Dry, scaly patches of skin. Constant itchiness that Just Won’t Stop. Eczema is tricky, particularly when manifested on children’s skin. This skin condition—in which the skin barrier doesn’t adequately hold in moisture, causing skin to become extremely dry—can become even more challenging in winter months. Low winter temperatures and windy conditions outside mix with radiant heat inside to exacerbate symptoms. In Ayurvedic terms: soap is cooling, drying, and astringent which can flare the vata component in skin and push the skin out of balance, resulting in eczema. Cleansing with soap should be followed with soothing moisturizers and oils to help fight off this imbalance and protect the skin from eczema flares ups.
What’s the best way to deal with wintertime flare-ups for a condition that affects up to 18 percent of all babies and children? Some suggestions for skin care from the National Eczema Association 2014 include taking apple cider vinegar baths, applying sunflower seed or coconut oil to the skin, and taking vitamin D or probiotics.[1,2] Because natural and food-based ingredients can be allergenic, it’s best to talk to your dermatologist about the best burgeoning treatments for your little one prior to starting a new treatment regimen—no matter how “healthy” or “natural” the remedies may seem.
Some safe strategies for combating childhood eczema include:
- Bathe with lukewarm water, not hot
- If you need to cleanse the skin, use soap-free alternative
- Try a non-foaming cleansing oil
- Use thicker creams, ointments or oils to support the skin barrier properties of the skin. Oil has been shown to enhance the skin barrier function in babies.
- In severe cases, intermittent use of occlusion or wrapping the skin with an impermeable material such as plastic wrap can help lotions and oils penetrate and provide deep hydration.
Check out our free Guide to Managing Eczema in Children eBook!