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Is it possible to control eczema?

Yes, it is possible to control eczema. And, controlling eczema has benefits.

Controlling eczema can:

  • Decrease flares

  • Improve your child’s health and quality of life

  • Reduce the amount of medicine needed — and the need for medicine

Understand eczema

Before learning how to control eczema, it’s helpful to learn a bit about eczema. This can help you understand what your child is experiencing. It can also help you care for your child’s eczema.

When eczema is under control, a child can sleep peacefully.

sleeping baby. When eczema is under control, a child can sleep peacefully.

Start by learning basic facts about eczema:

  • Eczema causes inflammation in the skin.

  • The skin becomes intensely itchy.

  • Scratching tends to worsen the eczema, but it can be difficult to stop scratching because the skin is so itchy.

  • Eczema is not contagious, but the dry, itchy, and inflamed skin may cause people to think it is.

  • This common skin condition often begins before age 5.

  • The medical name for this type of eczema is atopic dermatitis.

Follow a treatment plan

By following the treatment plan created by your child’s dermatologist, you can reduce flares. Some children can even have clear skin.

Once your child’s skin clears, you can help keep the skin calm. Studies show that you can do this by:

  • Taking good care of your child’s skin

  • Helping your child avoid what triggers the eczema

  • Using medicine (only some children)

Control dry skin

When someone has eczema, the skin can actually get drier from a bath unless a moisturizer is applied immediately after the bath.

Keeping the eczema under control can help your child:

  • Feel comfortable

  • Have fewer flares

  • Reduce how severely — and how long — eczema flares

  • Prevent eczema from worsening

About using medicine to control eczema 

If your child’s eczema flares frequently or diminishes your child’s quality of life, a dermatologist may recommend applying medicine to skin that flares often.

Instead of applying medicine only when eczema flares, you’d apply a different medicine 1 to 3 times per week to skin that tends to flare. The new medicine would be less potent.

Studies show that patients treated this way need less medicine.

The good news about eczema

As your child grows, eczema tends to become milder. For many children, eczema clears completely.

As there is no way to know whether a child’s eczema will disappear, keeping eczema under control is important.

Happy boy

Quiz and expert tips

Are you ready to control your child’s eczema?

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Questions parents often ask a dermatologist about eczema

Getty Images

Maguiness S, “Severe and refractory eczema: What now?” (2012, August). In Lio PA (Chair), “What's boiling over: Atopic dermatitis and other eczematous conditions.” Forum presented at the Summer Academy Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, Boston, MA.