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To help avoid dry skin, you should give your child a daily bath using lukewarm water and a mild, moisturizing soap or soap substitute. Afterwards, cover him with a moisturizer as soon as possible to seal the moisture into his skin.
Although there are many types of moisturizers, a greasy ointment will likely work best. These can include Vaseline and Aquaphor, although creams may also work well. Avoid lotions and oils. When choosing a moisturizer, you may have to try several and just see what works best for your child and be sure to reapply the moisturizer at least two or three times a throughout the day.
Nonsteroidal prescription creams and lotions can also be used instead of an over-the-counter moisturizer. These include Hylira, Mimyx, and Atopiclair.
When your child's eczema flares, the typical treatments include topical steroids and the newer non-steroidal medications like Elidel (pimecrolimus) and Protopic (tacrolimus). Keep in mind that there are warnings about using Elidel and Protopic in children who are under two years old or for continuous use over long periods of time.
Topical steroids can range from over the counter hydrocortisone creams, which are very mild and may even be used on the face, to stronger mid- and super-potent steroids that require a prescription. In general, super-potent steroids are avoided in children, and intermediate or mid-potency steroids are more commonly prescribed, such as Cutivate (Fluticasone), Dermatop (prednicarbate), Elocon (mometasone), Locoid Lipocream (hydrocortisone butyrate) , and 0.1 percent triamcinolone. Even these can cause side effects, including skin thinning and stretch marks if they are used for to long in the same place though. They should also not be used on a child's face or under occlusion, like under a diaper.
Newer immunomodulators or steroid-free topical medications are also available to treat children with eczema, including Elidel and Protopic. They are generally used twice a day in children over age two and can be applied to all areas where your child has eczema, including his face. They may also help avoid flares if you then begin using them at the first sign of itching or a rash.
Antihistamines are also often used as part of a good treatment regimen for eczema. They are particularly helpful if itching is interfering with your child's sleep, in which case a sedating antihistamine, like Benadryl (diphenhydramine hydrochloride) or Atarax (hydroxyzine hydrochloride), may work well. Cold compresses can also be effective at helping your child control his scratching when his skin itches.
Other treatments are also available for very difficult to treat cases of eczema, including using wet dressings, oral steroids, ultraviolet light therapy, and immunosuppressive drugs, like cylcosporin.