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Eczema Mistakes that Increase the Itch

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This information was reviewed and approved by Elizabeth Gyorkos, PA-C (10/1/2019).

Avoid these common mistakes that make eczema itching worse.


Person applying lotion to their hands

MISTAKE: Using lotion

Creams and ointments lock in moisture better than lotion.

Person washing their body with soap

MISTAKE: Washing with soap

Use a water rinse and a gentle, fragrance-free, dye-free cleanser.

Father bathing their child

MISTAKE: Not bathing or moisturizing

Take a daily bath. Apply moisturizer and medicine within three minutes of getting out of the water.

man applying moisturizer

MISTAKE: Applying moisturizer on top of medication

Topical medicine only goes on active rash. Moisturizer goes on clear skin areas.

person applying lotion to their baby

MISTAKE: Not using enough moisturizer

Apply cream or ointment generously after bathing and hand-washing, and for itching.

man scratching arm

MISTAKE: Scratching

Instead of directly scratching, sharply pat the itchy area and apply moisturizer.

person scooping moisturizer

MISTAKE: Scooping moisturizer with your hand

Prevent contaminating the container by using a disposable spoon or pump to get the moisturizer.

Boy drinking water

MISTAKE: Not drinking enough water

Skin is 60 percent water. Drink plenty of water every day.

woman wearing itchy clothing

MISTAKE: Wearing itchy clothing

Keep skin covered with natural fibers, such as cotton.

girl putting on gloves

MISTAKE: Not wearing gloves in cold weather

Protect hands with silk or cotton liners under your favorite gloves or mittens.

heavy covers

MISTAKE: Sleeping under heavy covers

Change heavy covers for lightweight, breathable blankets to prevent sweating and itching.

woman working on school work

MISTAKE: Focusing on scratching

Keep hands busy by playing with a worry stone, stress ball or another item.

woman looking at menu

MISTAKE: Rushing your care plan

Follow your doctor’s care plan exactly, and ask for help if you can’t get an eczema flare under control.

putting socks on baby's hands

MISTAKE: Not being prepared for the flare

Keep a drawer of soak and seal clothing and other supplies ready for eczema flares.

family talking with school about eczema

MISTAKE: Not talking with school staff

Educate teachers, staff and students about eczema — it’s not contagious. Provide moisturizer for your child to use at school for itching.