You've heard of wet wrapping (aka wet wrap therapy, or wet dressing for eczema), but did you know about dry wrapping? Read on for more information!
Dry wrapping is a slightly lower-stress version of wet wrapping! It dispenses with the damp lower layer of wraps (bandages, socks, gauze or whatever else you use) and just uses emollients and a clean, dry, dressing over any patches of inflamed and itchy skin.
Why do people dry wrap eczema?
Well, moisturising then covering damaged, inflamed skin can really intensify the hydrating effects of whatever emollient you’re using! So it’s basically doubling-down on the moisturiser and really letting it work its regenerative magic without drying out. It's the same theory behind smearing on balm and wearing socks to bed in order to heal cracked heels.
Wrapping can also reduce the itch, by acting as another protective layer in lieu of the skin’s own robust barrier function, just the same as a good emollient ointment like Skin Salvation does. It'll prevent the air from drying out the skin any further, protect from irritants and dial down the itchiness.
Moisturising then covering up is a really effective way of breaking the infernal itch-scratch cycle, allowing skin time, space - and vital moisture! - to heal under the wrap.
What do people use for dry wrapping?
You can use whatever works best for you, on whatever area of the body you need to treat.
For hands, you might use specialist cotton or bamboo gloves. For feet, fine cotton socks. You can wrap wrists or ankles with gauze from a roll, or use tubular bandages. You can use close-fitting cotton or bamboo vests, light, form-fitting, long-sleeved tops, specialist eczema underwear or anything else that is made of hypoallergenic natural fibres and will be comfortable to wear close to your skin for several hours.
How do you dry wrap for eczema?
Here are five simple steps for dry wrapping eczema:
- Clean the area of skin that needs special attention with a soap-free, unperfumed wash (such as our Natural Shampoo & Body Wash).
- Pat dry (but not bone dry!) with a soft towel
- Apply an emollient ointment like Skin Salvation generously to the area
- Cover with a fine, close-fitting bandage or other garment
- Leave on for 4-6 hours
Skin Salvation is an ideal ointment to use under dry 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!
In this series of articles about wet and dry wrapping, we’re focusing on using wraps with emollient creams, 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 balm with hemp and chamomile, from £7.99 for 30ml
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.