I get lots of calls that children complain when parents use either prescription or non-prescription creams to treat eczema and other rashes. In many cases, parents think their kids are just being difficult, and there is no way a cream can sting. Your kids are not making this up.

Most creams contain a substance called propylene glycol. Although propylene glycol is not dangerous, it can sting if a child has tiny cuts or cracks in his skin. The best way to deal with this is to use ointments instead of creams.

I prefer ointments not only because they don’t sting, but also because they do a better job moisturizing the skin. Parents are often hesitant to use ointments because they are greasy. You can manage the greasy quality of ointments by being careful to only apply a thin layer to the skin. The best way to do this is to rub some ointment onto your palms before applying it to your child’s skin.