I’m inspired by the efforts of like-minded individuals and organizations around the world to help eczema families via social media platforms. I came across American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) on Pinterest and they had pinned a Dermatology A: Z Video Series. I asked to feature their videos here, and their team of public relations is helpful and responsive, and made the special effort of introducing me to dermatologists who assisted with my questions and together, we made this series available to you.
Today’s video is “Eczema Tips: How to Help your Child feel Better“. For this video, I’ve interviewed Dr Lawrence F. Eichenfield, M.D., who is the Chief of Pediatric and Adolescent Dermatologyof Rady’s Pediatric Eczema Center, and Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine (Dermatology), at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine. Dr. Eichenfield’s clinical interests include atopic dermatitis, and serves on the editorial boards of several journals and periodicals, and is Co-Editor in Chief of Pediatric Dermatology.
MarcieMom: Thank you Dr Lawrence for taking time to help with this AAD skincare series, and in particular, with the eczema tips for children. It was mentioned that if the child’s eczema is infected, parents can discuss (twice weekly) bleach bath with the doctor.
What are the symptoms of an infected eczema? Is that the same as skin inflammation, which can occur at the underlying layers of skin and therefore not be visible? Would bleach bath be recommended for skin inflammation as well?
Dr Lawrence: Infected eczema can appear as unusual oozing or honey-colored crusting. It can occasionally show as pus bumps, or as tender, red, warm skin. Inflammation can also appear red, as well as “rashy” and scaly. The bleach baths are usually recommended for children who have problems with skin infections, rather than just the inflammation seen with simple eczema flares.
MarcieMom: It was mentioned to pat the skin partially dry after shower, before moisturizing. Many parents aren’t sure how to gauge partially dry – sometimes when there’s too much water on the skin after bath, the application of moisturizer seems to feel too ‘slippery’, versus sometimes it feels too much resistance to apply on already dried skin after shower. The guideline is to moisturize 3 minutes after shower. All these seem hard to implement ‘precisely’. What’s the practical way to moisturize?
Dr Lawrence: First of all, don’t get “hung up” on the perfect patting the perfect timing of application of moisturizers. Pat off enough water so the skin seems dry enough to easily apply the moisturizer, and don’t worry if it’s 5 or ten or even 15 minutes after the bath or shower.
MarcieMom: I understand thick emollients are longer-lasting and suitable to trap more moisture after shower and also to last through the night. Is there a risk that too much application of thick emollients clog pores of children? Would rotating between liquids and creams help and also a little rubbing of skin during shower to make sure emollients don’t get ‘piled up’ on the skin?
Dr Lawrence: There’s lots of variability in skin types, degrees of skin dryness, and environmental/weather factors that influence how moisturizers feel on the skin and are perceived by the users/families. Usually there aren’t problems with folliculitis or pore-clogging. When the skin is more dry, gooier may be better. If less so, less occlusive moisturizers are just fine.
MarcieMom: On humidity levels, what is the recommended humidity level to not strip moisture from the skin but also not encourage the growth of dust mites and mold?
Dr Lawrence: There is no set “perfect humidity,” and the skin often does a good job of adapting to different humidities, though eczema skin may have more of a problem doing this. Moderation is probably the mantra– extreme dryness or excessive humidification may create more troubles!
MarcieMom: Thank you Dr Lawrence, your advice is certainly useful and a relief for parents managing skincare for their eczema children that we don’t need to be too worried to ‘perfect’ it!