Preventing Atopic Eczema Flare-Ups

Published: September 3, 2010

Q. My 8-year-old daughter gets eczema flare-ups. She finds breakouts during the school year to be most embarrassing (not to mention itchy). Any suggestions to help her?

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 recurring condition that usually flares in what we call the skin “flexures.” These include the folds of arms and behind the knees.

The better news is that many children will grow out of this. However, while your daughter has eczema flares, 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. I advise 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.

Eczema Flares: Watch the Irritants!

Then you should ask her doctor to prescribe an appropriate corticosteroid cream for eczema 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 steroid cream can treat an eczema 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.

Send your sensitive skin questions to: [email protected]. For more information see

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