*This Eczema Treatment OTC post is sponsored by the CHPA’s Educational Foundation, KnowYourOTCs but as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Sincerely Onyi*
I probably don’t have to tell you, but the toddler years bring easily triggered temper tantrums. The bubble machine stopped running, time to cry. Syrup on his pancake isn’t perfectly placed, time to throw himself on the floor. But what’s most recently stood out as a mood changer is eczema on their skin. Both Gozie and Kezie suffer from atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema. They’ve developed inflamed eczema patches on their backs and legs that tend to flare up every once in a while.
What Is Eczema?
A very common medical condition that causes dry, rough and inflamed skin that can result in blisters and bleeding. This is something that 90% of babies and toddlers can develop before the age of 5. Luckily, some may outgrow their eczema by the time they become a young adult.
The incidence of eczema in black children has risen dramatically in the last decade. The numbers have gone from 9% to 17% in black children under the age of 18 since 2010. An increase has also been seen in white and Hispanic children. Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson of Seattle Mama Doc refers to eczema as “the itch that rashes because a patch gets started, and a child can’t help but itch it. Then it blooms from there.”
The hardest part about eczema is that it is very irritating and can leave your little one wanting to itch and scratch which hurts their skin. It can also become painful after they scratch too much and sometimes it’s hard to heal the areas that are in an outbreak. It’s hard to tell a young child not to scratch when it itches so bad. Here are some handy tips to help soothe and bring relief to your toddler suffering from eczema. For more on treating dry skin, check out this expert post on KnowYourOTCs.org
What’s Aggravating the Eczema?
Products With Fragrance and Dye
Consider the products you are using from laundry detergent to the lotions. Try to steer clear of fragrances and dye because they can be a trigger for your child’s eczema. Try swapping out for fragrance-free products and see if that helps. When you do this make sure to wash bedding and more, so you can see if it helps reduce or stop the outbreaks from happening so often.
Be aware of taking your toddler to the pool and letting them play in the chlorinated water. This can trigger eczema and dry out their skin. Since we go to swimming lessons weekly, I suggest bathing well right after they get out to try and get rid of some of the chlorine that is still on your toddler’s skin. Then follow with a thick lotion or ointment to keep the body’s moisture right where it is.
The dryness of winter can remove the moisture in the air and in turn the moisture in your skin! Eczematic skin already has a hard time retaining moisture; best practices recommend using an ointment to create an extra barrier for trapping in the much-needed moisture.
With summer on the horizon, be aware that heat is very harsh on the skin. When you are in a hot environment for an extended time frame, it can make eczema stay in a flare and be pretty hard on your little one. If you can, try to limit outdoor time and if you do go out, do early morning and evenings when it isn’t as hot. Dress in clothes that allow airflow to help keep them cool, apply sunscreen, and then try and get them cooled down as soon as you get indoors.
Keep A Food Journal
Consider starting a food journal if you find your toddler keeps breaking out with eczema. Sometimes the food they are eating can trigger the outbreaks. You might be surprised to see that some of the foods correlate with eczema over time. We discovered that cow’s milk is a huge aggravator for our toddler’s eczema.
What Are The Best OTC Treatments For Eczema
Eczema remedies that are over the counter (OTC) are medications you can buy without a prescription.
Use The Correct Moisturizer for Your Skin Type
Normal skin can best maintain moisture with the use of water-based moisturizers.
Dry skin needs to restore and retain moisture. This is typical for eczema prone skin. The best eczema treatment over the counter will come in a barrier forming oil or ointment form.
Oily skin can often lead to acne and need light moisturizers that are water-based and noncomedogenic.
Change Product Choices
Switching to products that are fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and clear of harsh chemicals can help avoid or even alleviate product choices. Options with colloidal oatmeal or ceramides are great for creating a barrier to keep moisture in. Niacinamide is another ingredient that can be helpful for calming down redness and inflammation.
Using fragrance-free laundry detergents and avoiding fabric softeners are another great way to reduce eczema flares.
For Eczema flares, steroids Over the Counter can help
Over the counter steroids come in a mild strength that quickly reduces inflammation and itching. Frequently, providers recommend OTC steroids for the first line of treatment in mild eczema. It is helpful to be aware that long term use of potent steroids or prescription strength steroids is not ideal for sensitive skin and can lead to hypopigmentation and thinning of the skin.
Does anyone in your family suffer from dry skin? Did your little one grow out of eczema flares? Let us know!