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Treating Eczema

by Deborah Borchers, M.D. and Sarah Springer, M.D.

Have a question? Ask our panel of experts.

Q:Our son is prone to eczema, and it's leaving dark marks. Someone told us that wrapping the affected area with plastic wrap will get rid of the rash. Is this true?

A:No. Plastic wrap would not allow any air to get to the skin (and I'd be afraid that a young child would pull it off and put it in his mouth). Eczema is a chronic condition characterized by rough or itchy patches of dry skin, and it requires close care. To treat it, I'd recommend applying Vaseline, or an ointment called Aquaphor, to the child's entire body twice a day. Stick to this schedule and the cracked or irritated skin should heal within a few weeks. Your physician may also recommend either an over-the-counter or prescription topical steroid cream.
--Deborah Borchers, M.D.

The dark, brown marks are "post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation," and are a normal reaction to minor inflammation. The more melanin your skin has, the darker the marks will be, though they should fade with time.
--Sarah Springer, M.D.
International Adoption Health Services of Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh

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