Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is quite common in toddlers and young children. Often, this condition diminishes with age, but that does not mean you should ignore it in the meantime. The red patches of itchy, broken-out skin are uncomfortable, so you should take the steps below to help manage and treat the condition.
Switch to cooler bathwater.
When bathing your toddler, make sure you are using bathwater that is lukewarm to cool. It should be just warm enough that it doesn't make your child shivering and uncomfortable. Hot and even moderately warm water can dry the skin out and make eczema worse. Don't let your child remain in the bath and play, as this extra soaking time can be irritating, too. Put them in, wash them, rinse them, and take them out.
Use only gentle, unscented cleansers in the bath.
As fun as colored soaps and bubble baths can be, they're not a smart choice for kids with atopic dermatitis as they're a really common trigger for flare-ups. Look instead for a mild, unscented cleanser with no added colorants. Make sure your toddler's shampoo meets the same standards. Bring these products with you if you ever visit friends or relatives overnight so you can wash your child with suitable products during your stay.
Apply medicated creams, followed by moisturizers.
Your child's pediatrician may prescribe a steroid or anti-inflammatory cream for you to apply to their skin when the atopic dermatitis is at its worst. Make sure you do this after you bathe and dry your child. And always apply a light moisturizer a few minutes after applying the medicated product. This gives the medicated product more time to work. The moisturizer will help soothe the skin and further ease irritation. As with other products, use a moisturizer that is unscented and mild.
Wash clothing in unscented detergent.
Laundry detergent is one of the most common triggers for atopic dermatitis, especially in toddlers. Switch over to an unscented detergent made for sensitive skin. If you find that this is leaving clothing smelly — because, after all, toddlers can be messy — add a half cup of baking soda to your laundry machine with each wash. It will help absorb and neutralize odors.
With the strategies above, you should at least be able to ease your toddler's atopic dermatitis, if not get rid of it completely. Your pediatrician should be able to provide additional tips and guidance.
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