Wraps Can Relieve Severe Eczema
If it seems that absolutely nothing
will alleviate that red, cracked, and unbearably itchy skin, you may
want to ask your dermatologist about wet-wrap therapy. This therapy
has proven effective in treating hand eczema and severe atopic
Studies show that wet-wrap therapy can
effectively re-hydrate and calm the skin. In 1 such study, children
with severe atopic dermatitis who had not responded to other
treatments were treated with wet-wrap therapy. All children
experienced significant improvements. In just 1 week, there was a
74% average reduction in itch and the children had less sleep loss.
Improvements to their skin lasted well beyond the 2 weeks of
How to Use Wet Wrap Therapy
As the name implies, wet-wrap therapy involves wrapping wet bandages
around the affected skin. This is generally done before bedtime. The
steps recommended by your dermatologist may differ slightly to
accommodate a patient’s specific needs. However, the basic technique
is as follows:
The patient soaks in a bath with
bath oil. The water should be lukewarm, and the bath should last
5 to 10 minutes.
After bathing, pat the skin
partially dry with a towel. Do not rub the skin as rubbing can
irritate the skin.
Apply moisturizer and medication.
This should be applied to the patient’s skin as directed by your
Moisten the bandages and wrap. The
bandages are generally moistened by soaking them in the
bathwater or applying moisturizer. Note: When treating an infant
or very young child, moistened pajamas may be used instead of
wet wraps. Special care must be taken to prevent these children
from becoming chilled.
Wrap the wet bandages on the area
to be treated. Wet bandages can be used on any area of the body
that the patient will tolerate, including the face.
Lock in moisture by applying dry
bandages over the wet ones.
Benefits of Wet Wrap Therapy
The benefits of wet-wrap
Drawbacks of Web Wrap Therapy
Wet-wrap therapy has some drawbacks. It is time-consuming. If
you are treating a child, it requires a great deal of patience and
supervision. Children tend to squirm when the bandages are being
applied and may try to remove the bandages. As one parent said,
“It’s not a nice thing for any parent to have to do.” However, most
parents agree that the results are worth the effort when other
therapies are not effective.
How to Maintain Results
Wet-wrap therapy is generally used for 1 to 2 weeks. To maintain the
results, you must apply moisturizer frequently throughout the day
and after bathing. Additionally, triggers must be avoided, and it
may be necessary to continue using medication.
If you feel that nothing will bring relief, be sure to talk with
your dermatologist about wet-wrap therapy. It may be exactly what is
needed to “wrap up” severe eczema.
1 Wolkerstorfer A et al. “Efficacy and safety of wet-wrap
dressings in children with severe atopic dermatitis: influence of
corticosteroids dilution.” British Journal of Dermatology, 2000
All content solely
developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
Studies show that
wet-wrap therapy can effectively
and calm the skin.