Wet wrapping is a great way of doubling-down on moisture and healing when the itch is at its worst! For little kids who get distressed with the discomfort and pain of permanently itchy skin, wet wrapping can bring a considerable amount of relief during intense flares.
But what if it’s their face that is weeping and sore? Can you wet wrap that as well as arms, legs and trunk?
The answer is yes, but it might take a bit more prep!
Of course it is absolutely vital that you do not wrap your baby in anything that can get tightened round the neck. So it’s not always advisable to wet wrap the face overnight or to use ties or pins; try wet wrapping with tubifast bandages if their faces are particularly bad during the day, for just a few hours at a time.
First, check out our Kit List For Wet Wrapping for the basics; you’re going to need the same warm water, emollient, and wet then dry layers of wraps.
Balmonds guide to wet wrapping eczema on the face
- Get everything together before you start, including prepping the bandages.
- Use a large size of tubifast bandage, depending on the size of you little one’s head, for two whole-head wraps. Cut the bandage to size first, and mark out holes for eyes, nose and mouth with a felt tip pen. Cut these out, then try one out for size before starting on the wrapping.
- Fill a basin or bath with warm (not hot) water.
- Add a splash of Balmonds Bath & Body Oil if you like.
- Put your wet layer bandage into the basin or bath to soak.
- Wet the face with a soft flannel. See if your child can tolerate holding the flannel against their face for a few minutes; you want the skin nicely wet.
- Pat gently dry with a very soft towel, leaving the skin slightly damp.
- Smooth Balmonds Skin Salvation all over the face, paying particular attention to cheeks, nose and forehead. You can be as generous as you like, just be careful not to rub it in.
- Wring out the soaked head wrap thoroughly; you want it damp but not soaking wet.
- Put on the first head wrap.
- Put the dry head wrap on over the top of the damp one.
- Make sure your little one is comfortable and distracted, and that they can see and - obviously! - breathe OK under the wraps.
- Leave on for a couple of hours. When the bottom layer dries out, either take the whole thing off and start afresh, or dampen the wet layer with a spray bottle (being careful not to get the water in their eyes!). It may be that two hours at a time is all that your little one can cope with.
- Reapply emollient when you take the wraps off.
Important points to be aware of
- Don’t wet wrap infected eczema!
- Don’t be rough! Pat dry and pat on ointment; never rub.
- Don’t use ties or pins to secure bandages.
- Don’t wrap the neck, especially not at bedtime.
- Don’t use steroid creams under wet wraps, especially on the face.
- Don’t let the bottom layer dry out.
- Don’t force them! If your child hates their face being wrapped, don’t persist; there’s no point in traumatising someone you’re trying to calm down.
If you don’t want to wrap the whole face like this, you can use cold compresses on the face instead. Hold a wet, cold, clean flannel or soft paper towel to the face for ten minutes, pat dry (but leave slightly damp) and immediately apply an emollient ointment.
Balmonds Skin Salvation is an ideal ointment to use under wet wraps. It protects, moisturises and nourishes and is free from common irritants - and most importantly, is designed so it doesn’t sting sore skin when applied!
See our step-by-step guide to wet wrapping here.
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.