A common mistake is to be too cautious about topical steroids. Some parents undertreat their children's eczema because of an unfounded fear of topical steroids. They may not apply the steroid as often as prescribed, or at the strength needed to clear the flare-up. This may actually lead to using more steroid in the long term, as the inflamed skin may never completely clear. So, you may end up applying a topical steroid on and off (perhaps every few days) for quite some time. The child may be distressed or uncomfortable for this period if the inflammation does not clear properly. A flare-up is more likely to clear fully if topical steroids are used correctly.
“After giving birth to my son (who’s almost 4), then my daughter (almost 2), I had disastrous-looking eczema on my legs. I couldn't wear skirts or shorts without major stares, or someone asking ‘What's wrong with your legs?’ I hate to say it, but the only thing that worked was using tanning booth for 5 minutes, 3 days a week. When I was inside the booth, I covered my face and body with towels and only exposed my legs—and my rashes vanished almost completely within 6 weeks. When I confessed this to my doctor, she nodded her head and told me it was OK as long as I didn't stay in it too long, and that UV exposure often helps eczema. Spending time in the sun outdoors works too, but you might have to stay out in the rays a bit longer. To keep the results up, I also smear my legs with a thick layer of moisturizer at least once a day.” — Suzanne, 39, Montreal