Preventing Atopic Eczema Flare-Ups

Published: September 3, 2010

Q. My 8-year-old daughter gets eczema and finds breakouts during the school year most embarrassing (not to mention itchy). Any suggestions?

Dr. Skotnicki: At the age of 8, your daughter likely has a genetic form of eczema which is referred to as atopic eczema. This is a chronic and recurrent condition that usually flares in what we call the skin “flexures”, such as folds of arms and behind the knees. Many children will grow out of it.

However, while she has it, approaching the disease in a preventative manner will be the most beneficial. This means taking great care with all aspects of her skin care. Assess every product she uses from her head to her toes, adopting a “less is more” approach. All products should be fragrance-free and botanical-free.

Get the shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, soap, and fragrance-free laundry detergent (no fabric softener!) in order. For soap, I like the Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar, and suggest not to use body washes. Then you should ask her doctor to prescribe an appropriate corticosteroid cream for flares. Keep in mind that if she avoids irritants in her day-to-day life she will have fewer flares, and require less corticosteroid cream.

Also note that using a medium to strong corticosteroid cream can treat a flare very quickly and get the skin back on track. In the long run, she will use much less corticosteroid than if she uses a mild corticosteroid cream for many days.

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