Ozsupernanny Hangout with Founder of Peridot London on Clothing – Eczema questions

Ozsupernanny Google Hangout with Rachel Wilson, founder of Peridot London, discusses eczema clothing

Ozsupernanny Google Hangout with Rachel Wilson, founder of Peridot London

This is the first google hangout on clothing/fashion for moms, and Angela Jacobsen invited Rachel Wilson, founder of Peridot London for the hangout.

There are many questions discussed on fashion, and coincidentally, Rachel is also an eczema sufferer, and so I’ve got some questions answered on clothing for eczema.

MarcieMom: Any clothing materials to avoid for those with eczema?

Rachel: Natural fibers like cotton, bamboo and silk is suitable for eczema. To avoid wool with scratchy fibers and synthetic fibres.

MarcieMom: Any washing detergent recommended?

I couldn’t catch this answer (possibly due to different brand names), you’ve to watch the hangout here to tell me :) On detergent, I’ve written a post here that it is not easy to find a hypoallergenic brand without all the major irritants so I opted for an allergy cycle that rinses for over an hour and also washes in 60 deg C to kill the dust mites.

MarcieMom: There are also instances of children having eczema flare-ups when trying out new clothes on the rack. How does one gauge if the clothing is suitable if they can’t try it out?

Rachel: Consider shopping online if there are clothing sizes or measuring against the body. Rachel’s brand is PERIDOT London and available online here, and from her ‘about’ page, “At Peridot London we believe in the importance of beautifully crafted pieces, garments with a high quality finish, precision of cut and detail, made in luxurious natural fabrics.” A screen capture of one of the collection:

eridot london rachel wilson

SOMEONE manages Children Clothing

Tiffany shares on clothing choice and care for her child

Tiffany shares on clothing choice and care for her child

This is a new series focused on personal journey with eczema while managing a certain aspect of life. Today, we have Tiffany to share how she manages her daughter’s eczema whenever she tries on new clothing. Tiffany is a mom of two and very active in social media, see her interesting Pinterest board here.

Marcie Mom: Hi TIffany, thanks for taking part in my new blog series ‘Someone has Eczema’! And I’m so excited about your aspect of life – trying new clothes, dressing our girls up! How did you discover that trying out new clothing is a trigger for your daughter? Is that the main trigger for her eczema?
Tiffany: When we try on new clothes, she breaks out into a rash on her face almost all the time! I think there is something in new fabrics that triggers the eczema. However, if I wash it first and then put it on her, there is no reaction.

Marcie Mom: Is your daughter’s eczema triggered by clothes that have yet to be washed (new clothes in store) or by certain materials used in the fabric?
Tiffany: I’ve been getting a mix but mostly 100% cotton clothing. I think it’s unwashed clothing that triggers it.

Marcie Mom: What care do you take to wash the new clothes? And did you get certain type of detergent or washing machine? Or have to sun it or not put it through the dryer?
Tiffany: I wash it with “unscented” detergent. I put it thru the washing machine and dryer. I have changed our family’s detergent all to the “unscented”

Marcie Mom: One final question – have you ever been tempted to just buy without letting your daughter try the clothes or request for hand-me-down to get around this trigger?
Tiffany: Yes, I have to buy without having her try it on but I would buy one in say a size 3T and then see if she fits after I’ve washed it. Then if she does, I can continue to buy without her trying on but I have to stick with the same brand.

Marcie Mom: Thanks Tiffany for your sharing! It’s very encouraging to see how everyone of us overcome eczema in our daily life, and nothing should stop us from our shopping lol!

Bamboo Bubby – Sleeping Bag for a Good Night for Sensitive Skin

Bamboo Bubby – Sleeping bags that grow with your baby (Click on picture and 20% proceeds to Singapore eczema fund for your purchase!)

Kelly Northey, Owner of Australian company Bamboo Bubby, came to know of EczemaBlues.com and introduced MarcieMom to its Bamboo Bubby BagTM – a sleeping bag that is made from a blend of cotton and bamboo with an Adjust-a-SleeveTM design. Bamboo Bubby BagTM is created to reduce damage from scratching at night, so that the whole family can have a good night’s sleep. MarcieMom, as always, does not do product review but is open to finding out more about products for children with eczema. In this interview, Kelly answers questions about Bamboo Bubby BagTM, including its material, design and benefit to eczema babies.

Marcie Mom: Thank you Kelly for taking time for this interview. I’m happy to know you, a mom who has built a business from finding a solution to your son’s eczema. I read from your site that you have designed Bamboo Bubby Bag at a time when your son has outgrown sleepsuits with handcovers. This, I’m sure many parents, myself included, can relate. It’s indeed the toughest period because the child can’t be swaddled safely but can roll and scratch. Can you share a little about your background? For instance, did your healthcare industry background help or do you like sewing and why have you decided to make your own sleeping bag?

Kelly: I think both of these things have helped in the conception of the Bamboo Bubby Bag. I work in the healthcare industry but with a focus on research and information technology roles, so when I noticed a real gap in the market here for a product to solve my baby’s problems, I definitely utilised my research skills when trying to find a solution to our problem and while I do have some sewing skills, I haven’t actually practiced them properly for a long time, so I am grateful for the assistance of my sister-in-law for her expertise when it came to sewing the first lot of prototype Bamboo Bubby Bags. However deciding to launch my business as a predominantly online one has definitely been the best use of my previous skills in information technology systems and website design and I love everything about the world of online marketing and social media as a means of sharing information and helping each other and when I realised there was no other product quite like it on the market, I knew I had to get Bamboo Bubby Bags out there in the world to help as many others who are struggling with sleeplessness caused by eczema.

Marcie Mom: Your Bamboo Bubby Bag is made from 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton interlock fabric. From your site, I understand the bamboo has anti-bacterial properties, not likely to irritate baby’s skin and able to expand when warm (for baby to be kept cool) and contract when cold (for additional warmth). You also offer a free fabric sample here.

Do all bamboo have the same anti-bacterial properties and texture and which type of bamboo is used in your Bamboo Bubby Bag? Your site mentions ‘natural’, can you explain to us your definition of natural?

Kelly: Bamboo naturally contains anti-bacterial and bacteriostatic bio-agent called “Bamboo Kun”, which allows it to naturally flourish and grow in the wild without the use of pesticides or fertilizers. There have been some studies undertaken in whether or not this anti-bacterial benefit remains when bamboo is manufactured into fabric. The Japan Textile Inspection Association (JTIA) completed a study that claims that even after 50 industrial washes, bamboo sheets showed a 70% effectiveness of antibacterial properties.

The China Industrial Testing Center completed a similar study, where bamboo fabric was tested over a 24 hour incubation period with the bacterial strain Staphylococcus aureous. Their results showed after a 24 hour period, the 100% bamboo fabric showed a 99.8% kill rate. These reports suggest bamboo may be an ideal fabric to use on eczema skin which is often inflamed and even infected.

The bamboo fabric used by Bamboo Bubby has passed Oeko-Tex 100 Class 1 testing which means that it is free from harmful substances, manufactured to cause the least possible harm to the environment and safe to use for baby products.

MarcieMom: It is mentioned on your site that bamboo has the property to remove excessive moisture. Can you explain to us how this works? Also, why is the decision to have it 70% bamboo, in other words, is 70% proven to give the optimal properties – thermal regulating, anti-bacterial, softness, durability?

Kelly: The scientific term for the ability to remove excessive moisture is the capillary effect or wicking effect and research shows that of the five leading fabrics available on the market, bamboo has the highest capillary effect, absorbing more moisture and drawing it away from the body than other fabrics and also decreasing the level of abrasion and damage to sensitive skin.

When skin becomes sweaty, fabric used to cover it causes the level of abrasion to increase, which then worsens skin conditions like eczema and is especially harsh on the delicate skin of babies with eczema. This is why synthetic fabrics which do not let the skin ‘breathe’ are notoriously bad for eczema skin.

It is a fact that if a baby sweats under their clothing then the level of abrasion caused to the skin is almost doubled.

So therefore, Bamboo fabric is the softest and least abrasive fabric to delicate skin, due to its ability to pull moisture away from the body. When compared to other ‘breathable’ fabrics such as cotton and viscose rayon, bamboo is superior due to the spaces between the individual fabric fibres, allowing greater moisture absorption while at the same time allowing more air ventilation through the fabric.

Deciding upon the best type of bamboo fabric to manufacture the Bamboo Bubby Bags from was difficult. 100% bamboo fabrics are beautifully soft and silky, but this softness also seemed to wear quicker and for a sleeping bag that will last throughout a baby’s entire first 2 or more years we needed an element of durability to the fabric. So a 70% bamboo/30% organic cotton mix interlock fabric was the best option. Still plenty of softness, but with added strength of organic cotton to help maintain its shape and be able to outlast a baby’s first couple of years.

Marcie Mom: Your Bamboo Bubby Bag has unique design features, such as Adjust-a-Sleeve design and double-ended zipper. Apart from allowing the baby to use up till 2 year-old, it can also help to make night changes easier. Given that the design is meant for the sleeping bag to ‘grow’ with the baby, how many machine washes can it withstand? Can it be washed in 600C cycle to remove dust mites?

Kelly: Bamboo fabrics will maintain their special qualities when washed in cold to warm water (up to 60 degrees Celsius) on a gentle-normal cycle with a gentle detergent, free of bleach. Line dying is best, however when necessary they can also be dried in clothes dryer on the cool setting. I have Bamboo Bubby Bags here that have been washed regularly like this for more than 18 months now!

Double-ended Zipper Design

Adjust-a-Sleeve Design

Marcie Mom: One last question – for parents who want to try out bamboo clothing or sleeping bags, what would you recommend them to look out for before making the purchase? For instance, the source of bamboo or any certification?

Kelly:  Yes, definitely check that any bamboo fabric products you purchase meet the Oeko-Tex 100 Class 1 testing standard which means that it is free from harmful substances, manufactured to cause the least possible harm to the environment and safe to use for baby products.

And we always to recommend following the SIDS & Kids Safe Sleeping Guidelines to ensure your baby sleeps safely. Recommendations from these are that baby sleeping bags have a fitted neckline, armholes and sleeves and no hoods. Baby sleeping bags also help to encourage babies to sleep on their backs. And when sleeping babies with their feet to the foot of the cot (as recommended in the guidelines), you can also tuck excess fabric from one size sleeping bags into the end of the cot mattress just like you would a sheet or blanket. These are guidelines are available at: http://www.sidsandkids.org/wp-content/uploads/SafeSleeping_Brochure.pdf

MarcieMom: On a personal note, how did you juggle your business, family and childcare?

Kelly: We had to change a lot of things about our working life to make it more flexible and to suit our particular family needs. We have both in the past year changed jobs and I’m now more easily able to also juggle the Bamboo Bubby business I have built steadily over this time as well alongside everything else.
I’m now quite proud of the fact that I started the entire Bamboo Bubby business as a way to give my mind something positive to focus on in the few hours every evening when we would anxiously await the next midnight wake up, knowing that our baby just never really slept until after this time. I hope it can now help others and give them also a place of support during a really distressing time.

On hindsight now too, I’m also very glad that my now toddler has had such great experiences at childcare. It has been great for him in every possible way and he’s made some wonderful little friends. Much as I have struggled with the ‘return to work juggle’, I would say to anyone who is contemplating childcare that just because your child may have some special needs, if you feel in your gut that the place is right and that they can look after your child according to management plans then the benefits for your child overall do outweigh any of the mummy-guilt that we naturally place on ourselves!

Marcie Mom: Thank you Kelly so much for answering my questions. It’s great to see your business flourishing and being awarded to be part of the Young Australian Entrepreneur scheme. p.s. to readers of eczemablues.com, I didn’t receive any money from Bamboo Bubby or Kelly for this interview.

Silver Sense – Gorgeous Clothing That’s Kind to Skin

Silver Sense Clothing

MarcieMom saw on twitter that Silver Sense is active in eczema community and events and connected with Sarah Davies, co-founder of Silver Sense. Silver Sense is a company based in Nottinghamshire, UK, that creates children clothing made from a blend of natural cotton and silver fibres. Silver Sense’s clothing comes in a family of animals, and MarcieMom interviews Sarah to find out more about Albert the Whale, Gilbert the Gecko, Jeffrey the Monkey, Sidney the Spider, Jude the Crocodile, Olivia the Duckling and Erica the Elephant!

Marcie Mom: Thank you Sarah for taking time for this interview. I’d have to commend you that indeed the clothing looks gorgeous! I read from your site that Silver Sense is set up by your brother, Richard Lamb and you. While his work experience is in medical textiles, yours is in fashion design and product development. Both of you started Silver Sense because you were looking for a solution for your son Jonathan’s eczema. Could you share a little about your journey? For instance, how severe was Jonathan’s eczema? And for how long did you try other treatments before you decided to create Silver Sense? And what other skincare regimen and treatment (if any) do you use even after Jonathan is wearing Silver Sense?

Sarah: Jonathan’s eczema started at approximately 4 months old, to begin with it was quite mild so we tried to treat it solely with emollients which had been suggested by other Mums however we didn’t find anything that offered much improvement. We made changes to our daily routine such as stopping using fabric softeners and just bathing him in water. We found that some of the creams we tried actually made things worse as he had allergic reactions to some of the ingredients. His eczema wasn’t clearing and was in fact spreading to other areas so we made the first of our trips to the doctor.

Our doctor was very understanding and assured us it was ‘just’ baby eczema so armed with more creams and washes we tried again to treat it. Again, the washing cream made it worse and the prescription lotions did nothing, including the very mild steroid cream. By now the patches were infected and would bleed, Jonathan would also try to scratch them whenever he could. He had eczema on his tummy, tops of his arms, shoulders, back of his neck, cheeks and the backs of his knees, these patches were crusty and bleeding. It was very distressing for all of us. We went back to the Doctor and were given a stronger steroid cream which we could only use very sparingly and not on his face, it was horrible to see him scratch his cheek until it was bleeding and I couldn’t find anything to help improve this. The stronger steroid cream did offer some improvement but I hated using it on him and found that when I stopped the eczema just returned to how it was. It was at this stage when I learnt more about the healing properties of Silver and was desperate to find a long term solution that Silver Sense was born.

Jonathan now sleeps on Silver Sense bedding which has cleared up the patches on his cheek and neck. He also sleeps in our jammies and wears a vest every day. In conjunction with his Silver Sense clothing we moisturise him with Doublebase gel, use Oilatum bath additive and on any particularly dry patches we use Lucas Papaw Ointment. We find that we have no further patches on his torso, arms or face, everywhere that is in contact with the silver. He still gets eczema starting to appear on the backs of his knees towards the end of the day as they are not in contact with Silver in his other clothes however his sleepwear prevents scratching in the night and has dramatically improved his skin again by the morning.I do wonder how bad this would be without his Silver Sense clothing? Since using Silver Sense we have had no infected eczema patches.

Marcie Mom: Your range of clothing is very colourful and stylish, featuring babygrows, tops, bottoms, hats, bibs and blankets, all carefully designed to have the seams and labels on the outside. Do all these products have the same amount of silver fibres in the fabric? And of what percentage of the (end) fabric has the 99.9% pure silver sourced from medical textile company X-Static? Is there a minimum % of silver required in the fabric before its anti-microbial properties can be useful?

Sarah: All of our products are manufactured using fabrics that contain a minimum of 4% Pure Silver yarn; this percentage is a requirement to ensure that the products perform. All products are certified by X-Staticto ensure that they contain the correct amount of Pure Silver.

MarcieMom: It is mentioned in your site that silver has been ‘clinically proven to prevent inflammation by naturally calming itchiness..’. How does silver do that?

Sarah: Pure silver kills bugs by breaking down the DNA of bacteria, it is this bacteria that causes the inflammation, itchiness and infection in skin conditions. Bacteria cannot become resistant to the silver ions in our products so continual treatment is provided. The clinical studies that we refer to have been commissioned by X-Static and as such we use the amount of Silver as required by them, to meet their infection kill rates. Continued use will soothe, heal and protect delicate skin.

Marcie Mom: I did a quick search over the internet and saw a few companies that sell silver clothing– what advice would you give to parents who want to assess which clothing brand to choose? For instance, is there a certain type/ grade of silver or certain size of silver fibre to look out for? Or should parents look out for where the silver textile comes from and where the clothing is made? Or is there a certification body that can give product quality and safety assurance to parents?

Sarah: Firstly we would recommend that parents make sure that the clothing is using pure metal silver fibre instead of Nano silver which is a coating that can wash off and leech (leech is the transfer of particles from the material to the surrounding environment). We would recommend X-Static as it is accepted as being the market leader; it is not the cheapest yarn however it is the best in terms of performance and durability. We choose to make our products in the UK as it is where we are based and ensures we have complete control and visibility at all times of our production. Unfortunately there is no certification body however this is something we would welcome and actively be involved in.

MarcieMom: I read on your site that Silver Sense wants to be a truly British brand; you design the clothing, source the silver textile from X-Static (US?) and the fabric is then made in UK and clothing knitted locally in Nottinghamshire. I note with interest that as opposed to certain manufacturers who spray silver on the fabric, you knit it into the fabric. This translates into a more durable product where the silver won’t be washed away. Tell us, what is the product life of Silver Sense clothing and is there any trial conducted as to how many machine washes it can withstand? Also, if the silver can be washed away, is there a chance that over long-term use (say, a mom only uses Silver Sense for her newborn all the way till 5 year old) the child’s skin will be exposed to excessive silver that has leeched onto the skin? Is there any research done in this area? And what is the side effect (if any) on having silver on the skin all the time?

Sarah: We are the only childrenswear brand to knit pure metal silver fibre into our fabrics, when developing Silver Sense we researched many techniques of production and feel very strongly that this is the best and most effective way of adding silver to garments. X-Static have provided us with study data showing fabrics knitted with X-Static are capable of withstanding over 200 commercial laundry cycles without any performance reduction, it is accepted that industrial laundering is far more aggressive than domestic washing however we stress that customers must follow our product care guidelines which include no use of fabric softener and chlorine based bleaches. Without a doubt the pure silver in Silver Sense products will last the life of the garment and will not be washed away.Silver Sense garments will not leech. There are in excess of 300,000 US military personnel that wear X-Static base layer garments on a daily basis and there have been no known adverse side effects, in fact it is quite the opposite, soldiers report that skin conditions are improved in field conditions.

Marcie Mom: Thank you Sarah so much for your time and understanding where I come from when I asked these questions. My readers would know that while I don’t do any product review (nor subject Marcie to product testing), I am always open to knowing more products and asking questions that I think will help parents to assess better their options for their child with eczema. p.s. to readers of eczemablues.com, I didn’t receive any money from Silver Sense or Sarah for this interview and any advertising on eczemablues.com is donated to the eczema fund.

Clothing that is the Nearest Thing to a Second Skin with Anti-Microbial Properties

Girl wearing Dermasilk garments and glove (picture from dermasilk.co.uk)

DermaSilk is a range of specialist garments especially suited for eczema children that MarcieMom first came across on twitter. Interested to find out how it can help parents manage their children’s eczema, MarcieMom contacted Jo Fletcher, the Operations Director of Espere  Healthcare Ltd, the company that manages the sale of DermaSilk. DermaSilk is produced by ALPRETEC, an Italian company that has extensive experience manufacturing allergy protection products. DermaSilk is developed with a patented process that binds the medical grade silk to an anti-microbial shield that can reduce 94% of staphylococcus aureus (staph), a bacteria that commonly colonizes eczema skin and causes skin infection.   

Marcie Mom: Jo, thank you so much for taking time to explain DermaSilk to us. I’ve read your very informative website and understand that DermaSilk is not the same as shop bought silk because the outer coating of the silk (sericin protein) has been stripped off, leaving the core known as fibroin. This is because the outer layer has been shown to cause allergic reactions. Do you know if the sericin protein is a common irritant? Also, does stripping this layer remove the antioxidants present in silk?

Jo: Sericin-free silk has been used in medical practice for many years in the form of surgical sutures (stitches). Hospitals use this form of silk as there have been reports in the medical literature of allergic reactions to sericin both in patients and in people working in the silk manufacturing industry. It is not a common irritant but with most eczema patients the irritation of sensitive skin is the last thing you would want to promote so it is logical to use medical grade fibroin silk. We’ve never measured the anti-oxidant properties of silk as our aim is to control temperature and humidity to prevent itch.

Marcie Mom: DermaSilk has taken the silk, modified it to medical grade, and enhanced it with the anti-microbial shield. I viewed with interest your video that this shield can reduce staph as it pierces the microbes and destroys it without using chemicals such as silver or nano-particles that will leach to the skin. In fact, DermaSilk can even be an alternative to steroid. Under what circumstances would you recommend parents to use DermaSilk instead of steroids? For instance, only in mild cases or certain types of eczema such as those not triggered by food?

Jo: As silk is a natural protein fibre it can be prone to attack by bacteria and fungi so it is important that we protect it from colonisation by microbes which would make eczema worse. Unlike silver, our antimicrobial is designed to bond with the silk and it cannot be washed or worn off. This means that it does not get onto the skin or into the body of the wearer so continues to work for the life of the garment. We’ve run a large number of clinical trials with DermaSilk, one of them comparing DermaSilk with a topical corticosteroid to compare efficacy. What the researchers found was that there was no difference between arms treated with 7 days of steroid and arms clothed in DermaSilk. We would not advocate that DermaSilk replaces any prescribed medication. It is intended to be an “add on” treatment which will help to control the symptoms of eczema in such a way as to possibly reduce the need for topical steroids in the future as the frequency and severity of eczema flares tends to reduce when using DermaSilk.

Marcie Mom: So what is it that DermaSilk does?

Jo: It’s really very simple. DermaSilk stops itch! It is made of a knitted fabric which helps to control temperature and humidity close to the skin. When skin is too hot or cold or too dry or too damp it itches and scratching the itch leads to more itching and skin damage. Worn as underwear, DermaSilk helps to keep optimal levels of moisture and temperature close to the skin, even in hot and humid environments.

Marcie Mom: I think we have a clearer picture of DermaSilk’s features. Let’s learn how to use DermaSilk. Parents may be mistaken to use DermaSilk as a wet or dry wrap because that is the main use of other types of medical clothing. This is incorrect as large quantities of moisturizers used in “wrapping” can impede the function of the product. Also, DermaSilk is to be worn at all times. Practically, does this mean parents who need to moisturize their child frequently have to remove DermaSilk garments, apply moisturizer/steroid, wait for them to be absorbed then put the garment back on? Or would you say it’s more suitable for night time use in young children?

Jo: Many people confuse the use of DermaSilk with wrapping garments so it is good to have the opportunity to put the matter straight. Wrapping garments are used for getting difficult eczema cases under control and may only be needed for a short period of time. During their use the child has to be covered in thick layers of sticky emollient ointments and the garments are pulled over the emollient to help force the moisturiser into the skin. Wet wraps involve two layers of garments and dry wrapping a single layer but these garments are to keep the moisturiser in place for a short time.

By contrast, DermaSilk is designed to help control stable eczema and this is achieved by constant wearing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whether the eczema is causing a problem or not. Think of it as normal underwear. It is always advisable to let moisturisers dry before you put the DermaSilk on but we find that in many cases the need to apply moisturisers frequently drops to a couple of times a day because the silk is helping to protect the skin. This means that DermaSilk can be used both day and night.

Marcie Mom: We know that eczema children are very good at scratching hard. Will their scratching damage DermaSilk garment? Is the DermaSilk glove recommended for young children who can’t keep their mittens on?

Jo: DermaSilk removes the itch so the desire to scratch reduces. The garments are pretty robust and, providing they are worn under normal clothing, little fingers are not likely to damage the clothing. For the smaller children, aged up to 4 the DermaSilk body suits have integral mits which can be folded over the hands to protect them. DermaSilk gloves, used from age 4 upwards are not intended to stop fingers from scratching but to stop hands from itching. Remember it is the anti-itch properties of the clothing which sets DermaSilk aside.

Marcie Mom: There are very clear instructions on the wear & care of DermaSilk here. One interesting point is that DermaSilk doesn’t have to dry completely before the child can wear as it can retain 30% moisture without feeling damp. Does the higher moisture retention make DermaSilk susceptible to mould? And will it expand and become loose overtime?

Jo: Silk needs to be humid in order to function properly and just like healthy skin it performs best when at 30% humidity. As with skin, silk will attract bacteria and fungi and this is why the antimicrobial is bonded to the silk to help prevent this buildup and keep the garment fresh and the skin free of excess microbes.

Marcie Mom: A final question on the durability of DermaSilk. I note that DermaSilk’s anti-microbial shield has been tested for over 50 washes. My child with eczema showers twice a day so does that mean DermaSilk can last 25 days?

Jo: Not at all! We tested the durability of the antimicrobial for over 50 washes and found that less than 1% of the activity of the antimicrobial had been removed. Our garments will last for as long as they are the right size for the child to fit into them and we’ve even had instances of families passing them down to younger siblings. 6 to 12 month lifespans are not uncommon.

Marcie Mom: Thanks, I’ve learnt a great deal about DermaSilk and must say I’m impressed with the technology. p.s. to readers of eczemablues.com, I did not receive any money from Espere Healthcare or Alpretec for this interview.

What I’ve learnt from Dr Ava Shamban’s Channel – Protecting Skin

Dr AVA MD’s Channel

Been watching Dr Ava Shamban’s Channel - a series of youtube videos relating to skincare. Dr. Ava Shamban–a renowned board-certified dermatologist licensed to practice medicine in California, New York and Hawaii–graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University before receiving her medical degree from Case Western Reserve Medical School. In addition to serving as Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the UCLA-Geffen School of Medicine, she is recognized as the “Extreme Makeover” dermatologist and the resident expert on the Emmy winning daytime talk show, “The Doctors.” Dr. Shamban is also author of the new book, Heal Your Skin: The Breakthrough Plan for Renewal (Wiley)

Here’s what I’ve learnt from various video, do check them out by clicking the video name :)
Exercise can increase circulation, thereby increasing nutrients to the skin and reducing toxins. Cortisol, produced by adrenal gland, will also be reduced (cortisol lowers immune system). Any exercise that can be carried out on daily/ every other day basis is good!
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Stress can manifest both internally and externally, on the skin. Stress, increases cortisol, which is viewed as a male-like hormone (androgen) and increases acne. To destress, relax and nap. A combination of rest and exercise is always beneficial.
See also my post here on stress on children with eczema.
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The skincare products suited for you may not necessarily be the most expensive; label-reading is important (which is why I’ve started the Sensitive Skin Products series with VMVHypoallergenics). Make sure that the active ingredient is in the first five ingredients and the product is fragrance-free. In Dr Ava’s words ‘If you want to use perfume, use perfume; but not on your face’.
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Choose a high SPF especially at least SPF50 on higher altitude. Choose one that is not too oily or greasy and comfortable to use (with make-up). If doing sports, need a water-proof or resistant one. Sunscreen on the face is formulated differently with that on the body.
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Sun-protection is discussed and Dr Ava’s recommendation is to have a high SPF sunscreen, wide-brimmed hat and wear sun-protective clothing (there’s even for babies with SPF 50 rating). Choose physical sunscreen that’s safer for children (you can see this post for more info). For face, a non-comedogenic lotion with SPF can also be used. There’re also certain foods that can help increase SPF, mainly red/purple fruits such as pomegranate, carrots, watermelons, blueberry and raspberry!

Easy to Use Wet Wrapping to Keep Child’s Skin Hydrated

Tubifast Garment (pic taken from www.molnlycke.com)

MarcieMom learnt online that wet wrapping is a method used to keep moisturizer/emollient on the child’s skin, particularly for children who has severe eczema and requires their skin to be kept hydrated. MarcieMom started looking for easy to use wet wrapping in Singapore and found that Tubifast Garments, a product of Mölnlycke Health Care Limited, is available in Mount Elizabeth Hospital. As some parents are new to Tubifast, MarcieMom contacted Mölnlycke Health Care to find out more about their products and how to use them.

Marcie Mom: I read from your website that Tubifast is a 2-way stretch technology, meaning it can stretch horizontally as well as vertically. It comes in ‘tube’, therefore removing the need to bandage and secure with tapes or pins. It is recommended on your site to be worn by children under their clothes, including pyjamas. I haven’t seen the actual product, but I imagined it to be like wearing thermal wear which isn’t very appealing and brings to mind trapping heat and scratchy. From your experience, how did the children with eczema describe wearing Tubifast?

Mölnlycke Health Care: Tubifast is made of SoftSeam technology which helps to reduce irritation of sensitive skin. The material of Tubifast is very soft and comfortable, yet not very thick. It is totally different from thermal wear. For Ezema patient, Tubifast is worn after application of emollient (either wet wrapping or patch wrapping). Feedbacks from children are always very comfortable and it really eases their itchiness and prevents them from scratching.

Marcie Mom: It is written on your website to first apply Epaderm (an emoillent brand under Mölnlycke), followed by wearing Tubifast Garment/bandage. Does a certain type of emoillent go better with Tubifast? And is there a preference for lotion or cream when using with Tubifast?

Mölnlycke Health Care: No. Any type of emollient that is meant for ezema can be used with tubifast.

Marcie Mom: For wet wrapping, it is stated on your website to wear one damp layer of Tubifast, over the moisturizer, followed by another dry layer. This sounds really warm to me, yet I understand that the damp layer can cool and soothe the skin. How does this work? And how long can the child’s skin be kept cool?

Mölnlycke Health Care: Wet wrapping helps to keep skin hydrated and moist, hence reduces inflammation. It also helps to ease the itch and scratch cycle for ezema patients by giving a cooling sensation to the skin that prevents children from further scratching and causing potential injury. You can constantly keep the damp layer moist by spraying water every few hours (depending on the environment / temperature especially in the air-condition room).

Marcie Mom: I’m thinking through some practical questions parents may have, such as (i) how many hours should my child wear Tubifast for it to be effective? (ii) how often should I wash Tubifast? (iii) how do I wash Tubifast, can it be steamed? (iv) will my child get crinkled skin from osmosis? (v) will my child catch a cold like wearing wet clothes? (vi) can my child continue to sleep in air-conditioned room?

Mölnlycke Health Care: (i) Usually Tubifast wet-wrapping is worn during night time. However, please consult a dermatologist who specializes in treating atopic ezema. (ii) No fixed frequency for washing. As and when deem required. (iii) Hand wash tubifast and air-dry it. (iv) So far we have not received such feedback but please consult your dermatologist for further information (v) Tubifast wet-wrapping is to be worn under supervision of a healthcare professional (vi) Please consult your healthcare professional.

Marcie Mom: Thanks, I think we’ve covered many questions that will come to parents’ mind. Should there be more questions, I’ll let you know and update in the comments. p.s. to readers of eczemablues.com, I asked for this interview as I’m curious why wet wrapping is seldom seen in Singapore. I did not receive any money from Mölnlycke Health Care for this interview.

Protecting Precious Skin of Eczema Child

Nikki, founder of SnugglePaws with her son Louis

@Marcie Mom met @SnugglePaws over twitter and invited Nikki Paquette, the founder of Snuggle Paws, to share about her mompreneur journey. Snuggle Paws is a company based in Kent, UK that designs and sells clothing suited for eczema children, protecting their precious skin and allowing the skin to heal.
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Marcie Mom: Nikki, it’s good to finally have a one-on-one chat with you. I’m really interested to find out why you’d decided to make your son, Louis, his own eczema clothing and how did you go about doing it? Did the effort of designing, finding the right material and getting it sewn appear daunting in the beginning?
 
Nikki: When Louis developed eczema he was only two or three months old (you forget the actual time – although it should be imprinted on my memory) and I was quite unaware how to deal with it, the length of time he would have it and all the frustrations that go with trying to stop a young baby scratching and making the eczema worse.
 
It didn’t matter whether he was asleep or awake, the scratching was continuous and created secondary infections which then also had to be dealt with. I felt that if I could keep the fingers covered, because you know how quickly their nails grow, this would be helpful.
 
When you purchase the first sizes of sleepsuits, the hands are kept covered but I found that after a few months the sleepsuits had hands that could escape and therefore scratch.  I decided to make mittens that I then sewed onto tops or sleepsuits but the stitching was never strong enough after a few washes and just came away.  Also seams and labels on garments also caused aggravation.
 
As I am a Fashion Designer by profession, working mostly on childrenswear for the large retailers here in the UK, I had the advantage of knowing about clothing, garment make up, fabrics etc, so decided that I would have a try at making a prototype garment that would help.
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Marcie Mom: How did making a few pieces for your son turn into a business? Did someone encourage you or did you meet up with a good manufacturer that made you decide you could make thousands more for other eczema children?
 
Nikki: There were several attempts until I was satisfied and this is where the covered hand concept for ages up to 5/6 years came in.  Although there were other people who had been successfully manufacturing for a long time, because the hands and feet were totally enclosed on my garments I was able to obtain a trademark for my patterns.
 
The design with flat seams, labels that pulled off, poppers that were environmentally friendly all came together because of my working knowledge. However, this was not as easy as it sounds, it took a long time to get it right and it had to be fun and bright and therefore the names for the garments with the logos had to be designed.  So it was not a quick fix, or an easy journey to make.
 
I tried to get the items manufactured in the UK but again it was not easy, mainly due to costs.  It took some time to find a manufacturer outside the UK and after several attempts, looking at costs, freight, minimum garment numbers we found our present manufacturer with whom we have an excellent relationship.
 
I had to persevere with the business because I thought it was a good idea, it worked for me and if that helped me, there were one in five children being born with eczema, all going through the same agonies as we were and they needed help too. No-one says it will stop a child scratching (absolutely impossible) but if it helps avoid the agony of clearing up secondary infections time after time, because the fingers are not touching the skin or open scabs, this must be of some help.
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Marcie Mom: I read that SnugglePaws clothing are made from Okeo-tex standard 100; tell us a little more about this standard and whether it is a common standard in children clothing.
 
Nikki: The clothing is made from Okeo-tex standard 100 because the majority of large retailers use this in childrens clothing.  It is a universal standard which is free from chemicals in its manufacturing process.  It undergoes extensive laboratory tests, it has a recognised certification and is ethically responsible.
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Marcie Mom: Any final word to our readers?
 
Nikki: I hope that our chat helps your readers and if anyone has any questions please let me know and I will try to answer them.  Also if any of your readers are interested in our garments, tell them to visit our website on www.snugglepaws.com where, if they place an order and mention your name when asked where they found us, we will be happy to refund their postage from now up until 25th December 2011, back through to their account (unfortunately with the system as we have it has to be paid for first).
 
Our good wishes to you all,  Nikki and Chris.
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Marcie Mom: Thanks Nikki, I really appreciate you taking time for this interview. I’m going to head to your store and get some SnugglePaws for my baby Marcie, who has been sleeping in her own cot (instead of on me!) for two weeks. p.s. to readers of eczemablues.com, I asked Nikki for the interview so that parents can have another option, particularly to deal with children scratching at night. I did not receive any money from Nikki or SnugglePaws for this interview.

ScratchMeNot – A PTPA Winning Product for Eczema Children

Andrea Thomas, the mom behind the company Short Stacks that makes the PTPA (parent tested, parent approved) winning product, ScratchMeNot, talks to Marcie Mom at eczemablues.com about her passion and mompreneur journey. ScratchMeNot is an eczema clothing innovation that Andrea created to help prevent her daughter from scratching, and has since grown into a thriving business.

Marcie Mom: Hi Andrea, we know that you first created ScratchMeNot to prevent your daughter who has eczema from scratching. What motivated you to decide to make ScratchMeNot for sale?
Andrea: Yes, I first created ScratchMeNots for my daughter who was scratching non-stop! Before she was born, I knew very little about eczema so I was blindly searching for anything to help her. There seemed to be an endless supply of creams and ointments available, however I needed something for the immediate act of scratching. I went to brick and mortar stores & I googled like CRAZY to find anything to stop the itching. I tried the tradition baby mittens, but they did not solve the problem, as my daughter would rub or pull them off. Not being able to find a product out there to fit our needs, I decided to create my own, that would help my daughter immediately. Since I had such a hard time finding the right product, I thought maybe other parents were too. ScratchMeNots followed soon after, a product that is an all day solution for a scratching child’s needs.

Marcie Mom: Tell us more about your passion. Were you already into sewing before making ScratchMeNot?
Andrea: To be honest, the most experience I had in sewing, before ScratchMeNots were a pillow and a pot holder! Thankfully, I knew a friend who had the time, energy, and great skills to help me bring my visions to life. She taught me how to sew beyond pot holders. It was exciting to go from a thought to a finished product. It’s amazing how much parents can learn, when the driving force is meeting a need that allows their children to feel better, and helps other parents at the same time.

Marcie Mom: How do you find time to make the product, sell the product, manage a business and parent your children?
Andrea: Thankfully, we have a manufacturer that I work closely with to create our ScratchMeNot inventory. This is a great help to free up more time for me to focus on managing Short Stacks, family, and parenting! It is not easy to balance working from home, while my little one is here with me needing my attention. I’ve learned to plan ahead, to create a schedule, and to stick to it. Each portion of my day is dedicated to specific tasks, learning and/or quality time. I’m still trying to master our routine! A lot of work usually occurs early in the morning and late at night. It is challenging, but it’s worth every moment. I have learned to accept that everything I planned to do might not get done, and that’s okay. I also have come to understand the importance of networking with other companies that have an expertise in areas that I don’t. Especially with other moms, it helps all of our companies succeed!

Marcie Mom: Thanks Andrea, and we certainly look forward to more products from your store! p.s. To readers of eczemablues.com, I asked Andrea for the interview because some of you have feedback to me that ScratchMeNot works for your child. I did not receive any money from Andrea or Short Stacks for this interview.

Mom with Eczema Child sets up Online Store, The Eczema Company

Jennifer and her children

Jennifer Roberge, who has a child with eczema, shares why she decided to set up an online store EczemaCompany.com. Her online store offering products for children with eczema has recently launched, with products such as clothing from Kumfy Cotton and ScratchMeNot, creams, soaps and bath oils from Monkey Balm, Souris Verte, and The Hempest, as well as healing hazelwood jewelry.

Marcie Mom: Jennifer, it’s so good to see an entrepreneur mom, particularly when the business will help children with eczema. What gave you the idea to start EczemaCompany.com?

Jennifer: My son Tristan was diagnosed with eczema at three months old and it was progressively getting worse over the years (he’s now three years old). I was desperate to find anything and everything that would help to relieve his suffering, calm the itchiness, or prevent the horrible scratching that would keep our whole family up at night. We spent a lot of money and searched companies all over the world to discover the best natural products for him. It was very costly and time consuming finding the right products from so many different sources, so my idea was to gather our favorites and make them available in one online store for other families like us.

Marcie Mom: How do you think your products can help other parents with eczema children? Have they worked for your child?

Jennifer: I have chosen the products you’ll see on the website because either we use them on our son or we know other parents who have used them, both with great results. My son does not take a nap or night’s sleep without wearing his ScratchMeNot mittens and Kumfy Cotton clothing (tops with mittens and pants with feet) because without them he would scratch himself horribly.  All our creams, oils, and soaps are wonderful products with all natural ingredients that are gentle on delicate irritated skin, but not all of them will work for every child. Therefore, we offer a variety of products so parents can find something that will help their child with their particular case of eczema.

Marcie Mom: How do you find the time to parent two children and run the online store?

Jennifer: Multi-tasking, isn’t that what moms do best?! I’m sure all the mompreneurs will say the same. It’s also finding the right balance of time management and structure. I have the passion to help families living with the daily challenges of eczema, so that’s a big motivator for me.  We do plan to keep to our regular family time though – dinner together, weekends biking or going to the park. Family is incredibly important, so our time together will remain a priority in our lives.

Marcie Mom: Thanks Jennifer, all the best for your online store.
p.s. To readers of eczemablues.com, I did not receive any money from Jennifer or EczemaCompany.com for this interview. My ebook, A to Z Animals are not scratching!, is sold on EczemaCompany.com, for which I would receive a certain percentage for the sale since I’m the author and creator of the ebook.

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