Solutions for Children with Sensitive Skin

There are a variety of reasons children may have an adverse reaction to items in their environment. Those with especially sensitive skin may find it even more difficult to interact with the world around them. Some of the most common issues sensory processing issues, allergies, and eczema.

Sensory Processing Disorders

There are many different types of sensory processing disorders. They can involve any of the senses, including vision, hearing, taste, and touch. Children with a sensory processing disorder related to their sense of touch may find the way things feel to be extremely aversive. When this happens, it is called tactile defensiveness.

Children with tactile defensiveness will often avoid touching specific materials and if forced to do so may become fearful. Situations which can trigger this include textured materials, specific clothing textures, seams on socks, tags on shirts, the feeling of grass or sand, vibrating toys, and even wind blowing on their skin.

Exposing a child to the same stimulus repeatedly has not been found to work. One way to help children who are bothered by these types of experiences is to find solutions which will work for them. Seamless socks and shirts with tags removed can be a good place to start minimizing the aversive experiences in the child’s daily life. However, for severe cases of tactile defensiveness occupational therapy is often needed to help the child become increasingly comfortable with interacting with a wider variety of tactile experiences.

Allergic Reactions

Contact dermatitis is the reaction that is caused when the skin comes into contact with an allergen or other irritant. Symptoms can include itching, rash, burning sensations, and blisters. Some of the most common causes of contact dermatitis include exposure to soaps, fabric softeners, shampoo and other haircare products, and laundry detergents. When this happens it can be difficult to isolate the chemical responsible for the reaction and the individual is simply forced to avoid brands which trigger a response.

Many people with sensitive skin find it easier to use products that are created with all natural ingredients or which are designed specifically for sensitive skin. These tend to be free of dyes and perfumes and utilize ingredients that are generally regarded as being hypoallergenic. However, even some of these products will cause problems in people with very sensitive skin or who happen to be allergic to one of the natural ingredients.

 

 

Eczema

Eczema is a skin condition that usually develops during early childhood. The primary symptom is a rash that can occur anywhere on the body but tends to be localized to behind the knees and arms. While it is related to allergies, it is different from a rash caused by an allergic reaction.

There are a few types of eczema, the most common of which is atopic dermatitis. Eczema affects about 15 percent of infants but by the time they reach adulthood most have outgrown the condition. Only 3 percent of adults continue to suffer from symptoms. It is important to note that eczema is not contagious although there does tend to be a family history of the condition.

Regardless of where the rash appears, it is usually itchy. Occasionally the itching will begin before the rash appears. This usually happens on the back of the knees, hands, face, wrists, or feet. When the rash appears, it is typically very dry and may also be thick or scaly. The rash tends to initially appear red and then fade to brown on individuals with fair skin. Those with darker skin may have rashes that lighten or darken the affected area.

 

Flare-ups can be caused in response to environment conditions or exposure to specific substances. Triggers vary from person to person which can make it almost impossible to know ahead of time what will cause a flare-up. Common triggers include exposure to household products, becoming too hot or cold, contact with coarse materials, and stress.

There is no cure for eczema but it is possible to manage the condition by avoiding irritants and with medical treatment. The most common treatment is the application of 1 percent hydrocortisone cream or other corticosteroid creams. If the area becomes infected the child may also be given topical or oral antibiotics. Antihistamines may also be used to control the itching.

Caring for a child who has sensitive skin can be a challenge. Skin is the largest organ and the one which is most frequently bombarded by new irritants. By learning exactly what causes irritation for your child over time, the process will slowly become easier.

 

 

 

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