With severe eczema, nothing can provide immediate relief like wet wrapping. See the step-by-step instructions on how to wet wrap in my post here. Wet wrapping isn’t a long-term solution and isn’t necessary for mild to moderate eczema, but dry wrapping is!
Dry wrapping is VERY easy to do and you may have tried it without even knowing there was a term for it.
What is Dry Wrapping?
It’s simply heavily moisturizing the skin and covering it with a dry layer, such as mittens or gloves for hands, for an extended period of time.
Why does it work?
The dry layer helps hold the moisture next to the skin and is more effective than just applying moisturizer to the skin alone. Wet wrapping is even more effective as the wet layer will maintain the moisture for extended periods of time.
What are dry wraps?
Dry wraps are clothes or bandages used to wrap and protect eczema skin. You can use clothing made specifically for dry or wet wrapping, but items you already have at home can work too (pajamas, tube socks for hands and feet, etc). Clothing should be form-fitting and made of natural fibers like cotton or bamboo.
What do you need to get started?
- Cream or balm/salve (National Jewish does not recommend Aquaphor)
- (1) Set 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) turtleneck for wrapping the neck, or scarf
- (2) pairs of long white cotton tube socks to cover hands and feet
- (1) sets of gauze bandages for wrapping the face and head
How to dry wrap step-by-step
You can dry wrap your entire body, but if the eczema is that extreme you may want to consider wet wrapping instead. Usually dry wrapping is done on specific parts of the body with chronic eczema or an irritating flare up. I like to lather my hands up with cream and slip on a pair of white cotton socks before I go to bed as it really helps the mild eczema I get between my fingers and on the backs of my hands.
- Moisturize the skin with a cream or balm/salve of your choice, 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.
- Cover the areas to treat with a dry layer of clothing or bandages.
- Leave the dry layer on for a minimum of two hours, overnight is great.
- If you’re able, remove the dry layer every few hours, re-moisturize, and cover with the dry layer again.
Tips for dry wrapping and your eczema child
- Try wet wrapping at night for minimal objection from your child. An added bonus, keep the hands covered to prevent night-time scratching.
- Virgin coconut oil and raw shea butter work great for dry wrapping. We also love Manuka Honey Skin Cream.
- Use caution with long wrapping bandages that could become unwrapped, potentially creating a suffocation hazard. This would be of particular concern if the child wears the wraps to sleep.
- Children’s eczema clothing is made specifically for those with sensitive skin and is great for dry wrapping.
Have you tried dry wrapping? Did it work well for you?