Treating Toddler Eczema

Treating Toddler Eczema

Jennie Lyon

Treating Toddler Eczema

How can I treat my child’s eczema?

If you have an eczema child, treating their skin to relieve the symptoms is a top priority.

Moisturizers and Emollients

Keeping your toddler’s skin moisturized will help to protect the skin barrier. Choose a fragrance-free emollient or ointment like Vaniply. Apply the emollient/ointment several times a day, and particularly after washing or bathing your toddler, while their skin is still moist. Emollients and ointments are superior to creams and lotions.  Creams and lotions are water based and can't protect the skin like emollients or ointments.  Emollients and ointments are messy so applying eczema clothing over the emollients/ointments can be very helpful and soothing, especially at bedtime.  Eczema clothing made out of TENCEL® fiber is the best option as TENCEL® has been proven to be beneficial for eczema and sensitive skin. TENCEL® is more absorbent than cotton, softer than silk and cooler than linen.

Bathing and Bath Temperature

Always bathe your child in lukewarm water. Temperatures that are too hot or cold are uncomfortable for your child and hot water dries out the skin by stripping natural skin oils.  Be careful what cleaner you use on your child with eczema.  Make sure it is approved by the National Eczema Association.  The National Eczema Association has a list of products given their Seal of Acceptance.  You do not want to use a cleanser that is irritating to your child's eczema.  Many over the counter cleansers and moisturizers contain eczema triggers.

Wet Wrap Therapy

This is a simple and effective way to treat eczema, particularly in toddlers. Studies report a decrease in eczema symptoms by 75% if done correctly. Start by soaking your child in a lukewarm tub for 10-20 minutes. Then, pat your child dry with a clean towel and immediately apply any eczema medication prescribed by your child's doctor to the affected areas, then generous amounts of ointment all over the skin while it’s still damp. Immediately dress your child in damp specialty eczema wraps. This damp layer seals in the moisture, calms the itch and repairs the skin barrier. It also brings down inflammation and decreases the staph bacteria found on the skin. Follow the layer of damp eczema wraps with a dry wrap or dry cotton clothing. Leave your child in these layers for at least 2 hours. Read more about Wet Wrap Therapy here:

Bleach Baths

Bleach baths can help to reduce skin bacteria, redness, itchiness, and skin scaling. Use ¼ cup of bleach for a half bath (approximately 75 liters) of lukewarm water. Mix the bleach and the water well before placing your toddler in the bath. Soak them for 5-10 minutes. Do not submerge their head; only soak the child from the neck down or specifically soak the affected areas. Rinse the skin with clean, warm water. Gently pat the skin dry with a soft, cotton towel. Do not rub skin, lightly pat. Leave the skin slightly moist. Moisturize immediately while the skin is still damp. Follow any prescribed moisturizing and prescription directions from your physician or child's physician. Vaniply is recommended by most allergists and dermatologists. Repeat 2–3 times a week. Consider applying eczema clothing over the emollient, or combining the treatment with the above-mentioned Wet Wrap Therapy. Read more about bleach baths here:

Salt Baths

Many eczema sufferers report a decrease in itching, inflammation and redness from salt bathing. Choose your salt—table salt, sea salt or epsom salt—and add 1 cup to a half bath of lukewarm water, and an 1/8 cup for a baby bath. Soak your toddler in the warm salt bath for 10-20 minutes. Remove the child from the tub and pat dry - do not rub. Immediately apply an eczema emollient. Dress the child in eczema clothing. Eczema clothing stops the itch and keeps emollients in place for effective treatment.

Read more about salt baths:

Topical Steroids

There are over-the-counter steroid creams available that are used to reduce inflammation and redness. However, overuse of steroid cream can cause its own share of problems like weakening of the skin and topical steroid addiction.  Trying the above tips can help you manage eczema without topical steroids or decrease the need for topical steroids.  Studies of wet wrap therapy show a decrease in the need for topical steroids and a 75% decrease in eczema symptoms.

Be careful to avoid eczema triggers including dry skin, irritants like scratchy clothing and non-eczema skincare products and detergents, stress, heat and sweat, and allergens. The good news is that most children outgrow their eczema before they grow to be school aged.