Ask an expert: How do I stop my child scratching their eczema?

Ask an expert: How do I stop my child scratching their eczema?

My son suffers from eczema and won’t stop scratching his skin. What can I do to stop him from itching?

 

Dr Anthony Bewley, a consultant dermatologist at Barts Health and co-chair of PsychodermatologyUK, a society that raise awareness of the psychosocial impact of skin disease, says: “Research has shown itchiness is the most bothersome symptom of dry skin and eczema. The ‘itch-scratch cycle’ (dry skin and eczema leads to itching, which leads to even drier skin and even more eczema, and so on) can lead to sore, uncomfortable skin that can have a big impact on wellbeing. While scratching provides immediate relief at the time, it can cause the skin to become itchier and worsen symptoms.

(iStock/PA)
(iStock/PA)

“Regardless of this, it’s never a good idea to tell someone to stop scratching. It’s like telling someone with a broken bone to stop hurting. The first step of taking back control of itchy skin involves improving skin barrier function, with better use of emollients and avoiding irritants, such as soap. Making sure the barrier function of the skin is re-established when the skin is inflamed is important, but it’s important to maintain this, even when the skin appears to be OK, especially in those prone to dry skin and eczema.

“But there are also many other important lifestyle changes (getting a good night’s sleep) and other steps (using anti-inflammatory and anti-itch ointments) which can help manage physical dry skin symptoms and any inflammation.​

“Sometimes the temptation to scratch is a habit. The habit reversal technique suggests swapping scratching with an alternative action, for example, you could encourage him to turn his ‘claws into paws’ by clenching his fists whenever he gets the urge to scratch his skin.”

- Press Association

More on this topic

The world must act now to prevent the next pandemicThe world must act now to prevent the next pandemic

Distributors paying out millions for their part in opioid crisisDistributors paying out millions for their part in opioid crisis

Older men more likely to feel lonely than women living alone – studyOlder men more likely to feel lonely than women living alone – study

New study reveals link between football and dementiaNew study reveals link between football and dementia

More in this Section

Made in Munster: The best interior shops in country towns Made in Munster: The best interior shops in country towns

Wedding of the Week: Time for Australian celebrations for bride and groom photobombed by deerWedding of the Week: Time for Australian celebrations for bride and groom photobombed by deer

Podcast Corner: Host relives brother’s death in famous casePodcast Corner: Host relives brother’s death in famous case

'Seán Dunne was one of the most loved people I ever knew''Seán Dunne was one of the most loved people I ever knew'


Latest Showbiz

The Game Of Thrones star plays a blind warrior in the dystopian series from AppleJason Momoa discusses his leading role in sci-fi drama series See

Quaid, known for films including The Parent Trap and The Day After Tomorrow, has been married three times.Hollywood actor Dennis Quaid, 65, engaged to partner, 26

The former Friends star said that ‘people are doing their homework and digging deep into everybody’s underwear drawer’.Jennifer Aniston says more #MeToo revelations ‘will come to the surface’

More From The Irish Examiner