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Sensitive skin is something that runs in both my family and James’ family. James struggles with psoriasis on his elbows from time to time, while I have dealt with having to buy certain products to avoid allergic reactions to dyes and perfumes on my skin. When planning for a family, neither of us thought that those skin traits would be passed on, not like it was a strange thing, it just wasn’t something we actually thought about.
It wasn’t long after our son Cash’s first birthday that we found ourselves and a very itchy baby in a specialists office learning as much as we could to help ease a chronic itchy rash he had developed. Eczema, as our allergist put it, is an itch that becomes a rash. The small red bumps that broke the surface of Cash’s skin were actually the reaction to him scratching. The itch is internal and often caused by environmental allergies, but can be triggered by numerous different things. For example: Cash’s eczema was brought on by an allergy he developed to our cat, but even after we got rid of the cat and moved into a home with no pet dander, his eczema is still triggered by certain things like heat and will flair up a few times a month due to these triggers.
While each child and case is different here are some tips I’ve found that really help keep Cash’s flair-ups to a minimum. These are especially helpful to use during the hot summer months, as heat and sweat can be HUGE triggers for most with this condition.
- Bathing daily in lukewarm water. Keeping his skin clean is a huge priority, and being the active toddler he is, Cash is always getting into something or another, so bathing daily is really important. However, since his eczema is triggered by heat, we have to keep those baths very chill, literally. Our allergist also recommended keeping the baths to 10 minutes or less, because sometimes sitting in water for extended periods of time can strip the moisture out of the skin
- Use body lotions & soaps that are free of dyes & perfumes. This is one of the most important ones. Looking at the ingredients in what you’re putting on your child’s skin is very important. Often times a brand will advertise that it is made for treatment of eczema or that it aides with sensitive skin, but it still contains harsh perfumes that can aggravate a skin condition. Always read your labels
- Sweat Less. Our eczema, like many others is triggered by heat, so during the summer it’s almost impossible to avoid flair-ups. As soon as my son sweats, he starts to scratch as well, so we try to avoid being in the sun during its peak hours (12-2), and stay indoors as much as we can without being hermits. This doesn’t mean don’t have fun in the sun or enjoy time at the beach, but be mindful of how many consecutive hours you’re spending outdoors, and bring portable fans as well as hand towels covered in ice water for an all day outside adventure. Keeping cool is key. Most of the time when we are outdoors during the summer it’s in a water play type setting, ensuring Cash can have a blast, while still staying cool.
- Heavily Moisturize & Cover Areas. Keeping the skin soft and hydrated is a great preventative measure to take when it comes to a flair-up. With a toddler running around all the time, it can be difficult to get him lathered up and keep that lotion from rubbing off on other surfaces. We are prescribed a steroid cream that we use when his reaction has gotten really bad, which we apply 2 times a day to the affected areas. When the bumps are not as bad, we use a perfume & dye free lotion made for eczema, and cover his trigger areas with articles of clothing. Cash’s effected areas are his feet, elbows, and behind his knees, so I generously apply the lotion after bath time, then put leggings, a long-sleeved shirt, and socks on him to make sure the areas get extra moisturized each evening. We also turn down the thermostat each night to cooler than most homes to ensure that Cash doesn’t get warm while being so covered at night.
- Ensure your laundry detergent is all® Free Clear. Anything that comes in contact with the skin can cause a break out which is why it’s just as important to check your laundry detergent for dyes, harsh chemicals, and perfumes as it is your lotions and soaps. We use all® free clear, the #1 sensitive skin brand. all® free clear helps remove 99% of everyday and seasonal allergies including cat and dog dander, dust mite matter, ragweed, grass, and tree pollen, which is great for when we let Cash spend time at the homes of relatives with animals. It’s also the #1 recommended brand detergent by Dermatologists, Allergists, and Pediatricians for Sensitive Skin, putting my mind at ease. The best part is it’s affordability and the way it fights tough stains, brightens colors and whitens whites, making it the only detergent we need for the entire family. It’s great on my clothes, the newborn’s little onesies stained by spit-up, and getting out all the smeared food/dirt Cash gets on his clothes on a daily basis.
I also love how long lasting the detergent is! Even with a household full of laundry I typically only have to pick up one bottle a month on one of my many trips to Target!
Keeping my children happy and healthy is my number one priority, and preventing uncomfortable itchiness for Cash is one of the ways I do so. I’m not yet sure of what skin conditions our newborn Brando may develop, but I know now ways I can prevent some of the situations we experienced with Cash with the help of all® free clear. Continue the conversation by joining the all® free clear community and connecting with parents just like you and me!