2. Eczema in kids: The chronic phase
In this phase, we try to reduce or prevent flare-ups from occurring. While no cure has yet been found for eczema, there are strategies (other than any prescription medicines that your doctor might prescribe) that minimise the frequency of flare-ups, such as:
In between flare-ups, the skin barrier is still defective and vulnerable to irritants, thus using a moisturiser daily (at least twice a day) is advised. Moisturisers containing ceramides are particularly effective, because eczema skin is lacking in ceramides (ceramides are substances normally present in the skin, are key to the normal functioning of the skin barrier). As such, applying ceramide to the skin helps to restore the barrier to its healthy state, where it can resist irritants and retain moisture.
Use a gentle body wash or cleanser
Harsh soap is not recommended for eczema skin as it tends to have alkaline, which can promote the growth of bacteria on the skin. As such, when choosing a body wash or cleanser, check that the product has a slightly acidic pH of between 5 and 6.5. Note that many body washes contain ingredients—such as sodium lauryl sulfate, perfumes/fragrance and parabens—that are potentially irritating to eczema skin.
Choose body washes that are free of irritants that are gentler on the skin such as Suu Balm Kids Body Wash.
Minimise exposure to triggers of your child’s eczema
This is important, but very hard to do! In general, reducing stress is important (try to create a happy, positive environment for your child), but also identifying any potential food triggers and avoiding these foods, using gentle detergents, reducing dust in the home, keeping a stable temperature in the home, and reducing exposure to pollution are all positive steps you can take to reduce exposure to triggers.
Finally, be reassured that you are not alone. Eczema is a common condition and there are many parents out there who are also dealing with it. There are various patient support groups that have the necessary tools and resources for optimising your child’s care, and also provide emotional support.
This article was contributed by Dr John O’Shea, Co-Founder of Good Pharma Dermatology. Good Pharma Dermatology produces a brand of consumer healthcare products, including Suu Balm.