Telling your child to stop scratching itchy skin rarely works.
Eczema is just too itchy, and telling your child to stop scratching can feel stressful. Stress often makes eczema worse.
Try these methods instead:
Distract your child: Helping your child forget about the itch can be effective. Be sure not to mention the itch, just distract your child with a favorite activity. You can:
- Play peek-a-boo
- Feed your child a snack
- Play with a toy
- Tell a story
Calm a stressed child: Research shows that stress can cause eczema to flare. Stress can also make skin itchier. If you feel stressed, your child often feels stressed. It’s important to find ways to reduce your stress, too.
Pinch skin near a patch of itchy eczema: Yes, a gentle pinch can actually reduce the itch. Just be sure to pinch skin without eczema.
Prevent skin damage caused by scratching
Constant scratching can break the skin. To prevent bleeding and infection, dermatologists recommend the following:
- Keep your child’s nails short: Checking nails after your child’s bath lets you know when the nails need trimming.
- Cover itchy skin: When skin is covered, children seem less likely to scratch. When dressing your child, be sure to:
- Dress your child in loose-fitting clothes made from a soft, natural fiber-like cotton, a cotton blend, silk, or bamboo.
- Consider using eczema mittens and eczema sleeves. Eczema mittens can be effective when eczema flares on your baby’s face. Your baby may still scratch, but the scratching will cause less damage because the fingernails cannot dig into the skin.
Itch relief can be fickle
You may find that a technique works one day and not the next. If one technique fails, try another.