Bathing and Showering Children with Eczema

Maintaining a healthy skin barrier with a daily bath or shower is an important part of eczema care.

Cleansing, using a complete emollient therapy regime, helps put moisture back into the skin, as well as removing the bacteria, allergens and irritants that build up on the skin during the day. Reducing the risk of infection and irritation.

Bathing and showering can help dry skin and eczema, but there are some important points to consider.

Tips for bathing eczema skin

The water temperature should be lukewarm, not hot, as this can cause drying and skin irritation.

Keep the bath or shower short, ideally 5-10 minutes.

Avoid using soaps, shower gels, bubble bath and shampoos. These products contain foaming agents and can remove natural oils from the skin and cause further dryness.

Use an emollient soap substitute that can be applied directly to the skin or added to the bath to help lock in moisture.

Gently wipe the skin, avoid scrubbing and rubbing the skin, this may cause damage to already sensitive skin. Use soap free cleansers that are plain and unscented, that will not irritate the skin.

Emollients can make baby and bath slippery. Be careful when lifting a baby in and out of the bath or using the bath afterwards, sometimes a non slip bath mat can be used in the bath to prevent slips.

Preventing infection

Wash and change towels, clothes and bath sponges regularly to help prevent infections.

Bath toys can harbour bacteria and mould. Avoid toys that take in water and cannot be easily emptied or dried after use, for example, bath squirters. 

After bathing

Gently pat skin dry using a soft towel, avoiding rubbing as this can damage sensitive skin. As part of the complete emollient therapy, apply a thick, non-fragranced moisturiser all over the body, head to toe, to lock in moisture.

Allow time for the emollient to do its job, wait 20 minutes before applying any other treatments, for example, steroids.

Using baby powder or talcum powder is not recommended. Dress your baby in natural fibres and cotton sleep wear.

If you need advice or support with eczema treatments speak to your doctor.

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