Wet wrapping & garments for the treatment of eczema
Author: Molnlycke Health Care
Eczema, particularly in babies and children, can be difficult to treat. Symptoms can vary as can the severity. Rashes can appear anywhere on the body – babies commonly have eczema on the face, scalp, outer arms, legs, and around the nappy area; children and adults tend to have eczema on the neck, elbows, knees, wrists and ankles, where the skin creases.
Because the skin becomes dry and itchy, those with eczema tend to scratch, which in turn can cause damage to the protective layer of the skin causing it to weep, crust, bleed, and sometimes become infected. These symptoms can be painful, affecting quality of life.
One treatment for eczema found to be effective, is the use of wet or dry wrapping, and the use of therapeutic garments. The benefits of using these types of treatment are explained below.
Eczema and Wrapping
Treatments for atopic eczema can vary depending on the severity of the condition. One of the most popular ways eczema can be controlled rapidly is through either dry or wet wrapping.
Dry wrapping involves the application of an emollient and then wrapping the affected areas in garments such as Tubifast™.
Wet wrapping involves the same process of applying an emollient, but the affected area is then covered with a damp layer of the Tubifast™ Garments, and then an additional dry layer on top.
Wrapping as a whole offers both short and long term benefits to eczema sufferers which may include:
- Reducing the use of steroids.
- Preventing the emollient from being wiped off.
- Acting as a barrier against scratching.
- Relieving purities by allowing water to evaporate from the skins surface.
- Softening skin crusts and allowing the emollient to penetrate deep into the skin.
- Keeping the skin hydrated.
- Reducing inflammation.
- Interrupting the itch-scratch cycle.
- Improving sleep patterns by reducing nocturnal scratching by around 60%.
- Reducing the need for hospital admissions as wet and dry wrapping techniques can be carried out at home.
- Protecting pyjamas and bed linen.
When it comes to an aggressive flare up, one of the most effective treatments is wrapping.
Wet wrapping was developed at Great Ormond Street hospital as a way of controlling extreme flare-ups. The added moisture from the dampened wraps cools irritated skin, reducing inflammation and the urge to scratch. It also allows the emollient to work more effectively with minimal exposure to irritants and allergens which may aggravate eczema. By keeping the aggravated skin and nerve endings covered, sensitivity will be reduced. By using a wet Tubifast garment as opposed to a dry one, the emollient is kept in place and will not get soaked up into the fabric. In order to wear clothing without getting damp, the dampened garment can be covered by a dry layer of Tubifast to keep the wet layer in place and keep the patient dry.
Dry wrapping is similar to wet wrapping as it keeps irritated skin covered, stops emollients from being brushed off the skin onto clothing and can help to break the itching cycle. However, dry wrapping does not come with the cooling and hydrating benefits as wet wrapping. In less aggressive flare-ups, dry wrapping can be a good alternative option.
Step by step guide to wrapping
Wet wrapping must first be administered by a healthcare professional to ensure the correct technique is used. Wrapping can then be carried out at home, avoiding or reducing the need for further hospital visits. Below is a step by step handy guide to wrapping for both wet and dry wraps.
Tubifast Garments are a range of ‘ready-to-wear’ full-sleeved vests, tights, leggings, socks and gloves, available in a range of sizes for children between the ages of 6 months and 14 years. Tubifast Garments have SoftSeam™ technology, which makes them more comfortable for children suffering with atopic eczema, as the flat seams help prevent irritation associated with sensitive skin. Without the need for tapes, pins or ties Tubifast Garments are easy to use, comfortable and ensure complete freedom of movement, and for some children are a more convenient option.
Washing your Tubifast
- The recommendation is to wash Tubifast garments at 60 degrees.
- They can be tumble dried.
Tubifast garments are made of a superior quality viscose that improves performance when wet, and has a greater resistance to wear and tear. When dry, Tubifast is over 35% stronger than competitor products and 30% stronger after 15 washes. When wet, Tubifast is 100% more durable than competitor products when wet, both unwashed and after 15 wash and dry cycles.
Tubifast makes it easy to maintain a long term treatment regime for eczema sufferers.
You can buy Tubifast from Boots or your local pharmacy. If you cannot see Tubifast Garments displayed in your local pharmacist you can request it over the counter without a prescription.
The full range is also available from your doctor and may be prescribed. Always consult your doctor or nurse specialist before using wet wraps. They are not usually recommended for babies under 6 months old.
Information contained in this Articles page has been supplied by a company who has paid to promote here. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands or treatments and cannot vouch or verify any claims that the authors have made. talkhealth cannot provide any advice on whether a particular product or treatment is suitable. If you are in any doubt about any of the products you read about, we advise you to either contact the company concerned or seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine.
Last revised: 5 July 2016
Next review: 5 July 2017