Wet wrapping for eczema is not a complicated process, except for the difficulty of actually wrapping a wriggly and uncomfortable small person! The important thing to know is that it only requires only a few very simple things, and most of them can be easily substituted for items you already have.
After bathing your little one, or washing the area (ie arm or leg) that you intend to wrap, you will need these three things:
- Wet bottom layer
- Dry top layer
What emollient can I use?
You can use any non-steroidal emollient ointment that your child’s sensitive skin will tolerate; obviously we recommend Skin Salvation as a safe, natural, non-irritant, unperfumed salve, and one that is unlikely to sting* sore skin. See why it’s a perfect balm for wet wrapping here.
*96% of people (out of a survey of over 500) said Skin Salvation did not sting on application
What can I use for the wet bottom layer?
The bottom layer needs to be soaked in warm water and then wrung out, before you put it on your child.
You can use anything that is close-fitting, and made of fine natural fibres (cotton is ideal) for this step, but tubular bandages are probably the most common and most convenient bottom layer for wet wrapping. You can put damp tubular bandages on arms and legs very easily, and there are even larger bandages that fit over the body if your baby or toddler is small enough.
You can also use a close-fitting stretchy all-in-one sleep suit, a roll of gauze bandages, or fine cotton socks/gloves for this layer, depending on the area you’re wrapping. You just need it to be light, comfortable, cotton, and close-fitting. You don't want to wrap your child in something bulky and uncomfortable.
What can I use for the top layer?
Again, you can use whatever best suits your child and the area you’re wrapping, so long as this layer is dry, fine, close-fitting and breathable.
So you could use another layer of tubular bandages, or gauze bandages. You could use dry socks or gloves if you’re wrapping feet or hands. You could put a dry, light, close-fitting sleep suit or pyjamas, even leggings and a long-sleeved top, on over the damp tubular bandages. Anything that is light, comfortable and covers over the whole of the bottom layer will do.
This series of articles about wet wrapping focuses on using wet wraps with emollients, not with topical steroids. Always consult with a doctor or nurse if you’re using steroid creams as their potency may be increased when used under wet wraps and could damage the skin.
Skin Salvation is an ideal ointment to use under wet wraps. It protects, moisturises and nourishes, and is free from common irritants. Most importantly of all, it has been formulated so it doesn’t sting sore skin when applied!
Skin Salvation balm with hemp and chamomile, from £7.99 for 30ml
Balmonds Bath & Body Oil with hemp and olive, £12.99 for 200ml
Balmonds Natural Shampoo & Body Wash with nettle & chickweed, £19 for 200ml
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.