Itch, itch, scratch, scratch. The heat has been on all winter, but wow this is drying out our skin. Ethan, Audrey, and I all have mild dry skin and it definitely gets worse during these Dayton winters. Eczema, atopic dermatitis, or dry skin, is commonly known as The Itch that Rashes, because symptoms often begin with an itchy area that then turns into a dry skin patch. Eczema often occurs in multiple family members and flares up during times of temperature extreme (cold or hot) often when the air is dry. This chronic condition is often terribly frustrating for people and I am thankful that my kids only have a mild form. Here are some common ways that we help keep things under control.
- Bathing: we take lukewarm baths and try to limit the time in the tub to 10 minutes or less (getting out whenever we start to see our fingers wrinkling.) We wash only the dirty parts with a mild non soap cleanser and rarely use bubble bath (it can irritate sensitive skin easily.) When we dry off, we only pat our bodies dry – often there is a lot of moisture still present when we put on our moisturizer.
- Moisturizing: the MAIN ingredient to daily maintenance! Ointments are going to be the most moisturizing but most uncomfortable. I will sometimes put on an ointment and then put the kids’ jammies on over it. We use petroleum jelly and sometimes I mix that with the baby lotions. At times I catch Aquaphor, Eucerin Cream or Aveeno products on sale and will buy 1 get one ½ off.
Unfortunately, flare ups still occur. During this time we use Hydrocortisone 1%-2.5% cream or ointment twice a day to the dry or red or itchy spots and then put the moisturizer over it. But remember, you should only use steroids products on the skin for less than 14 days on the same spot to minimize side effects. I have, on rare occasions, used a dose of Atarax or Benadryl (an anti-histamine) to help with the itch.
I know many of you out there have worse cases and I sympathize. I know that it can get quite frustrating. Hang in there, keep up with your daily routines, and know that as your children get older a lot of them will see improvement in their skin.