Eczema is very common among children - and dealing with it is easier than you might think. Here are nine steps you can take to ensure your routine works optimally.

Eczema is very common in children. In the UK, 1 in 5 children suffer from eczema. From a small patch of dry skin on the hand to an itchy rash on the body, eczema can come in many varieties, but it's often something children outgrow. In the meantime, there's a lot you can do to help - here are a few simple steps.

1. Contact your doctor    

It's always a good idea to contact your GP before you do anything else, so you can talk to him or her about treatment options.

2. Put yourself in the picture

Take a moment to read the ingredients listed on the creams and ointments you use. That way, you'll know exactly what you're applying to your child's skin. At Neutral, our specially formulated products contain only mild ingredients, as well as 0% fragrance and 0% dyes, to help you manage normal to sensitive skin.

3. Ask for ointments instead of creams

The best way to treat eczema is to keep your skin well moisturised. A good lotion is essential for daily hydration: Look for products that penetrate quickly while keeping skin nourished and soothed. Neutral intensive repair cream is rich in moisturising ingredients, including glycerine, providing a deeply hydrating formula with plenty of moisture for extra dry skin.

4. Shower or bathe your baby every day

Eczema-prone skin lacks the natural oils and moisture that help protect deeper skin layers from bacteria. These bacteria are what trigger itching and cause rashes, so keep your child's skin clean as it helps prevent reactions.

When washing the skin, always pay special attention to the inner elbows, armpits and the area behind the knees. This is where bacteria collect and these are some of the most common areas for eczema in children.

5. Make sure your child is not too hot

If the skin is kept cool and well ventilated, it will be less itchy. Always check that the bath or shower isn't too hot and that the temperature in the bedroom isn't too high - when your child is hot and sweaty it tends to make eczema more uncomfortable.

6. Choose natural, breathable fabrics

Choosing clothes and bedding made from natural fabrics is best for managing eczema. These fabrics are less likely to cause irritation than synthetic fabrics and are more breathable, meaning the skin doesn't get too hot. It's also important to wash clothes and bedding with a gentle product like Neutral detergent. Our range contains 0% fragrance and 0% dyes and is specially formulated to help prevent irritation to all skin types, even sensitive skin.

7. Check your household products for irritants

As well as skincare products like shampoo and bath soap, remember that household products like washing powder and hand soap can often contain ingredients that irritate the skin. Always check the labels of your products to make sure they don't contain anything that can upset the balance.

8. Try to prevent your child from scratching the rash

It may give immediate relief, but the eczema actually gets worse when you scratch. It's not easy, but try to do what you can to help your child resist the urge to scratch. With older children, you can explain why it's not good and doesn't help. With younger children, try distracting them with a toy, a little play or perhaps something tasty to eat. For babies, small caps are an option, but whatever the child's age, cut the nails short so they don't damage the skin too much if the child does start scratching.

9. Remember that pets can trigger eczema

It's common knowledge that some animals like cats, dogs and rabbits can be a major cause of eczema. This doesn't mean you can't have pets, it just requires a little bit more care in terms of how they live and are played with. Try to make sure they don't sleep close to your child's bed or pram/pushchair, and keep an eye out for licking as this can also be a trigger. It also helps to give your pets' baskets and cages a thorough cleaning regularly to prevent fur spreading around the home.