How To Soothe An Eczema Flare-Up

If your child is prone to eczema flare-ups, you’re acutely aware of just how uncomfortable it can be. It can make them miserable during the day and interrupt their sleep (and yours) at night. If your child’s eczema is making them climb the walls and causing you to want to put your head through one, read on.

What Causes Eczema Flare-Up?

There are certain factors that can trigger an eczema flare-up in children and adults. The triggers may be different for everyone, but some of the most common ones are:

  • Dry skin
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Excessive washing
  • Irritants
  • Allergens 
  • Cold, dry air
  • Sweat
  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites
  • Pollen 
  • Sunburn 

Soothing Eczema Flare-up

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for eczema in children or adults, but there are plenty of things you can try to help ease your child’s suffering. As with any treatment protocol, always consult with your doctor before proceeding.

Keep The Moisture In

Eczema itch is caused by acutely dry skin. For most patients, the epidermis is damaged in some way, rendering it unable to retain moisture and block environmental pathogens adequately.

  • The first step to soothing a current flare-up and preventing future occurrences is to moisturize at least twice a day.
  • It’s a good idea to apply moisturizer directly after a bath, helping to trap moisture from the bathwater against the skin.
  • If you suspect that your skin is becoming dry more often, then increase the frequency of use of moisturizer. 

Choose an eczema cream that’s hypoallergenic and free of harsh fragrances, dyes, and other unnecessary chemicals that can irritate the skin and worsen your child’s symptoms. Happy Cappy Moisturizing Cream For Eczema is specially formulated for dry, irritated, eczema-prone skin. It is free from harsh chemicals and contains natural ingredients like licorice root extract and glycerin that help soothe itching and redness and keep the skin hydrated all day long.

Choose The Right Products

And speaking of baths, it’s worth mentioning that standard soaps, shampoos, and similar cleansers can be hard on the skin, particularly for eczema sufferers. Leave those out of your child’s bath time and use a body wash for eczema that’s formulated to be gentle on the skin and free of damaging chemicals.

Most soaps and body washes contain fragrances and dyes that can further dry out the skin and make the condition worse. They also have a high pH level, which is not favorable for eczema-prone skin.

So, choose an eczema shampoo and body wash that is free from fragrances and dyes. Happy Cappy Daily Eczema Shampoo has a low pH level to match it with the pH of normal skin and manage the itching, redness, and irritation associated with eczema prone skin. 

Avoid Scratching

Eczema’s characteristic itchiness is only made worse by scratching, so the first step to soothing a painful flare-up is to 

  • keep your child away from the affected area. 
  • Keep their nails clipped short.
  • If they’re old enough to understand you, try to explain to them that scratching will only make it hurt more.
  • Try covering their hands with mittens while they sleep. 
  • Make sure the gloves / mittens are cotton, though, as other fibers may be too rough.
  • If you still feel the urge to scratch the affected area, don’t scratch it; instead, pat it.

Scratching the eczema rash will only make it worse and can lead to other skin conditions and infections.

Bathtime Care

Bathtime may seem fun, especially for the children. But if your child is experiencing eczema flare-ups, then excessive bathing can be harmful to their condition. Water has the tendency to strip away natural oil from the skin and make it dry.

Dry skin will only make the condition worse when experiencing eczema. 

  • Make the bathtime short–5 to 10 minutes only.
  • Make sure that you use lukewarm water instead of hot water.
  • While bathing, don’t use exfoliating loofah and bath sponges on the affected area.
  • Pat dry the skin, and don’t rub it.
  • Moisturize immediately after taking a bath with an eczema cream when the skin is a little damp.
  • Use an eczema body wash that is free from skin-irritating chemicals.

Avoid The Triggers

There can be triggers, like fragrances, dyes, parabens, etc. in skincare products, or nickel in jewelry, perhaps even pollen for example. If you know what might exacerbate your child’s eczema flare-up, then try keeping them away from it. 

This will help soothe the existing flare-ups and prevent future ones. If you are unable to figure out what might be triggering your child’s eczema, consult an allergist. They can do skin and/or blood tests to figure out what is triggering the flare up.

Dress With Care

Make sure to clothe your child in lightweight, breathable fabrics. Irritating fabrics like synthetics can irritate the skin and worsen eczema. Don’t dress them in tight clothing. It can cause sweating and irritation. 

Wet Wrap Therapy

Wet wrap therapy can be beneficial if your child is experiencing extreme itching, especially at night. But this should typically only be done with a doctor’s guidance.

Usually, a topical moisturizer is applied to the affected area and is then covered with a wet dressing, which is then covered with a dry piece of clothing. This helps relieve the itching and can help the child sleep at night. 

Use A Humidifier

If your child’s eczema is triggered by dry air in winter, then consider use of a humidifier in your home or their room. The humidifier helps keep the air moist and may prevent the skin from becoming dry more often.


Nighttime can be a particularly difficult time for children experiencing a flare-up. The pain and itchiness can make it very difficult to fall asleep. If your doctor agrees, you can use an oral antihistamine like diphenhydramine to calm the itch. These medications may not completely stop the itching, but they can relieve the compulsion to scratch and help your child fall asleep.

Topical Steroids

Checking in with your doctor in person or via a telemedicine appointment is also probably a great idea, as he or she may need to prescribe a prescription topical steroid cream or a newer class of non-steroidal prescription creams that will be used at the same time as your irritant free moisturizing cream. 

Using the right gentle emollient, together with the prescription topical medication, can really help alleviate the flare and bring your child’s skin back to baseline.

Remember, eczema is, at its core, a dry skin condition, so keep your child moisturized. If you think you aren’t applying often enough, you probably aren’t. If you’re certain you are, you still may not be. Use a skin-friendly eczema cream at least twice a day. Try the Happy Cappy Two-Step Eczema Skincare Routine to soothe your child’s itching, irritation, and inflammation associated with eczema.


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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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What does eczema flare-up mean?

Eczema is a chronic skin condition that may come and go from time to time. The time when redness, itchiness, and inflammation associated with eczema show up again on the skin is known as a flare-up. And the times when these symptoms retreat are known as remissions

What happens when you have an eczema flare-up?

When a person experiences eczema flare-up, their skin becomes itchy, dry, and inflamed. In some cases, tiny bumps or blisters may also appear, which may ooze. Eczema flare-ups can be very painful and irritating due to the continuous itch. It may also cause insomnia, depression, and anxiety in adults.

Can you soothe eczema flare-ups at home?

Eczema flare-ups can be managed at home by following a few simple steps, such as keeping the skin clean using a gentle moisturizer and moisturizing the skin with the help of eczema cream. But if your flare-ups persist or worsen even after these care tips, it is best to consult a doctor.

Does apple cider vinegar help with eczema flare-ups?

There are a lot of natural remedies listed on the internet to soothe an eczema flare-up, and apple cider vinegar is frequently cited. However, it may be more harmful than helpful in managing eczema because every skin is different and will react differently. So, it is best to consult your doctor before trying any natural remedy for an eczema flare-up.

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