply it with your palms, stroking lightly in a downward direction. Wait a few minutes to let the moisturizer absorb into the skin before dressing.

Don’t limit moisturizing to bath time. Slather it on throughout the day whenever your child’s skin starts to itch or feel dry.

Learn more about moisturizing and bathing to help manage your child’s eczema symptoms.

wet wrap therapy on a child

Wet wrap therapy can help sooth itch

Wet wrap therapy

During particularly intense flare-ups with severe itch or pain, wet wrap therapy can rehydrate and calm the skin and boost the effectiveness of topical medications.

Wet wraps are best done in the evening after bathing, moisturizing and applying medication.

Get detailed instructions on how to do wet wrap therapy on your child.

Over-the-counter remedies

Your doctor may recommend treatments available for purchase at your local drug store, including gentle cleansers, mild corticosteroids, moisturizers, petroleum jelly, mineral oil or tar-based products. There are many OTC products available that may help prevent and control eczema symptoms in your child.

Visit our directory of over-the-counter products that have received the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance™ to find a treatment that works for your child.

Prescription treatments

Topical medications

Topical medications are applied to the skin. There are four forms of prescription topicals approved to manage symptoms of eczema.

Learn more about topical treatments.

Phototherapy

Also known as light therapy, phototherapy exposes the skin to a special type of light called ultraviolet B (UVB) using a walk-in machine.

Learn more about phototherapy.

Immunosuppressant medications

Used for moderate to severe cases of eczema, immunosuppressants work by controlling or suppressing, the immune system. Immunosuppressants prescribed “off-label” meaning that the FDA has not approved them for use with eczema. However, they are commonly used by doctors to treat difficult eczema cases.

Learn more about immunosuppressant medications.

Complementary and alternative treatments

There are several natural treatments that have been shown to be effective controlling eczema symptoms. Many of these studies looked the effects on adults, so be sure to consult with your child’s doctor prior to starting any natural treatments for eczema.

Learn more about complementary and alternative treatments for eczema.