Facts about Our Skin (vs Children vs Eczema Skin)

For these 8 weeks, we’re going ‘intensive’ into skin facts. Many articles have shared about adult skin facts, but in #SkinishMom style, we’re ‘digging’ deeper into children’s skin and eczema skin. (Note: all skin facts have published data for children and eczema skin)

Skin facts - Adult, Children and Eczema Skin

Some ‘Skin Investigation’ may turn up with unexpected facts!

Skin Fact #1 Skin is (NOT!) the largest organ in the body

Oops, doesn’t everyone say that skin is the largest organ? That’s why some ‘skin’ investigation is required for ‘skin journalism’. Located a letter to editor in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology that skin is not the largest organ in the body. The skin can be considered the largest BY WEIGHT for ‘medium-sized’ organs, excluding musculoskeletal system.

  • Skin (epidermis and dermis) weights 3.86kg, about 5.5% of a 70kg man
  • Subcutaneous tissue (layer of fats under the dermis layer) is not consider skin
  • Skin is not the largest organ by surface area, about 1.7 sqm but lung airway is 70sqm, and gastrointestinal tract is about 30-40sqm (note in the letter to editor, it’s stated as about football field, but in a paper that subsequently published in 2014 Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, scientists measured the inner surface of gastrointestinal tract of a healthy average man; previous estimates of the gastrointestinal tract were made post-mortem where the tract has relaxed to a much longer length! ‘Interesting!’)

Skin Fact #2 Adult skin sheds about 17kg to 52kg over a lifetime

From research and as explained by Dr Claudia Aguirre on Quora (Dr Claudia is a featured guest of this blog), humans shed their entire outer layer of skin every 2-4 weeks at the rate of 0.001 — 0.003 ounces of skin flakes every hour. This worked out mathematically to be 17kg to 52kg (or 37 to 115 pounds) for someone who live up to over 70 years old (I’d suppose that the 0.001 to 0.003 ounces is for an average adult, thus strictly speaking, you can’t simply multiply by 70 due to (possibly?) less skin shed for a child (by weight, but given larger surface area to volume ratio, a child may shed ‘more’ skin).

Eczema skin – Eczema skin, characterized by dry skin, shed more skin (and add the scratching!). The outer skin layer (epidermis) has four layers of keratinocytes (skin cells). The keratinocytes at the basal layer continually grow and move upwards to the stratum corneum, changing from plump cells to dead, flattened cells that are shed. This takes about 28 days. I couldn’t find research on how much skin an eczema sufferer shed, but there’re two ‘opposite’ skin conditions worth mentioning:

Exfoliative Dermatitis – characterized by extensive red skin, followed by skin shedding (similar to life-threatening conditions covered in this blog: Stevens Johnson Syndrome and Erythroderma); the skin shedding is so extensive in these conditions that it affect the normal functioning of the body, in particular temperature regulation and moisture retention, requiring care in hospital.

Psoriasis – this condition is marked by only taking 3 to 4 days to mature and does not shed but the skin cells pile up on the skin surface, forming plaques and lesions.

Many eczema sufferers reported seeing massive skin shed on the bed and floor but I wonder why the skin cells shed appear so visible (as opposed to normal skin). Found an explanation that the cells on dry skin may stick together, thickening the stratum corneum and when they are shed, it is shed as visible sheets, aka scales.

Skin Fact #3 Dead skin cells comprised an UNKNOWN part of our dust at home

This is another ‘fact’ that could turn out to be a myth – most of the sites state that our dead skin made up anywhere from 50% to 90% of our dust at home. In a study by Layton and Beamer whose study was to find out how much of contaminated soil and outdoor pollutants would get into home dust, it was estimated that about 60% would come from outdoors. Dust is very complicated, with different home, season, surrounding and the type of dust in the air and on the floor being different. It cannot be simplified to state as most of the dust are dead skin cells.

What we have to know is dead skin cells are food for house dust mites and they literally sleep with us, in our bedsheet, pillow, pillow case and mattress. Read the following posts to understand more about dust mites:

There’s sooo much more skin facts to cover, I think we’re good for discovering these till end of the year!

References:

  1. Journal of Investigative Dermatology September 2013 ‘Letter to Editor’
  2. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology June 2014 Surface area of the digestive tract – revisited.
  3. Clinical Pharmacist September 2010 Atopic eczema: Clinical features and diagnosis
  4. Healthline: Exfoliative dermatitis
  5. Dermal Institute: the Biology behind Eczema and Psoriasis
  6. PDR Health: Dry skin
  7. Environmental Science and Technology November 2009: Migration of Contaminated Soil and Airborne Particulates to Indoor Dust
  8. Time February 2010 What’s in Household Dust? Don’t Ask

Confessions of a Mom Caring for Eczema Kindergartener

Caring for any baby, your baby especially, is an unique experience. Mothers do have shared experience though, being mom and going through pregnancy, child birth and caring for a baby who goes through the development milestones. Mothers of eczema children have even more in common, as the struggles of caring for a baby who has rashes all over, experience constant discomfort and itch can only be understood by those who’ve been through them. This series by MarcieMom, are letters to you, with words of encouragement and sharing of her own parenting struggles.

Dear Daddy & Mommy,

It’s feels like our children have already grown so much! Marcie is starting grade school next year and these two years, she seems to be ‘shooting up’ – we went for a week holiday recently and everyday I marveled at her looking so big girl. When did my child grow so much? Sometimes I can be so focused on work, on this blog(!), on chores, on getting everything done that I missed looking at her. Have you looked at your child recently? These two years when her eczema has very much improved, I finally dared to kiss her more on her cheeks. One friend from Germany who visited did ask exactly that as he kissed his son so much all the time and noticed that we didn’t really kiss Marcie so much.

These two years have been so much better – evidence of which are the Nespresso machine I bought and the capsules that I’ve consumed, and the book that I co-authored and published. I’m quite scared about what Marcie starting grade school – will she get bullied? will she get laughed at as she has so many bad habits – scratching, biting fingers and peeling her skin. We never have to cut her fingernails for years and most times, I don’t even dare to look at her fingers (a task for my husband!). 

We got off co-sleeping but she still needed to be watched to remind her not to scratch at night. Given that her skin is a little tougher than baby years, we sometimes let her scratch a while to see if she would fall back asleep. It’s still frustrating to remind her not to scratch and the habitual scratching had led to some thickened skin on her feet. There’s less need to take leave to care for her as her eczema is so much more manageable and my parents are able to care for her even on our weekend marriage (church) camp.

How is your family life? Do you have a second baby? We made the decision to have an only child, partly as we didn’t feel that physically, emotionally and financially we could give a second child the same level of care – maybe we are wrong, we don’t know but I like being an ‘only mom’. I pray that if your second child won’t have eczema – some parents in the support group remarked that the second child’s eczema is worse while others say it’s less severe. We never know.. but consider taking probiotics prenatal and also in the early years, and fish oil too. 

Time seems to pass us by – and I wonder if I ought to have spent more time with Marcie, looked more at her, kissed her more and less at the rashes and the chores, and even this blog (takes lots of my free time to sustain this blog but it’s like a treasure that I store in heaven). I wonder how you feel about your parenting and how your marriage is holding up after years of caring for an eczema child. Has it got stronger or has it gotten so strained that you hardly can talk heart to heart as a couple? As I type this, Marcie is beside me and my husband in front of me, having just enjoyed a dinner at my parents’ home. We are all doing our own thing (evidently, since I’m typing this), have our own hopes and fears. Disappointment and discouragement. Today is Sunday (this post is scheduled to be published on Friday) and today’s sermon in church ended with an analogy of us building bricks and bricks of discouragement and disappointment and not seeing Jesus beyond the wall. It’s true on a certain level but I believe that the Jesus who is God and came down to live with us and die for us won’t be held back by a brick wall. I pray that the Holy Spirit in me (in all Christians) will dwell in me and show my how to lead my life – to be the mother I’m to be.

parenting eczema kindergartener

Isaiah 57:15

“I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

Confessions of a Mom Caring for Eczema Preschooler

Caring for any baby, your baby especially, is an unique experience. Mothers do have shared experience though, being mom and going through pregnancy, child birth and caring for a baby who goes through the development milestones. Mothers of eczema children have even more in common, as the struggles of caring for a baby who has rashes all over, experience constant discomfort and itch can only be understood by those who’ve been through them. This series by MarcieMom, are letters to you, with words of encouragement and sharing of her own parenting struggles.

Dear Daddy & Mommy,

I hope your family life has got easier as your child turned 2-3 years old – I remembered this was the time when we went to Singapore Botanical Gardens for the second time to watch a free outdoor concert. At the end of the concert we were thinking ‘Wow, did we just finish watching a concert without much scratching, had some fun on the grass and a decent picnic?’. This was especially poignant as two years ago we went for a similar event at the Botanical Gardens and had to run off the event, in anger and frustration, with our baby’s hands tied with the swaddle cloth due to the scratching and the blood.

Bedtime still comes with scratching for me, as I believe for many parents too. Idle hands, too dry air, or too warm, rising body temperature and for reasons no one knows, bedtime seems to be punctuated with scratching throughout the night. Having deal with eczema for 2+ years, most parents may have figured out a bedtime routine that seemed to be correlated with the least scratching. For us, it’s shower close to bedtime, air-conditioning, a little of bedtime reading and co-sleeping. I got so used to co-sleeping that I fall asleep pretty easily with an increasing weight on me. 

Daytime is much better now with so many activities to do. Be careful with playdough with sparkles or playing with bubbles, either make it quick and wash hands quickly after or wear gloves (we used the first method but parents have told me gloves worked). iPad sometimes save the day, but we try to limit that. Activities that are carried out in non-air conditioned room continue to be a problem, like gym in non-airconditioned area. Marcie scratched a little but I saw an older child with eczema who really couldn’t carry on with the class and just sat on the mat and scratched and scratched. Gym or teachers of classes are not equipped to manage eczema so don’t expect them to. We ended up choosing ballet as that is always air-conditioned and wearing light clothing!

I wonder how your child’s eczema is or whether other allergic conditions start to affect your child. I wonder if your child is attending a preschool that he/she is nicely settled in and the teachers have already known how to care for your child. Marcie enrolled in Columbia Academy and the teachers are very kind and understanding – reminding Marcie not to scratch and getting her to moisturize. As children these days seem to be so much more alert and active, I recommend choosing a preschool that has many activities rather than idle time – the activities (be it reading, writing, drawing, dance or music) really help to distract an eczema child from scratching. Also, I’m thankful that the teachers are strict and very mindful of teasing, calling names or bullying – which can happen to an eczema child.

Finding alternative caregiver is still difficult – my parents took care of Marcie after full day preschool but every time school’s off or Marcie is sick, we will still take leave. Most of our leave were spent caring for Marcie and a short holiday. Packing for holidays is almost like moving the whole house as I always pack for 2-3 change of clothes within a day! We were very thankful that we had very enjoyable family time during this period and pray that your family gets many lovely moments together, despite the eczema.

Parenting Eczema Preschooler

Matthew 7:7-11

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him”

Confessions of a Mom Caring for Eczema Toddler

Caring for any baby, your baby especially, is an unique experience. Mothers do have shared experience though, being mom and going through pregnancy, child birth and caring for a baby who goes through the development milestones. Mothers of eczema children have even more in common, as the struggles of caring for a baby who has rashes all over, experience constant discomfort and itch can only be understood by those who’ve been through them. This series by MarcieMom, are letters to you, with words of encouragement and sharing of her own parenting struggles.

Dear Daddy & Mommy,

Congrats on your baby taking the first toddler step and it’s a joy, eczema or not! Being able to hold on to something and move about can be a great distraction from scratching. I remembered life got better for us when Marcie could explore her world more independently – there’re so many more activities she can do and many of them distracted her from scratching. By one year old, I seemed to have perfected parenting by distraction – it even distracted all the tantrums from the supposed ‘terrible two’ year! (Serious – there was no ‘terrible two’ for us at all, we really distracted every tantrum as that usually comes after the scratching, and we were so efficient at distracting Marcie from the first instance she scratched). Books, toys, teething rings, coloring, fresh change of clothes were things we lug around everywhere. We figured a little of backache would be much better than dealing with the damage from scratching (and ‘spoiling’ the day).

Marcie turning one year old was also the time when I rejoined the work force and enrolled her in an infant care. Many parents ask me if there is a preschool I would recommend and how receptive schools are to caring for eczema children. Well, I would say instead of the school brand, you really need to be comfortable with the caregivers and the teachers. Marcie was enrolled in PCF infant care and one of the caregiver was a Christian lady who really loved Marcie. I remembered her calling me almost breaking down into tears as she reported that Marcie had been ‘tensing up’ for close to two hours (Marcie had a habit then of tensing up in a plank position, something she came up with on her own which we guessed was to stop herself from scratching – she had solid stomach muscles, no kidding). They took very good care of her, moisturizing her diligently and feeding her with the food that we prepared and also gradually introducing her to new foods.

But I know for many parents out there, the toddler years can continue to be difficult – some had to deal with terrible two and also the scratching that got even worse. If you haven’t found a doctor that you can trust or treatment hasn’t worked out, this may be a time of despair as you start wondering if the eczema will ever be outgrown and whether it can learn to other allergic conditions. Some of you would have to deal with preschools that don’t understand eczema or if your child has food allergies, preschools that don’t accept them. I remembered reading a research paper that said the best time to enroll in a preschool is from 9 to 15 months where the child is able to adapt to the increased bacteria and germs better than when younger or when older. Research is one thing though, finding a preschool that you are comfortable with may be another matter.

I pray that wherever you are, there will be caring teachers and caregivers who can take over part of the day/ full day care for your eczema toddler. I pray that you have understanding colleagues and bosses who accommodate if you have to take leave to care for your eczema child. I pray that your child will not fall sick too often and when he/she does, the scratching won’t be intensive (fever tends to trigger eczema flare-ups). I pray for joy and peace to be in your home. I would love to pray specifically for you, leave me a comment on your prayer requests.

Parenting Eczema Toddler

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope

Confessions of a Mom Caring for Eczema Baby (6-12 months)

Caring for any baby, your baby especially, is an unique experience. Mothers do have shared experience though, being mom and going through pregnancy, child birth and caring for a baby who goes through the development milestones. Mothers of eczema children have even more in common, as the struggles of caring for a baby who has rashes all over, experience constant discomfort and itch can only be understood by those who’ve been through them. This series by MarcieMom, are letters to you, with words of encouragement and sharing of her own parenting struggles.

Dear Daddy & Mommy,

Hopefully the past half year hasn’t been so rough and you’ve ‘enjoyed’ baby milestones like the baby sitting up, crawling and soon, learning to swallow! Thinking back of parenting Marcie from 6-12 months old, I recalled that starting solids was a time that drove me paranoid. Some of you who have been following my blog know that I’m supportive of allergy test as I believe that it can really help to pinpoint what to avoid. More importantly, what we DON’T HAVE TO AVOID. Without allergy testing, I even thought at one point that Marcie was allergic to the high chair as that was made of latex! Especially at a time of starting solids, it can be very frustrating to write in a food journal and try to observe when the rashes appear when there is no discernible pattern. 

It was when Marcie was 7 months old that we brought her to the skin prick test – it’s not scary at all! For Marcie, likely the itch was normally so bad that the prick didn’t seem to bother her. She merely winced when her skin was pricked but otherwise, was not distressed by the test. It turned out that she was not allergic and it gave us a peace of mind as to what she can eat – finally, we can feed her without trying to link the foods she’s taking to the rashes. Moving to solids then became easier than feeding milk – something we struggled so much with in the first six months due to reflux. 

This period I felt was a tough time as the baby really starts to have strength to scratch and can be quite hard to put back to sleep at night. Half a year of sleepless nights can also ‘break’ someone and the thought that it’s never getting better but worse is terrifying and trying. It is also the time when the mom gets back to work from her maternity leave and not finding someone to take care of an eczema baby can make getting back to work difficult. 

I’m glad that I stayed at home for my baby’s first year. I could take care of her the way I like – feeding (she’s a good eater now, used to foods of many textures and fruits and vegetables, i.e. not the traditional asian porridge with fish diet), co-sleeping and caring for her skin. The baby’s skin has not yet matured and research has pointed to that a defective skin barrier can sensitize a baby to allergens where contact to allergens via skin lead to food allergy. Although it was difficult, I felt that being one on one with my baby helped with her skin and her development. There were fun moments when we learnt sign language to distract her from scratching and sing songs together. Even with eczema, I felt that I had a pleasant time with her especially when it’s leisure time when I don’t have to feed, cook or do chores.

At about 7+ months old when Marcie started on her one-time oral steroid course (prednisolone), I really cried anguish tears. Her eczema improved during the first few days of the reducing dosage course but came back after a week into the course when the dosage was reduced. I was so scared and wanted to stop the course but continued. I’m grateful that her eczema was under control after the two weeks’ course when towards the end of the course, the eczema improved again and was limited to certain areas. It was a scary time especially when you know the same medicine at higher dosage is for treating cancer and the wrong dosage can have serious side effects. To this day, I know that it is a blessing that Marcie recovered after the course as many other children whose eczema worsened – we don’t know how the body will react after the course and knowing that we’ve been blessed keeps my work for this blog going.

If you are seeing a doctor, make sure that you see one who you can trust. Eczema is a chronic condition and seeing a doctor who you don’t trust and don’t have time to answer your questions or dismiss your worries can be the catalyst for much negativity – blame between the parents, fear motivating you to try an alternative treatment and distrust of doctors. 

Parenting Eczema Baby

Psalm 9:9-10

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you

Confessions of a Mom Caring for Eczema Newborn

Caring for any baby, your baby especially, is an unique experience. Mothers do have shared experience though, being mom and going through pregnancy, child birth and caring for a baby who goes through the development milestones. Mothers of eczema children have even more in common, as the struggles of caring for a baby who has rashes all over, experience constant discomfort and itch can only be understood by those who’ve been through them. This series by MarcieMom, are letters to you, with words of encouragement and sharing of her own parenting struggles.

Dear Daddy & Mommy,

Big hugs to you for your newborn and I know if your baby has developed eczema in the first month, you’d have barely recovered and adjusted to your new mom role. Being a new mom is difficult – our own body recovering (I had some problems recovering as my baby was above 90% in birthweight), adjusting to feeding baby every few hours and heck, even figuring out how to breastfeed (not all things come natural to all moms!). Before we even figured out and settled into a routine, we realized that our baby Marcie is definitely not sleeping like a baby. For some of us, our baby is also not feeding well (reflux seems to occur more often in eczema babies). We also found out that the rashes on our baby is not baby acne, heat rash but rash that itches so much that our baby doesn’t sleep nor rest well.

I shared about a particular incident when Marcie (two months old) was sitting quietly in her netted chair (over metal frame) while I was cooking. I was thinking it was an amazing evening that she didn’t need attention every 2-3 minutes and I could at least get some cooking done without the stress. When I looked at her after the cooking, I saw that she had blood all over her neck and the reason for her ‘peace’ was that she had the metal frame to rub against her neck (to ease the itch). Another incident was when I dozed off for five minutes when Marcie was napping and I opened my eyes to the sound of scratching to see that her hands have escaped from the swaddling and scratching till blood dripped from behind her ears to her face. I did feel guilty but I also know it’s impossible to not cook, not feed my baby, not pee, not brush my teeth and I’ve really done what I could do.

It was especially tough starting from about four months old, where Marcie was too big to be swaddled and it was getting so difficult to stop her from scratching. Sometimes her swaddle had to be modified to around her hands and it did look like we’re tying her up. Usually it’s only for no more than five minutes so that I can rush off to prepare milk or go to the loo. I remembered the part-time cleaner for our home seeing that Marcie was being restrained and looked horrified. No mom would want to do that but it’s impossible to be holding her hands every minute – most times, she’s already being carried or in a sling or within close reach to keep her from scratching. 

Night time was tough – we co-slept so that we can hold her hands when she’s scratching. When even that become impossible, we’d all wake up, moisturize and freshen up, re-start the bedtime routine for another 2-3 hours of sleep. Life sometimes seem to be on hold when caring for an eczema baby, yet it doesn’t – there are still chores to be done, day job to go to and the stress can really get to first-time parents who already struggle with coping with parenthood. 

Be united with your spouse, seek help and don’t blame each other. Many family members or friends won’t understand what you’re going through and some would have more than a few words of ‘wisdom’ (even when they are not familiar with what eczema is). Shut off those noise, concentrate on your family – that’s what got me through and faith. Having a bible study group to provide support and having a God I can turn to (even if it is just to vent and to cry out) helps. The first few months of caring for a newborn is never easy and if you’re a first-time parent, you’d be learning loads and figuring how to care for your newborn (differently!) from month to month. Caring for a newborn with eczema is so much more difficult, don’t give up hope and let negativity takes over your heart and your family. 

Parenting Eczema Newborn

Encourage the faint hearted

1 Thessalonians 5:14

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all

MarcieMom’s note:

I’ve been working on this blog for five years, and what keeps me going is that Marcie’s eczema has a purpose and her recovering (now localized eczema with occasional flare-ups) is a blessing and that I can help share this blessing by keeping this blog going – encouraging parents all over the world who are at lost and feel alone in caring for their eczema baby.

#SkinishMom Letters for Eczema Back to School – Air-Conditioning

Inspired by my back to school eczema tips, I wondered what letter a parent would write to inform the school of the child’s eczema and skincare.This is the final of a series of four #SkinishMom letters written to different schools (conjured up by my imagination and all schools are fictitious!).

Back to School Eczema Letter to School on Air-Conditioning

Back to School Eczema Letter to School on Air-Conditioning

Dear Principal,

I love fresh air and I know the school encourages your students to head outdoors and put in great effort in landscaping. The classrooms are not air-conditioned, allowing the children to appreciate the fresh air and be ‘closer’ to the greenery. I don’t use much air-conditioning at home too, given that it is a breeding ground for mold and bacteria as well as the much-feared ‘sick building syndrome’. It is also drying for the skin (an aspect that is bad for my child’s eczema) and potentially traps much dust.

But, in these hot summer months, my child with eczema literally can’t live without air-conditioning. His eczema is triggered by heat and sweat – the exact reason for why sweat irritates isn’t clear; it could be the minerals in the sweat, the crystallized sweat crystal or the changing skin pH. However, he really needs to be kept cool, I can offer the following solutions:

  1. I will get a portable air-conditioner for my child’s class (though I can’t possibly buy one for every class)
  2. Arrange for afternoon classes in an air-conditioned room like the computer room
  3. Seat my child under the fan where it is most cooling
  4. Allow him time to freshen up in between classes

I’m not a parent who sweat over the small stuff and this matter is certainly not small. I can have my child’s dermatologist write you a letter to justify the exceptions made for my child.

Thank you

#SkinishMom Disclaimer : A little tongue-in-cheek, don’t cut and paste and send to your child’s school!

#SkinishMom Letters for Eczema Back to School – Classroom Seat

Inspired by my back to school eczema tips, I wondered what letter a parent would write to inform the school of the child’s eczema and skincare.This is the third of a series of four #SkinishMom letters written to different schools (conjured up by my imagination and all schools are fictitious!).

Back to School Eczema Letter to School on Classroom Seating Arrangement

Back to School Eczema Letter to School on Classroom Seating Arrangement

Dear Teacher,

Thank you for guiding and helping my child in your class. I know that you have been tolerant of his scratching, due to eczema – it’s impossible to control the itch (in fact, scientists are just beginning to understand how the itch signals can be blocked). I know you have assigned my child to sit near the window, and that he cannot change his seat. There are however, a few problems with this ‘premier window seat’:

  1. It’s a ‘hot’ seat – Not as in my child gets called to answer questions but that it literally heats up by noon. Increased temperature and sweat causes my child to itch and eczema flare.
  2. It’s near to dust – The windows have dust in the ledge and that irritates my child’s skin. I’m not a fan of cleaning windows and certainly don’t expect the school to have window’s ledges cleaned.
  3. It’s near to the radiator – I would expect when winter comes and the radiator is on, the heat from it will certainly trigger eczema rash.

I’d be grateful if you can re-assign my child’s seat. I’m aware that teachers assign seats for a reason (or many reasons) and that your original arrangement certainly has its basis. Perhaps another factor to consider is it is distracting both for you, my child and the classmates sitting behind him to see him scratching non-stop.

Thank you

#SkinishMom Disclaimer : A little tongue-in-cheek, don’t cut and paste and send to your child’s school!

#SkinishMom Letters for Eczema Back to School – Strictly Uniform

Inspired by my back to school eczema tips, I wondered what letter a parent would write to inform the school of the child’s eczema and skincare.This is the second of a series of four #SkinishMom letters written to different schools (conjured up by my imagination and all schools are fictitious!).

Back to School Eczema Letter to School on Uniform Policy

Back to School Eczema Letter to School on Uniform Policy

Dear Principal,

I’m in full agreement with your uniform policy and having kids wear uniform give them a sense of identity with the school and eliminates issues with wearing home clothes such as differing fashion views on what’s ‘proper’ wear (and in this all-inclusive age, we almost fear saying someone else’s view is wrong!).

Sadly, my child cannot wear the uniform – not as it is. The current material has 60% polyester, with seams that are very rough and irritate her skin. We have tried, really tried very hard. The first day of wearing the uniform, her eczema flare-up all over her torso, especially the neck and skin areas in contact with the seams. On the second day, it just gets worse. If you’d be so kind to imagine and put yourself in her shoes, it’s like wearing a clothing that has many ants. These are shoes difficult to fit, and which principal can force the child under his care to wear an ant-filled clothing?

I can think of many ways to resolve this uniform problem:

  1. Allow me to custom-make a similar uniform without using the same material and have seams on the outside
  2. Allow my child to wear the t-shirt and shorts attire that is all cotton
  3. Allow my child to wear an inner garment for eczema children on no-exercise days and wear t-shirt and shorts on exercise days
  4. Allow my child to wear the t-shirt and shorts after lunch to reduce time with the uniform on

With all the alternatives, and none proposing to disregard your school’s uniform policy, surely there is some tolerance within your policy to allow for one of the above alternative? Also, deeply appreciate if you can put me in contact with the other parents – together we can negotiate with the uniform maker. Do you need a letter from the doctor explaining why the uniform as it is cannot be worn by my child?

Thank you

#SkinishMom Disclaimer : A little tongue-in-cheek, don’t cut and paste and send to your child’s school!

#SkinishMom letters for Eczema Back to School – No-Touch Policy

Inspired by my back to school eczema tips, I wondered what letter a parent would write to inform the school of the child’s eczema and skincare. Starting from this week, this is a series of four #SkinishMom letters written to different schools (conjured up by my imagination and all schools are fictitious!).

Back to School Eczema Letter to School on No-Touch Policy

Back to School Eczema Letter to School on No-Touch Policy

Dear Principal,

I love that my child gets to study in your school and I would love it better if you allow your teachers to help my child with her eczema. Eczema is a chronic skin condition, and it waxes and wanes. It is characterized by dry skin, severe itch and reddish rash. As a parent who doesn’t want to impose additional work on the school’s system, I would have done all that I can for my child’s eczema when she is not in school (so that there is less that your teachers need to do). But it’s not always possible, and it’s made impossible by your no-touch policy.

Imagine with me:

After exercise classSweat triggers her eczema flare-ups. At home, we would give her a shower and moisturize immediately after (the dermatologist’s rule is within 3 minutes). Yet the no-touch policy precludes your teachers from helping. We have taught our child to moisturize on her own, but can you help with moisturizing her back? If not, she will keep on scratching if her skin is dry. It seems akin to letting a child go hungry for hours (in this case itchy) when offering a snack that takes few minutes will help (in this case, literally seconds to moisturize).

Before heading outdoorsChild’s skin is thinner and more vulnerable to sunburn. Eczema and sunburn don’t go well and likely to worsen eczema flare-ups. Even without eczema, sun protection is essential to prevent skin cancer and sunburn. Sunburn in young children, with fever and blistering, requires immediate medical attention – surely, this is something to avoid. Or is the plan here to not apply sunscreen on a child, take her out for hours, get sunburn and call the parent to pick up the child to see a doctor all in the name of your no-touch policy?

I’m fully aware of the reasons behind the no-touch policy – touching a child may be viewed by some with suspicion and if reported, difficult to substantiate basis for the touch. I would like to make it simple by giving permission to your teachers or nurses to:

  1. Apply moisturizer for my child on her back after shower
  2. Apply moisturizer for my child on her torso, back, arms, hands and legs anytime
  3. Apply sunscreen at skin areas exposed to sun, and that includes face, neck, upper shoulders, hands, arms and legs anytime up to 30 minutes before heading outdoors

Thank you

#SkinishMom Disclaimer : A little tongue-in-cheek, don’t cut and paste and send to your child’s school!

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