Dear Moira,

My daughter is 6 and has eczema all over her body and face. This is pretty much well controlled with the right cream and steroid regime – which took a long time to find! – and it doesn’t cause her too much bother now.

She goes to her dad’s house every other weekend and stays for longer on school holidays and every single time she is there, her skin is a mess when she returns. When I ask if her dad has been applying her cream she says no, or that he told her to put her own cream on which she can’t do as she is only 6. I need to use strong steroids after every visit and it takes days for her skin to get better.

I’ve stressed to him the importance of the regime but he says he does follow it or ignores my messages. I don’t know what to do, can you help?


Hi Kate,

This sounds like a really stressful situation to be in and my heart goes out to you. We often hear from families that managing eczema across households can be challenging with differing opinions on how best to treat the skin.

I would recommend arranging a meeting with just the two of you, if possible, somewhere neutral like a coffee shop. Remain calm and stress the importance of the routine to keep your daughter’s skin healthy. You can download a care plan here and fill it in so he has a visual reminder. Your daughter should have got a cream tracker in her welcome box, so you could give that  or make one using a white board so he has another reminder and your daughter can track when she applies cream. There are also a range of mobile apps available that can notify when it’s time to apply treatment.

If possible her dad should have a set of her creams too so they are always available when needed and you could ask him to accompany your daughter to an appointment so he can hear from a medical professional how important the routine is. Other families that co-parent have a book that goes between the homes with info like brands of washing powder to avoid and current medications.

If you think it could be beneficial to have this advice come from a third party, you could arrange a call with one of our family workers and we will go over the best practice for caring for skin.

You say your daughter is too young to apply the cream herself, but you could start to teach her how to apply and she can start to self manage her treatment.

Coping with eczema can be challenging but working together will be the best thing for your daughter and her skin.

Moira is the Head of Services at EOS and has years of experience working with children and their families. If you have a non medical question to ask Moira, you can email it to and we will try to answer it.