This is our eczema skin care routine for our toddler, and it works! We follow this eczema routine to take care of our toddler’s itchy eczema. We also share our tips for taking care of your toddler’s eczema.
Our Daily Eczema Skin Care Routine for Our Toddler that Works!
We’ll be the first to admit that caring for a toddler with eczema is not easy! Toddlers are changing and growing, and they have their own minds.
But generally, toddler’s thrive on routine. They like to know what is going to happen, how it will happen, and when it will happen. The same applies to a toddler’s eczema skin care routine.
An eczema routine is important for two reasons: 1) physically, it should help with your toddler’s eczema, and 2) if your toddler is on board and knows what to expect with the routine, it will make taking care of your toddler’s eczema easier for you, as a parent.
Getting your toddler on board with an eczema routine is important
Toddlers are at the age where they are able to start helping out with their eczema routines. For example, they can get the lotion bottle if it’s in another room. Toddlers can also start applying their own emollients.
We think it makes things easier when they can participate, but that comes with a caveat. Your toddler can now run away when they don’t want cream applied!
This is our eczema routine, but work with your dermatologist to find one that works for you
Sorting out an eczema skin care routine that works for your toddler will be a personal journey. Along with working together with our dermatologist, we also love talking to other parents about their baby’s eczema routine.
We always learn tips and tricks when we speak to other parents who care for baby eczema. So, in that vein, we thought it might be helpful for you to know what our daily eczema routine is for our toddler.
This is what works for us and hopefully you’ll learn something new or get an idea that will help you manage your toddler’s eczema.
Morning eczema skin care routine for our toddler
After waking up and doing our morning bathroom trip (brushing teeth and doing a wee), we’ll strip down or toddler and stand him up in front of a book or iPad. While he is distracted, we can look over his skin to see if any eczema patches from the night have gone away, or if any new patches have appeared.
Depending on his skin that day, we go either one of these routes.
Morning eczema skin care routine for good days
If the eczema is well controlled on the day, we apply his prescription ointments (steroid and an immunosuppressant) on any eczema patches. Next we moisturize his entire body and face, avoiding any areas that we applied prescription ointment.
When we apply the prescription ointments and moisturizer, we prefer to give him an educational iPad game because not only is he learning, but it requires him to use his hands. That means no scratching and also not rubbing away his medication.
Our favorite iPad app is Endless Reader for this task. It requires just enough hand movement to keep him busy, and it’s not too exciting to cause him to bounce around. There are also lots of natural pausing points, so we can say “ok last one,” when we are done with the morning routine.
It takes a total of about 20 minutes. Then go down for breakfast where we give him a 2.5ml dose of cetrizine (antihistamine) with his meal.
Morning eczema skin care routine for bad days
On days where there his skin has many eczema patches, we leave an hour between applying the prescription ointments and his moisturizer. The hour gap reduces the risk of affecting the efficacy of the prescription ointments.
On these mornings, timing can be tight as we have nursery and work to get to. We will bring the moisturizer to his nursery and apply it there right before drop-off, or ask one of the nursery staff to help us apply it.
Morning eczema skin care for very bad days
On very bad eczema mornings, and/or if he has been very itchy or hot during the night, our dermatologist has instructed us to give him a 10 minute bath. This is to “reset” his skin, so he can start the day fresh (you can read about our bath routine below).
After the bath, we apply the prescription ointments immediately, and leave an hour gap before applying his moisturizer.
Afternoon eczema skin care routine
We’re currently on a routine that doesn’t involve much during the actual day, but on particularly bad days or if he has an eczema outbreak, we’ll give him a daytime bath complete with his standard bath oil solution and moisturizing afterwards.
We do monitor his energy levels and try to make sure he gets a solid nap if he didn’t sleep well at night. Being tired will definitely bring on the itch.
Evening eczema skin care routine
Post dinner, but before we start the bedtime routine, we’ll give him another 2.5ml dose of cetrizine. If he’s actively itchy and uncomfortable that day, we’ll instead give him a 2.5ml dose of chlorphenamine maleate. It’s an over-the-counter sedating antihistamine.
The idea is that it should help him sleep. Though on bad eczema days, it feels like nothing can help him get a good nights rest.
Eczema bath routine for our toddler
We’re not consistent about the timing of his night time bath, though our dermatologist recommends it the last thing before bed. That way, our toddler’s skin is the freshest and most comfortable, so he can get a good night’s rest.
In reality, it’ll be before dinner or after dinner. It really depends on how itchy, active, sweaty and dirty our toddler is that day.
We do the bath with sort of military precision. If you soak in the bath too short, the skin won’t rehydrate enough. If you soak in the bath too long, it will cause the skin to dry out.
We want him to soak in a bath emollient. But we also need to use a body wash to clean, and we also don’t want him soaking in soapy water. The same applies for the shampoo. We don’t want him soaking in shampoo water.
Step-by Step-Bath Routine For Eczema Skin Care
So with all that in mind, this is what we do:
- Fill the tub with water and 3 capfuls of Oilatum bath oil (recommended by our dermatologist)
- Minutes 1-10: Get our toddler in the bathtub and have him lie down for a full 10 minutes so his entire body is soaking in water to rehydrate.
- Minute 10: Have him stand up and quickly wash him with Mustela Cream Wash (recommended by our dermatologist) using our hands.
- We do not use any wash cloth because it can be rough on the skin.
- Three times a week, we wash his head with Oilatum anti-dandruff shampoo. We rub it in, and let it sit for two minutes. During those two minutes is also when we wash his body with the body wash.
- Minute 11: Have him quickly lay back down to wash off the bath wash, then using our handheld shower head, we rinse his head with clean water.
- We do not let the Oilatum bath oil get on his head. Oil on the scalp can cause hair follicles to clog, which in turn will make his itchy scalp even itchier.
- Minute 12: Have him lay back down in the bath water and stand up, so his body picks up a thin layer of Oilatum bath oil.
- Get him out of the tub and very lightly dab his skin dry. The goal is to keep at thin layer of the Oilatum bath oil on his skin.
How to get our toddler to lay in the bathtub for 10 minutes, so his skin can rehydrate
One of the trickiest part of the bath is to get our toddler to stay laying down in the bathtub for a full 10 minutes. Unfortunately, that means no sitting up to play with toys, and no splashing about.
But our easy solution to this – we set up the iPad again on the bathroom counter, out of reach, and let him watch a show. You can also place a stool outside the bathtub and set the iPad on it.
It drives me nuts, but Peppa Pig is a great show for this part of the eczema routine.
Each episode is 5 minutes, so that means 2 full episodes in the bath, then at the start of the third episode, start the body wash, shampoo. Then he finishes the episode as we towel dry him.
We moisturize and apply ointments as soon as we take our toddler out of the bath
The minute we take him out, we moisturize him and apply steroid creams as needed. The best time to apply ointments is right after the bath because the skin is freshest and it can absorb any medicine best.
We also never apply moisturizer on top of any prescribed steroid ointments at night.
We used to apply his steroid ointments, then allow 10-30 minutes to pass, then moisturize his entire body. Apparently that will dilute the steroid cream and spread it to parts of his skin that do not need it.
In the past, we have also tried to apply moisturizer first, then wait 10-30 minutes before applying any steroid ointments. Apparently, that will cause his skin not to absorb the steroid ointment properly.
So the best bet is to apply the any steroid ointments first, then apply moisturizer to the parts of the skin that do not have any steroid ointment applied. That means we sometimes need to carefully apply moisturizer with our fingers, rather than just slathering it all over him.
Our toddler sleeps in an eczema specific pajamas
Lastly, we dress him in his Dermasilk pajamas. Dermasilk is the best we have used. It is a very light clothing made of silk, and they have built in mitts.
But we also alternate with Scratch Sleeves. We absolutely need one or the other to put him to bed.
Finding a daily eczema skin care routine for your toddler
In conclusion, I know it’s a lot, and believe me when I say it’s a real pain in the butt! That’s probably an extra hour I could be surfing my phone or playing with my toddler instead, but the sooner we accepted it, the easier it was to go along with it.
And while the amount of information to keep track of and process was overwhelming at first, doing it for a few days really let it sink in. It is now all like second nature for us.
The most important thing we can tell you is to talk to your dermatologist to find an eczema skin care routine that works for your toddler. But I hope some of our tips and tricks will help.