Tips for Treating and Preventing Eczema Outbreaks

If you are going to successfully treat eczema, it is important to break the cycle. 1) identify the precipitating event or trigger 2) avoid it if possible.

The first step in treating eczema is to identify the precipitating event or trigger and avoid it if possible! You may not see an immediate improvement, but if you are going to successfully treat eczema, it is important to break the cycle! Here are some tips:

  • Avoid situations that will make your baby sweat — don’t pile on blankets or put her in a blanket sleeper.
  • Cut cows’ milk, eggs, citrus fruits, and peanut products from her diet.
  • Wash her clothes in an unscented laundry detergent made for sensitive skin, such as Baby by Seventh Generation.
  • Avoid dressing your daughter (or yourself for that matter) in wool or any other harsh material (cotton is excellent).
  • To keep skin healthy, it is better to avoid long baths. When the skin prunes, this disrupts the moisture-retaining layer of sensitive skin. Aim for frequent, brief baths, in lukewarm water, and use a small amount of very mild cleanser, such as Dove or Neutrogena, or better yet, don’t use any unless she is particularly dirty.
  • A few children with eczema can’t tolerate baths at all and need to be cleansed with Cetaphil, a water-free cleanser for people with sensitive skin.
  • Apply a moisturizing lotion to the affected areas as least twice a day. Apply the moisturizer immediately following a bath, while the skin is still damp. Use a product like Eucerin, Lubriderm, Alpha Keri, Moisturel, Aquaphor, Curel, Aveeno, or Vaseline.
  • A humidifier for the room can also help prevent the skin from getting too dry.
  • In the midst of an inflamed cycle, cortisone cream can be very helpful. It is not recommended for everyday use. Use the mildest form of cortisone that will break the cycle. On the face, an over-the-counter strength cortisone cream, such as Cortaid or Hydrocortisone, will usually be sufficient. Once the cycle is broken, gradually reduce, then stop, the cortisone over one week to prevent rebound.

*Note: We are so impressed with Seventh Generation that we’ve teamed up with them to help get the word out about important topics such as the value of green cleaning products to health.


March 1, 1996

Reviewed by:
Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin MD & Rebecca Hicks M.D.
December 12, 2008

Medical Review on: January 30, 2015
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Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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