Atopic dermatitis (AD), also known as atopic eczema, is a common, chronic skin condition that causes inflamed skin that may crack, ooze, and is intensely itchy. Treatment of AD usually involves medications that are applied to the affected areas of skin. Wet-wrap therapy is a technique used in the treatment of moderate to severe AD in which a wet dressing is placed over the medicated skin.
How do wet wraps work?
Wet-wrap dressings create a moist, physical barrier that has several benefits, including:
Cooling the skin
Increasing moisturization and softening of skin, which makes medicine penetrate better
Serving as a physical barrier against scratching
Some wet wraps are created using moistened gauze, cotton, or bandages. Another technique involves using wet pajamas as the physical barrier. While it may sound strange at first, wet pajamas can actually be an effective wet-wrap dressing.
Soak a pair of form-fitting pajamas in warm, clean water and wring out excess water (the pajamas should be wet but not dripping)
Put on the wet pajamas so that they are covering the treated areas of skin
On top of the wet pajamas, put on a dry pair of pajamas or other form-fitting clothes, preferably made of cotton
Periodically (ideally every 2 hours), remoisten the wet pajamas using a spray bottle of warm, clean water
What can I use for wet wrap?
The wet pajamas should be left in place for at least 12 hours, typically overnight. The wet-wrap pajamas should be done once daily for 1 week, then repeated once weekly as needed. Wet-wrap therapy can be especially helpful during times of flares of AD, when symptoms return or worsen. Improvement in symptoms with wet-wrap therapy usually occurs within the first week of using the therapy. Clinical studies have found that wet-wrap therapy with topical corticosteroids is more effective than the topical corticosteroids alone, and the use of wet-wrap therapy provides a measurable improvement in the amount of water lost through the skin, which is a common occurrence in skin that is affected by AD.
Does wet wrap therapy work?
Wet-wrap therapy is effective in treating flares in both children and adults with AD. Just one week of wet-wrap pajamas can make a significant improvement in the severity of symptoms, including itch, and a person’s overall well-being.