Welcome to the ProSquad! We check in regularly with our team of experts to get answers to parenting's trickiest dilemmas and most pressing issues. Today, our medical expert tackle eczema.


Q: My child has mild eczema with occasional flare ups. What's the best way to care for her skin?

A: Eczema (aka atopic dermatitis), is fairly common among children and with a good skin care routine, this often bothersome skin condition can be controlled quite well. The first step in managing mild eczema is to eliminate any triggers for your child. Do you notice if certain foods or environmental allergens (like cat danger, pollen, etc) trigger a flare-up? If so, try to eliminate these for your child. Other exacerbating factors include overheating of the skin, stress, and frequent bathing.

For a great skin care routine, bathe your child in lukewarm water 2-3 times per week. Make sure you wash with a non-dye perfume and soap free cleanser. Pat dry and immediately apply an emollient cream that is again, dye/perfume/alcohol free (examples include Cetaphil, Eucerin, Aquaphor, or even Vaseline for chapped cheeks). Apply these creams throughout the day to keep skin well hydrated. Make sure clothing and bedding is washed in dye/perfume free laundry detergents and that her clothing is breathable (think 100% cotton).

For times of flare-ups with increased itching and dryness, use of an antihistamine may be beneficial in breaking the itch-scratch cycle. Keep her fingernails short and consider using a low dose over the counter hydrocortisone cream (1%) on the areas that are the most irritated. Use the hydrocortisone twice a day for 10 to 14 days to calm those areas. Continue the above skin care routine as outlined above. For moderate to severe eczema or intense flare-ups, your child should be seen by her doctor in order to come up with an individualized plan of action and to determine what allergies or triggers may be present.


Medical Pro, Melissa Arca

Melissa Arca, M.D. is a board certified pediatrician, mom of two, writer, and blogger who has found her passion in writing and speaking about parenting and children's health. She realizes that parenting is not an exact science and offers her practical tips on handling common parenting dilemmas. In addition, she loves educating parents and children about their health and ways to improve it.

She authors a weekly Dr. Mom column in The Sacramento Bee and appears weekly on KCRA with Dr. Mom tips on a variety of pediatric health topics. Her blog, Confessions of a Dr. Mom, is truly the place where doctor and mom collide.

Dr. Arca received her undergraduate degree from UC Irvine and went on to obtain her medical degree from USC Keck School of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency in 2003 from Children's Hospital Los Angeles and is a member of the AAP Council on Communication and Media.

She lives in Northern California with her husband and children, ages 4 and 6. They visit the ocean any free chance they get.