When you suffer from eczema, you’re forever looking
for some kind of relief from the redness, the pain, and especially the
itchiness. Yes, medicated creams can provide some measure of relief, but they
can take a while to kick in. If you’re looking for instant relief, you might
think that a hot shower or bath could help. The feeling of the hot water can
instantly bring relief from the itching—it's like getting your entire body
scratched at once. Unfortunately, like with actual scratching, hot water only
provides temporary relief at the cost of making your eczema flare-up worse soon
Hot water, especially when it’s steaming hot, can act to inflame the skin. That’s why you are so red when you step out of a hot shower. Your blood vessels are closer to the skin. If your skin is completely healthy, that’s no big deal. If you have eczema, your skin’s response to the hot water can exacerbate an existing eczema flare-up or even trigger a new one.
So, super hot baths and showers are out. How about cold ones? They technically have the opposite effect on your body. Your blood vessels dilate, your pores all close up, and you shiver. It can also be great for eczema. It might not immediately eliminate an itch, but it will help decrease inflammation and help hydrate your skin. Sadly, it is not fun to get into ice cold water. And just imagine trying to get an eczema child into a chilly bath every night!
Not unlike Goldilocks, when it comes to water, you want it not too hot, not too cold, but just right. Warm water is your bullseye, with variations in temperature depending on the current state of your eczema. If you or your eczema child are in the middle of a flare-up, err on the cool side to avoid irritating the already damaged skin. If you aren't currently in the middle of a flare-up, you can probably make the water a little warmer.
Of course, getting the optimal water temperature is an essential part of wet wrap therapy. Before you apply an eczema ointment and put your eczema children into their Eczema Rescue Suits, you need to give them a 10 to 15 minute bath to hydrate their skin. Too hot, and you risk dehydration and irritation. Too cold, and good luck getting your eczema toddler into it. Go with trial and error until you can find the perfect water temperature for them. Once you do, that part of wet wrap therapy becomes easy. The warm water will soothe their itching without causing any inflammation, so they might even look forward to their wet wrap therapy bath every night.
Of course, there are many other kinds of eczema wraps you could use for wet wrap therapy, depending on the location of the flare-ups. There are eczema gloves, eczema socks, and just general sleeves if you get flare-ups inside your elbow or behind your knees (two particularly sensitive spots).
Wet wrap therapy is one of the best methods for treating eczema, no matter what your age. So, if you suffer from eczema, just like your eczema children, you might want to take a nice warm bath before bed too! Your skin will thank you!