Eczema – a beginner’s guide (part 2)

 

Part 1 explained how prevalent eczema is, particularly in Australasia. We highlighted a number of contributing internal and external factors cited by the Eczema Association of Australasia. We concluded these factors provide the key towards effective eczema management. The following management guide draws on links to the known internal and external factors.

Note: Eczema – a beginner’s guide is not intended to be exhaustive. It is a guide that may be refined as future research and experience throws light on this intriguing condition. The information is not intended to replace professional medical advice relating to your specific condition.

 

How do I manage Eczema?

1. Clothing & textiles: Loose fitting, soft, 100% cotton clothing wherever possible. Other safe fabrics are bamboo and silk. The Organic Eczema Shop stocks a variety of cotton, bamboo and (derma)silk clothing. You can also look for organic cotton. Wool, although a natural fibre, is not recommended for people with eczema.

Be aware that clothing purchased in Australia that states “Cotton” on the label is not necessarily 100% cotton. In fact, some leading brands in some major chain stores stock clothing labelled as “cotton” but the stitching is synthetic. That is because consumer law permits labelling “cotton” if there are a certain percentage of synthetic fibres – enough for the stitching to be all synthetic. This enables clothes to be made more economically, but can result in our little ones breaking out in eczema in the shape of the clothing’s stitching. Clothing with a stretchy neck line or arm bands are also likely to contain at least a small percentage of synthetic material. Clothing labelled “100% cotton” is required to be purely cotton.

On that note, rough stitching itself, even if cotton, may cause irritation. Look for fabrics with soft, flat stitching. Some specific eczema clothing brands have the stitching sewn on the outside of the garment to eliminate this problem altogether.

Depending upon the severity of your little one’s eczema, clothing colour may be an issue. Coloured dyes are often chemical dyes. Consider a commercial business selling millions of shirts, especially those promoting their clothing’s washability and durability, it makes sense (commercially) for business’ to use chemical dyes.

On an individual basis, with a child with eczema, or a heart set in living a more natural life, chemical dyes may not be the answer. Many specific eczema-clothing brands sell organic clothing with no dye used at all. For those of us, who love to embrace colour, many brands offer clothing dyed using natural or organic ingredients. Your children can dance in clothing of the vibrant colours of the rainbow, without having chemicals irritating their skin.

The organic eczema shop stock Bamboo Bubby Sleeping bags suitable for babies through to toddles. They have received fantastic reviews and are not only a safe fabric, but have hand mittens to stop your child scratching throughout the night.

During the day, Scratch Me Not Sleeves, are a perfect addition to day time clothing. They have flip over mittens which young children cannot undo themselves. This minimises scratching in the car, at the shops or at nap time. The fun designs are appealing to children and are one tool to help children learn to understand and accept their eczema whilst feeling positive about it.

Stay tuned for more eczema management strategies in the Eczema – a beginner’s guide series.

 

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Kellie Moule is a writer based in Brisbane. She has previously practiced as an exercise physiologist and has a special interest in eczema, allergies and intolerances.