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Our Eczema Trials – Wet Wrap Therapy

Wet wrapping therapy is a miracle short-term fix for moderate to severe eczema. While in no means a cure, wet wraps can offer a much needed break from the everyday stress of dry, itchy eczema. Results can be dramatic after one time, but it will usually take 1-2 days with wrapping 2-3x per day before major changes in the skin can be seen.

Wet wrapping is a commitment (both in time and energy) and can be a challenge getting little ones to cooperate. Good distraction techniques are crucial – read my tips below for wet wrapping and children.

Disclaimer: If you are currently using cortisone, pro-topic, or any other medication to treat the eczema, you must speak with your physician on how to properly use the medication with wet wrapping. Also, before beginning wet wraps you should speak with your practitioner about the process, make sure they’re on board, and determine how long you can safely carry on with wet wrapping. Our physician believed eczema wet wraps could begin to dry out the skin if used for more than one week, so we were always careful to abide by his one-week policy.

What is wet wrapping therapy?

Wet wrapping therapy consists of soaking and sealing the skin in the following way:

  • First, a bath to soak the skin.
  • Afterwards the skin is lightly dried, then sealed with a heavy layer of cream or balm/salve.
  • Next dress the skin with damp clothing or a layer of damp bandages.
  • Then top with a layer of dry clothing or bandages.
  • Leave the wraps on for at least two hours.
  • Add another layer of cream or balm salve, then dress as usual.

Why does it work?

The layer of wet clothing locks the moisture in, giving the creams or balms/salves time to completely saturate and penetrate the skin. In addition, as the water evaporates from the wet layer, it provides a cooling sensation for the skin, which can relieve the eczema itch.

What are wet wraps?

All wet wrapped up.

Eczema wet wraps are the garments or materials used to wrap eczema skin in a damp protective layer. They come in many styles. Some are made specifically for wet wrapping and for eczema children, while some items can be found in your closet (cotton form fitting pajamas, white cotton tube socks for hands and feet, etc).

What do you need to get started?

  • Bathtub filled with lukewarm water
  • Bath oils (only if desired)
  • Towel
  • Cream or balm/salve (National Jewish does not recommend Aquaphor)
  • Topical prescription – only if directed by your physician
  • Spray bottle filled with plain water
  • (2) Sets of clothing or bandages/dressings. Exact garments will depend on areas you want to treat, but can include:
    • (1) one-piece pajamas or top & bottom, form fitting
    • (1) one-piece pajamas or top & bottom, slightly larger
    • (2) turtleneck for wrapping the neck, or scarf
    • (4) pairs of long white cotton tube socks to cover hands and feet
    • (2) sets of gauze bandages for wrapping the face and head

How to wet wrap (step-by-step)

My son had head-to-toe eczema, but the eczema on his face was mild in comparison to the severe eczema on the rest of his body, so we concentrated on the neck down. However, wet wrapping can be done over the entire body, including face and head, or just localized to one part of the body like behind the knees or feet. Basically, only use wet wrapping where you need it most.

  1. Soak in a bathtub filled with lukewarm water (90-96 F or 32-36 C) for 15-20 minutes.  You can add a few drops of a moisturizing or soothing oil to the bath water if you wish. Nothing else should be added. Make sure the areas of the body to treat stay fully submerged in the water.
  2. Pat (never rub) dry with a cotton towel.
  3. Immediately (within 2-3 minutes) moisturize the skin with the cream or balm/salve, making sure to liberally apply on the areas of the body that need treating. The skin should be very moist when finished. You may need to go back and apply another layer in some areas before moving to the next step.
  4. Wet one layer of clothing or bandages in warm, not hot, water. Wring them out until damp, not too wet or dripping. Dress in this layer of warm, damp clothing or bandages fully covering the areas of eczema to treat.
  5. Cover the damp layer with the dry layer of clothing (slightly larger) or bandages.
  6. Leave the wet and dry layer on for a minimum of two hours.
  7. Check the wet layer every once in a while to make sure it’s still damp. If it starts to dry out use the spray bottle of pure water to dampen the clothing again.
  8. Check the temperature of the room to ensure comfort. It shouldn’t be too hot, too cold, or too breezy (if there is a fan).
  9. After at least two hours, remove the clothing or bandages and completely moisturize the skin again with the creams or balm/salve.
  10. Dress as usual.
  11. Repeat two to three times per day or as advised by your physician.

Note: Some people like to leave the wraps on an entire night, sleeping with them on. However, we had a hard time keeping the wet layer damp, so we only used wet wraps during the day when we could keep an eye on the wet layer.

Tips for wet wrapping and your eczema child

Attempting a smile for the camera while keeping one eye on the television.

  • Wet wrapping is long and boring for children, so make sure to have plenty of entertainment and distraction techniques lined up. We relied on TV a lot, which was a treat for our son. Read my post for ideas Itchy Irritated Skin, Scratching Little Fingers – Part Two: Distraction Techniques.
  • If you’re looking for a good natural, non-toxic cream, balm, or bath oil to use during wet wrapping, take a look at those available at The Eczema Company.
  • Use caution with long wet bandages that could become unwrapped, potentially creating a suffocation hazard. This would be of particular concern if the child wears the wet wraps to sleep.
  • Cotton clothing made for children with eczema, such as those found here can be much easier for fast wet wrapping. AD Rescue Wear makes excellent fully body suits and small sleeves for wet wrapping. While they are more expensive, people in the UK may be able to request them on prescription thus bringing the costs down substantially.

Wet wrapping worked wonders for us. How did it work for you? Please share your experiences with us.

61 Comments Post a comment
  1. How important is the dry layer? Does it have a specific purpose or just to prevent the wraps getting other things wet?

    March 23, 2014
    • Hi there – The dry layer is pretty important because it not only helps other things not get wet, but it also helps to seal in the moisture and keeps the wet clothing wet longer. Jennifer

      March 25, 2014
  2. tasha #

    My daughter has had to deal with eczema since the day she was born. We tried creams, ointments, lotions. We even went as far as getting on a plane and going to the children’s hospital in Utah to see what they could do…NO HELP ANYWHERE!!! About 3 months ago she had a really bad brake out! I went online as I have done many times in the past years to look up what I could do, to see if there was anything new out there that we haven’t tried, and I came across a blog that a lady posted that said “I have had to deal with eczema for 35 years and the only thing that has helped is acrylic nails because it cant brake the skin.” I called my mom and she said its worth a try.
    It has been about 3 months and she has never looked better!!! she looks and feels “normal” she’s not embarrassed to wear short sleeved shirts, she feels and looks awesome!! So moms out there that are struggling with this horrible disease, its worth a try!!

    January 13, 2014
    • What a very interesting remedy – I never would have thought of that. But if it works, GREAT! That’s wonderful you found a solution. Thank you so much for sharing!

      January 14, 2014
  3. Lynn Goertz #

    My one year old has been dealing with ezcema since birth and we have tried everything possible…it was not until e were referred by our family physician to a pediatric doctor that specializes in infant ezcema we got relief for the poor little guy..he suggested wet wraps from the beginning it made total sense to me at the time I thought why didn’t I think of that before? We did wet wraps on him for just over a week straight untill it was all cleared up he has been flare up free since before Christmas the only problem area is now his face due to teething and a cold but the wet wraps work wonders his skin was awesome after the first treatment. We are now trying a wet wrap on the face/ head to get it cleared up. Living in Alberta Canada with our climate dry and cold winter is horrible on anyones skin ezcema or not.

    January 7, 2014
    • Hi Lynn – Wow, that’s wonderful to hear such great news! Wet wrapping is really miraculous in how quickly it can clear up the skin. Unfortunately for many, the skin will go back to it’s earlier aggravated condition once the wet wrapping is stopped and if the original eczema triggers are not removed. I’m glad to hear that wasn’t the case with your son. Such wonderful news. Jennifer

      January 13, 2014
  4. Rayne #

    I had eczema as a child but grew out of it at a very young age, I’m 18 now and it came back. It came back in the last year or two, very mildly on the insides f both my elbows. I wasn’t concerned about it until this past month. The patches are huge and unbearable. No one with out eczema can understand the discomfort. So I searched all over the web for some sort of solution and I came across this post and I am so thankful! THANK YOU SO SO SOOO MUCH! I tried the wet wrap for the first time tonight and I haven’t been so relieved in so long. I feel normal! Haha it’s such a strange feeling to not be constantly itching. My arm is not healed completely by any means, but I can tell if I keep this up it’s going to improve. Anyone with eczema should try this. It’s a little awkward to keep a wet rag (or what ever you may use) on your body for so long but the cool wet feeling it’s self felt soothing on my sore arms, and it’s such a relief the outcome. For once I don’t have the urge to scratch until I bleed. I can’t thank you enough for posting the wet wrap process! And much luck for you and your little one!!

    November 19, 2013
    • Rayne – That’s such wonderful news! Thank you so much for sharing your success with wet wrapping. Yes, it really is amazing and can provide wonderful relieve. I’m so glad you found that to be the case.

      November 19, 2013
  5. Tammi Cruz #

    Facial eczema is the worst! Try Made from Earth’s Three Berry Face Serum. I used to have it all over my face, and its the only face serum that when i applied it would take away the eczema. . .face saver

    November 5, 2013
  6. kuneja #

    Hi Jennifer

    I am on my 3rd day of wet wrapping my 4 month old baby on her body because of mild ezcema but i am worried because she started to sneeze and cough..are babies getting cold due to wet wrap?

    October 24, 2013
    • Hi Kuneja – Unfortunately since I’m not a doctor, I cannot say if she’s developing a cold from the wet wrapping, but I’ll say it is very unlikely. If she’s too cold, I would try adding some additional dry layers on top of the wet layers. Just remember to keep the wet layers damp. As soon as they start to dry out, the benefits of wet wrapping can start to reverse and cause dry skin.


      October 24, 2013
  7. Rani #

    My daughter had severe head to toe eczema (from around age 1) hat due to scratching kept getting staph infections. The worst of it was on her face. She was hospitalised and placed on a drip for the staph but was also put in head to toe wet bandages – even her face. They used the elasticated tube bandages and for the one on her face, cut out eye and mouth holes. She looked like a mummy (apart from her beads which she wore each day in hospital) but it worked!

    October 11, 2013
    • Rani – So happy the wet wrapping helped her so much! That’s great!

      October 11, 2013
  8. you’ve got two cute babies , looks like a very happy family ,Wet wrapping therapy is amazing , i am gonna have a try

    October 5, 2013
    • Thank you! Yes, wet wrapping can work temporary miracles. Amazing. But it’s nothing like finding your triggers and eliminating them for good.

      October 8, 2013
  9. If it’s dry wet it. If it’s wet dry it. Basic dermatology 101. Nice article.

    September 17, 2013
  10. Erin #

    Any thoughts on why aquaphor is not recommended by NJH? When my son is at his worst and has a lot of open sores it is the only thing he will tolerate on his skin.

    September 10, 2013
    • Hi Erin – I believe it’s because it acts as a barrier to the skin and doesn’t allow it to breath. Sometimes the barrier is a good thing – for children going to the pool, but are sensitive to chlorine or the same with ocean water. But usually, allowing the skin to breath is essential in good skin health and healing. Jennifer

      September 11, 2013
  11. and this two website. Those webs help me very much. They help me to get to know what happened on my daughter and how to do now and what will happen in the future. Now I get much peace because I found the reason and I know eczema will go and never come back.

    Thank all of moms like Jennifer , share information to cure baby’s eczema

    If not you, I can not imagine what would happen.

    August 31, 2013
    • More great sites, thanks for sharing Nancy!

      September 3, 2013
  12. please read this website, it help me a lot

    August 31, 2013
    • Hi Nancy – Yes, I find steroid withdrawal and red skin syndrome very interesting, but quite sad. It’s sounds so incredibly difficult to go through the withdrawal, but thankfully the results can be quite amazing. I’m happy that this condition doesn’t affect everyone, but it still breaks my heart to see kids go through this. Steroids can be really harmful in some cases, like these, but in small does they can be helpful for some. We opted out of steroids because they did more harm than good in my son’s case. Jennifer

      September 3, 2013
  13. Karen #

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I have lived with eczema for about 20 years now and it’s always been easily managed up until about 2 weeks ago. The itching spread so rapidly and out of control that I felt like I was losing my mind! I didn’t change any of my soaps, lotions, or detergents and didn’t understand why I suddenly had this horrendous outbreak. None of my old tricks seemed to relieve the itching, or the spread of the rash either. Getting desperate, I spent hours researching online and changed my lotions, soaps, and detergents to all natural ingredients but that didn’t seem to make a difference. Four days ago, I found this post and went out and bought everything necessary to wet wrap my leg. Holy cow! The relief from itching was instant! Just for that I could hug you!!! Now, on the 4th day, I can see that the rash is clearing up very well- I would guess that it will be completely clear in another 3 or 4 days. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    June 28, 2013
    • Hi Karen – That’s so wonderful that the wet wrapping has provided you with relief! Such great news! Thank you for sharing your progress with us! I hope things continue to improve for you. Jennifer

      July 2, 2013
      • That is amazing! Is it true that no more than one week the skin will become normal, no rash, no red?

        I wonder maybe I can try it too.

        I just have a little worry that wet will make skin infection, yeast, germ and so on.

        August 31, 2013
      • Hi Nancy – It really can help in a matter of only two treatments. For some, the skin can clear up completely. Yes, it’s recommended to work with your doctor while doing the wraps just in case thee skin becomes infected, which is possibly, but not very likely. And absolutely do not use steroids while wet wrapping without a doctor’s approval. Jennifer

        September 3, 2013
  14. Thanks for the post, very interesting! I don’t think any of my lotions contain mineral I will have to check!

    June 20, 2013
  15. After I initially commented I seem to have clicked
    the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails
    with the exact same comment. There has to be a means
    you are able to remove me from that service? Many thanks!

    April 25, 2013
    • Hi – I’m sorry, but I cannot make any changes to this on my end. You should be able to see an unsubscribe section on the next email you receive about a comment to this post.

      April 30, 2013
  16. Simone #

    I was wondering at what point can you stop the wet wraps. I used them on my baby’s legs and they feel great, however if I leave his legs without socks and pants, he immediately tries to scratch again. How can I stop the itching? His legs look great, without any eczema on them and I’d love to put him in shorts and no socks since I live in a very warm state.

    April 23, 2013
    • Hi Simone – I’m afraid until you figure out all his triggers, the itching will come and go. The Eczema Ease Balm is helpful for itching – I use it on my hands and it’s great for me. Have tried the ScratchMeNot mittens to cover his hands and protect him from scratching? Or are they too warm for your climate?

      April 30, 2013
  17. Lisa #

    Hi, we have wet wrapped my 21month old daughters arms for the last three nights. She has severe discoid eczema, now for the first time in four months, her arms aren’t bleeding, oozing and itchy!! An amazing result, thank you. Xx

    February 21, 2013
    • Lisa, that’s wonderful! I’m so happy for you and your daughter. Such great news!!!!

      February 22, 2013
  18. My 2yo son is currently trying his first wet wrap. He thought it was strange that mommy was putting wet clothes on him but i explained it will help his skin. I need to go buy some bandages so i can wrap his ears where it seems to be the worst. Here’s hoping this helps and we can add this to the routine.

    February 20, 2013
    • Ha! I bet he thought it was strange. I remember my son thinking the same thing, and me as well when I first heard about this type of treatment. What a forgeign concept…wet clothes, really??!! Good luck with the treatment – I hope his gives your son some relief.

      February 21, 2013
  19. mayra #

    Useful information! I’m sad at times, tears run down my face because my 4 month old is suffering in this since he was few weeks old….its sereve atopic dermatitis, i’ve tried everything… even a dermatologist. I want to try this… no harm in trying this out. I hope it works! Thank You!

    February 13, 2013
    • Hi there- Sending hugs your way! It’s so hard, but you guys will get through it. I hope the wet wrapping works wonders for you and your sweet son. Jennifer

      February 13, 2013
  20. Adreanne #

    Hi Jennifer
    Do you have any tips on How to go about finding my triggers? I have been dealing with this for about two years and it just keeps getting worse!

    November 18, 2012
    • Hi Adreanne –

      Sure! It’s all about removal and then reintroduction of suspicious items. This makes me think that I need to write a post about this, so thanks for the nudge :) You can start with food. Remove gluten, dairy, soy, and eggs completely (and anything that could contain traces of these products) for one week, up to one month. Then one item back in for 4 days, then if there is no reaction, add another in, etc. An excellent book for this is “Dealing with Allergies in Babies in Children” Yes, it’s targeted for children, but it has a great easy to follow elimination diet specifically for eczema. Try to get it at your library.

      Then, I’d look at your laundry products. Try using soap nuts – they are very natural and free of allergies. There are some other products you could try, but I find even natural “detergents” can contain harsh ingredients and added fragrances. Try these for a while, wash everything you wear, towels, sheets, etc. The whole house will have to switch over to avoid cross contamination. All family members clothing will need to be washed the same way.

      Do you have any animals? As harsh as this is going to sound, I’d try to find a friend to let them stay with for a few weeks and see how you feel. Clean the house VERY thoroughly once the animals are out to remove all their dander and such.

      Cleaning – try to use simple, make your own recipes using vinegar, water, and baking soda to clean. Not only will these be more gentle on your skin, but they are very gentle on the wallet as well :) There are some good natural product out there you can try as well. Just remember, no fragrance!!!

      If you have throw rugs only, remove them and stick to bare wood floors. Rugs are dust mite and pet allergen magnets. Wash all curtains with soap nuts.

      Clothing – try cotton only.

      Skincare – that’s tricky. You’re going to have to buy a few things and try each for at least one week and see how you do. I have a few things you could try that I love and works wonders on my son. For soap, we use this natural olive oil based soap with only 3 ingredients. Remember the more the ingredients, the harder it is to track down the allergen. We treat his big flareups with this Calendulis Cream. And for everyday moisture, we use this Manuka Honey Skin Cream.

      The skincare above contains ingredients that very rarely trigger allergies or a reaction, but you could still react. Anyone can have an allergy to pretty much anything. So, make sure to do a small patch test on any new items you try before slathering your body with them.

      For shampoo, if you don’t have trouble with eczema on your head, you can try to stick with what you’re using. But, for some, if there is a ingredient in the shampoo that is an allergy for you, just rinsing it off allows it to touch your body and could cause a reaction.

      I’d start there. Let me know how it goes. Feel free to email me directly. I’ll be happy to help you if I can. I have a lot of suggestions for natural supplements you may want to consider taking as well – fish oils, probiotics, etc.

      Good luck!

      November 19, 2012
      • Adreanne Dudley #

        Thank you for all of the advice! Wish me luck! I hope I can find my triggers with your suggestions.

        November 24, 2012
      • Me too! Good luck!!!

        November 25, 2012
      • Deena Rathkamp #

        My 19 year old has been struggling with this for 2 solid years. We’ve tried it all – and the most dramatic thing that helped was moving from the Pacific Northwest to Southern California. We’ve come to learn that for him, when it rains and then especially in the few days after it rains, his eczema flares up horribly. In the Pacific Northwest, where it rained all the time, we never guessed it was the climate. We tried every medicine, every diet, every dust mite theory, 16 physicians, and even moved from a house with well water to a house with city water. Nothing worked except for moving to a dry sunny climate – and even then – when it rains, his body is attacked. My heart goes out to all of the kids struggling with this and to all of the parents.

        December 29, 2012
      • This might sound really silly, but it is possible he’s actually allergic to water or rain? Another thought, is it the mold that grows in rainy or humid climates perhaps? I’m assuming you had him tested for all the molds? Poor guy! At least you stayed strong for him and helped him figure out the trigger. Good for you mamma!

        December 29, 2012
      • Deena Rathkamp #

        I’ve thought of that and have even searched: “Allergic to rain” – Being allergic to water is ridiculous, seeing as how we are made up of 60% water – but yet when one is searching for answers, we’ll turn over every stone. I believe his auto-immune reaction has something to do with the effect of water on mold spores or pollen or some such non-sense, not necessarily the effect of water on his skin (although it’s true – bathing aggravates his condition considerably and is very painful). Mainly I wanted to put the word out there to other parents who have tried everything and have found no relief that placing the child in a different climate may help. It’s financially not easy to just pick up and move and find work and all of that, but when it comes to alleviating the torture of your child, it seems we will do almost anything. Thank you for sharing your blog. Somewhere on your site I read about the high stress of caregivers tending to children with eczema – that was affirming to hear – and I, for one, can vouch for that fact. Regards to you and your family,Deena Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2012 01:51:58 +0000 To:

        December 30, 2012
      • Thank you Deena – yes, we can certainly relate to the hardships of dealing with eczema. I’m very happy to hear you’re finally discovered the trigger, albeit a very unusual one, making it all that much harder to pin point. Take care!

        January 5, 2013
      • Melissa Hope #

        Deena, can you tell us how long you’ve lived in CA? We live in the Pacific Northwest and when we visited San Diego, CA in the spring, our daughter was fine. But when we went at Christmas time, her skin went nuts.

        February 21, 2013
      • Melissa, Sorry for the 7 month delay in responding. My son has lived in Southern California for about two years, currently in San Diego. He is doing better there (seemingly due to less rain and more sun) but still, I am sad to admit, climate is only part of the problem. Being around evergreen trees or a field of irrigated grass seems to set up the pain/exhaustion/eczema cycle. Curative factors: rest and coating his skin in jojoba oil. I don’t think I mentioned before that his autoimmune condition plummeted after he got mono at age 16. Great article to read on the experience of autoimmune disorder is in the Atlantic: “What’s Wrong With Me” by Meghan O’Rourke, August 26, 2013.

        September 11, 2013
  21. Tara #

    I’ve been using the wet wrapping technique for my 8 yr old since he was 4 and he loves it because it really works, better than anything creams/ointments/ lotions or steroids alone. We do it at night after his bath when he’s usually in the most discomfort and by morning he’s btwn 50-100% better if only 50% we repeat in the morning… it has never failed him.

    October 18, 2012
    • Hi Tara – That’s wonderful that it’s helped your son so much. Same here. It truly is a miracle treatment, but the effects from one wrapping are short term. Jennifer

      October 19, 2012
  22. Sam ENG #

    I have a type of eczema on my hands & arms that stings with any lotion I put on it, it itches horribly, and even if I avoid washing my hands too much/doing dishes or certain foods (sugar) I still get it (thanks to hormones). So, I thought I’d try Made From The Earth Aloe Jojoba Creme Therapy and let me tell you-IT WORKS! I’ve been using it for over a month now and it’s like 90% gone-I just had a flare up (due to high stress, no doubt)…so it doesn’t erase it completely but WOW-I’m not up all night scratching and having to suffer with scaley, scabby hands any more! :)

    September 19, 2012
    • That’s wonderful for you! Congratulations! I know it’s amazing when you find something that actual works wonders for your skin. Jennifer

      September 24, 2012
  23. Mamamia #

    I am trying the wet wrap on my right foot which had severe eczema which triggered when I was pregnant with twins (they’re 2.5 years old and I still have the eczema). I hope this works as the steroid my derma prescribes eversince I had this as a child has stopped working.

    I am using Eczemax to moisturize. It hasn’t worked at all when I used it but I am trying it now with the wet wrap moisturizer.

    So desperate for this to go. How much more with kids… :(

    June 25, 2012
    • Hi there – Keep your spirits up, you’ll find what’s triggering this eczema and get it all sorted out. I sure hope the wet wraps work for you. They really can help provide relief, but keep in mind it’s only temporary. Definitely work on finding your triggers to stop your eczema altogether. Jennifer

      June 25, 2012
  24. Rachel Downham #

    Hi Jennifer, Some more informaiton on the use of Comfifast Easywraps can be found at –
    Kind regards, Rachel

    June 19, 2012
    • Thanks Rachel! Any garments that make wet wrapping easier are a great!

      June 19, 2012
  25. I worked with a woman who used to have her son sleep in wet pajama pants. She said it was starnge but that it did help him a lot.

    March 26, 2012
    • Yes, it certainly does sound a bit strange and I was skeptical, but man does it work!

      March 26, 2012
  26. Hi Jennifer
    in the following link you can find a video about wet wrapping

    March 21, 2012
    • Thanks for sharing! Great illustrations!

      March 23, 2012

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