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How to Avoid Skin Irritation

January 7th, 2020

How to Avoid Skin Irritation


Sensitive skin is incredibly common in children, and skin sensitivity for children often manifests itself as eczema.  The cold winter weather combined with the dryness of indoor heat can be tough on kids’ skin, causing it to feel dry, irritated, and scratchy, especially if your child already suffers from eczema. 

Eczema affects approximately 17% of children, and most children develop eczema before their fifth birthday.  Children that suffer from eczema have a problem with their skin barrier that causes sensitivity.  The skin barrier, also known as stratum corneum, protects your child from the outside world – bacteria, chemicals, sun, etc.  Eczema sufferers have a skin barrier that doesn’t function correctly; their skin is less likely to stay hydrated, more prone to irritation, and unable to fight off microbes that can cause infection.  These symptoms are often magnified by the dryness of winter, which makes the skin barrier’s ability to function difficult, causing eczema flare-ups.  

Here are 5 tips for helping your child’s skin stay healthy and keep eczema flare-ups at bay:  

  1. Check water temperatures:  Before your child gets in their bath, make sure to check the water temperature.  Water that is too hot, even if it is a safe temperature for your child, can make itchiness and dryness worse because it stimulates nerve endings. 
  2. Pat skin dry:  After your child finishes their bath, pat skin dry instead of rubbing it dry with a towel.  The rubbing motion often used when drying off from the bath can irritate a child’s compromised and weakened skin barrier.  
  3. Moisturize:  Fragrance-free creams can help combat dryness and decrease eczema flare-i[s by protecting your child’s skin barrier.  Skin can benefit the most from lotion when it’s applied within 3 minutes after getting out of the bath because damp skin seals in moisture better.  Vasoline and Aquaphor are great examples of moisturizers that can be used after the bath. 
  4. Avoid irritants:  Make sure the products you use daily, such as laundry detergent, cleaning products, and fabric softeners, are mild and preferable fragrance-free or made for sensitive skin.  The chemicals often used in fragrance can cause irritation and make your child scratch, leading to further irritation. 
  5. Talk to us!:  We are here to help you and your child through dry skin and eczema this winter.  If you think your child may have eczema but hasn’t been diagnosed previously, come in to see us to confirm a diagnosis and discuss how to best care for your child’s sensitive skin.  We can also talk through some things that might trigger eczema, as well as any allergies that might lead to skin irritation. 

We are always here for you and your children!  To schedule an appointment to talk about your child’s irritated skin or other winter illness, or to ask any questions you may have about your child’s skin, you can call, text or message us! 

Posted by Beacon Health Alliance | Topic: Pediatrics