Symptoms of skin conditions like eczema can affect your whole family, but not all hope is lost! We've partnered with
La Roche-Posay to introduce you to the helpful LIPIKAR AP+ products you can use for dry, itchy skin and the effective tweaks you can make to restore your child's healthy routine — and your family's happy life.
For many parents, maintaining a healthy routine for your family can be a struggle. But when you have a child with eczema, this can prove even more difficult. Between the constant dryness and discomfort and elusive triggers, there's something about the skin condition that throws any semblance of consistent skin care out the window as you grapple for a remedy. And more often than not, it's not a one-solution-fits-all situation. It takes time (and patience) to find what works for you and develop good skincare habits, both at home and on the go. The good news is that, by tackling your family's skin health day by day, you can eventually form a routine that you and your child are comfortable with. Whether you have a child with eczema or even a partner with extrasensitive skin, we've created an actionable 21-day skincare calendar that will get your entire family back on track toward healthy, happy skin.
Day 1: Start Moisturising Frequently
The earlier you can create a habit of frequently moisturising, the better — especially for kids who have dry, itchy, or eczema-prone skin. One of the known triggers of flare-ups is an altered skin barrier, and ingredients such as shea butter and glycerine can help restore that barrier to protect it from irritants.
A daily after-shower, before-bed skincare routine is commonly recommended to soothe and protect skin and prevent nighttime scratching, but many dermatologists also advise applying moisturiser after washing your hands to further soothe and hydrate. An option like
La Roche-Posay LIPIKAR Balm AP+, which contains 20% shea butter, is suitable for both babies and those with eczema and will help restore the skin's natural barrier and provide 24-hour itch protection.
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Day 2: Go Fragrance-Free
While there are many triggers that could be contributing to your child's skin sensitivity, a common one is synthetic fragrances. Avoiding products with added fragrances, like soaps and laundry detergents from your daily routine is a good place to start.
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Day 3: Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is always important for internal health, but it's also important for skin health. Those with eczema already have difficulty retaining moisture in their skin, so make it a priority to drink adequate amounts of water (that's around eight 200 ml glasses of water a day) to prevent further dehydration.
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Day 4: Develop a Healthy Shower Routine
When you have sensitive skin, even something as seemingly innocuous as a daily shower could be causing more harm than good. Avoid overexposing your child's skin to high water temperatures for extended periods, as this can strip skin of its natural oils. Instead, get in the habit of bathing in lukewarm water for five to 10 minutes at a time. After bathing, gently pat skin partially dry (about 80 percent) with a towel, and apply balm while you're still damp. The product will absorb into your skin as you air-dry, locking in moisture.
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Day 5: Reconsider Soap
Now that you've got the water logistics sorted, it's time to narrow in on the proper products for washing up. Not all soaps are created equal, and in many cases, they could actually be
causing dry, itchy skin. Try switching to a soap substitute, also known as a syndet, such as the La Roche-Posay LIPIKAR Syndet AP+, for an extragentle wash. This cream-gel formula locks moisture into the skin and protects against the drying effects of water (an especially pertinent concern in places with hard water, such as London). Plus, it's suitable for the whole family, even newborn babies.
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Day 6: Regulate Sleep
Sleep is incredibly important for health and development, but it's also important for maintaining skin health. After all, sleep helps the skin produce collagen, the protein that promotes hydration. A clinical study from La Roche-Posay showed that nine out of 10 children with eczema suffer from sleep issues, spending up to one quarter of the night scratching. If your child is losing quality shut-eye due to scratching or discomfort through the night, this can create a never-ending cycle of sleep deprivation. Creating a consistent bedtime routine and sleep schedule can help train your child's body to fall asleep (and wake up) with regularity. Furthermore, as part of the clinical study, La Roche-Posay found that bathing with
LIPIKAR Syndet AP+ then moisturising with LIPIKAR Balm AP+ before bed helped children scratch up to two times less at night, helping them get a good night's sleep.
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Day 7: Keep It Cool
Because eczema affects the skin's ability to control body temperature, those who have it often feel hot — and heat tends to make the skin feel even itchier. Keep the temperature in check and make sure your child's bedroom is cool and well-ventilated, especially at night and during warmer months. In addition, make sure the bed sheets are breathable and lightweight, and avoid piling on the heavy blankets in order to prevent excessive sweating.
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Day 8: Use a Humidifier
Dry air can worsen already dry skin. To prevent flare-ups, invest in a humidifier to improve air quality and help your child's skin stay hydrated, especially through the night. A cool-mist kind will help keep the air moist without raising the room temperature.
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Day 9: Clear the Air
Keep the air in your home free of allergens like mould, dust, pollen, and pet hair (all of which can cause skin irritation) by vacuuming frequently and using a HEPA air purifier.
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Day 10: Rethink Your Laundry Routine
Similar to soap, your laundry detergent can contribute to skin irritation. Avoid scented detergents, fabric softeners, and even tumble dryer sheets. In addition, it may be a good idea to put clothes, sheets, and towels on an extra rinse cycle to remove any leftover residue.
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Day 11: Reevaluate Current Clothes
Before considering new clothes for your child, take stock of their current wardrobe situation: have all tags been removed from clothing? Have all new items been washed (don't forget the extra rinse cycle!) before use? Tags can rub against the skin and cause irritation, while new clothes can contain chemical finishes that may trigger sensitivity.
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Day 12: Opt For Light-Coloured Clothing
The dye contained in darker clothing can also be irritating for the skin and cause itchiness. Thus, dermatologists recommend sticking to light colours to avoid irritation.
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Day 13: Switch to Breathable Fabrics
When it comes to clothing, stick to fabrics that let your child's skin breathe, like a natural cotton. Avoid itchy materials like wool, and synthetic ones like polyester, which can trap sweat and bacteria and suffocate the skin (not to mention expose it to the harsh, harmful chemicals that go into producing the fabric). This goes for bed sheets, too!
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Day 14: Time For a Wash
Speaking of bed sheets, if you're not putting clean sheets on the bed at least once every week or two, start now! Sheets can accumulate dead skin, hair, sweat, body oil, and dust, so washing them regularly will help remove buildup. Additionally, some dermatologists even recommend investing in dust-mite-proof bedding to further reduce the risk of skin irritation. As a general rule of thumb, follow this guide to gauge how often you should be washing your sheets:
Once a week: ideal
Once every two weeks: acceptable Once a month: risky
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Day 15: Develop an Out-of-Home Plan
Understandably, it's easier to create healthy habits in the familiarity of your own home rather than in an unpredictable environment. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try! Developing a plan of attack for you and your child to deal with sensitive skin on the go can help you maintain some sense of control. For starters, try to avoid using unfamiliar soaps, and instead keep a bottle of the syndet in your bag to use instead, as well as the balm to soothe dry skin while out and about.
You can also carry a pocket-size itch relief stick such as the
La Roche-Posay LIPIKAR AP+ Stick, which is easy for kids to use at school and for mum to keep in her handbag. Teaching your child to use the stick rather than scratching to relieve itching will help restore the skin barrier rather than further damaging it with little nails. Its formula is safe on any part of the body, and the kid-friendly packaging enables children to manage their eczema like grown-ups.
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Day 16: Limit Sun Exposure
If possible, try to limit your child's outdoor play to times of low UV exposure, like early morning and late afternoon. In general, encourage them to keep under shade as much as possible and always apply (and reapply) a kid-friendly sunscreen like the
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Baby Lotion SPF 50+ to prevent sun damage.
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Day 17: Clean Up After Play Time
Between bacteria from the sandbox and nickel from the swing chain, the playground is rife with possible skin irritants. Leave them at the playground by doing a proper cleanup after every play session, whether that means a quick syndet wash and balm application in the bathroom or a more thorough shower at home to remove sweat. Even if sweat has evaporated, the leftover residue can cause itchiness or trigger flare-ups.
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Day 18: Switch to Natural Household Cleaners
Similar to laundry detergent, other peripheral household products, like cleaning sprays, can cause dryness or irritation when they come in contact with the skin. Prevent this by swapping out your harsh chemical cleaner for a natural option, such as a
vinegar and water mixture.
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Day 19: Keep a Food Diary
While those with eczema are more likely to have food allergies, it can be hard to make the connection between skin and diet. Because of this, it may be beneficial to track what your child is eating to identify any potential triggers. If you notice consistencies between certain foods and subsequent flare-ups, you can try an elimination diet or talk to your child's doctor or dermatologist about performing an allergy test for further results.
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Day 20: Manage Stress
Many dermatologists encourage you to consider the connection between stress and skin if symptoms don't slow with topical treatments alone. Help your child learn to prevent anxiety and manage intense emotions through things like regular exercise, breathing techniques, or even meditation.
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Day 21: Have Patience and Don't Give Up!
Healthy routines take time to create, so if these don't stick right away, keep at it! Diligence is key to gaining control of eczema and skin sensitivity, and it's important to note that maintenance is just as important (if not more so) as treatment. Soon enough these habits will become second nature. If you don't see improvement, consider seeing a doctor or dermatologist to seek other avenues of treatment for your child.
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