Wet dressing, or wet wrapping, for eczema is a strategy for decreasing itchiness and increasing moisture retention in sore, dry, or inflamed eczema.
It can be very useful during intense flares or when small children can’t sleep because of the distress and discomfort of their itchy skin. Done properly, it can be a really effective way of breaking the itch-scratch cycle that plagues so many eczema sufferers!
Also known as 'wet wrap therapy', the process consists of applying emollients, then using two layers of dressings or wraps, one damp and one dry, to cover the areas of inflammation. Parents generally wrap their children overnight, but it is also possible to wet wrap feet, arms, legs or hands at any time.
Wet dressing tends to be done for a few hours at a time. That could mean overnight, or for periods of four to six hours during the night or day. Once the bottom layer of dressings has dried out, they either need to be re-dampened with a spray bottle, changed or removed completely.
The process consists of the following steps:
- Pat dry
- Apply emollient
- Put on damp wet layer (soaked then wrung out)
- Put on dry top layer
- Leave for 4-6 hrs or overnight
- Remove both layers
- Put on clean layers or fresh clothes.
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!
In this series of articles about wet wrapping, we’re focusing on using wet 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.