When kids start wearing jewelry, make-up, different clothing materials and new skin care products, it is not uncommon for itchy & rashy skin to appear. It can take time to learn what specific ingredients and substances cause a reaction an individual person.
These reactions are commonly the result of contact dermatitis -- the official term for a rash or itchy patch of skin due to contact with a given substance. There are 2 types of contact dermatitis – allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis. Allergic Contact Dermatitis is due to an allergic response to something that the body views as toxic, including common allergies such as poison ivy or latex or allergies that are specific to an individual person. Irritant Contact Dermatitis is a reaction that develops when a substance irritates the skin. This type is the most common and includes contact with “toxic” ingredients such as bleach or battery acid as well as irritations resulting from prolonged exposure with most anything, including water or soaps.
If your child has irritated skin, find out what –if any- new products he or she may have been using or tried. As mentioned above, it may be skincare but could be anything that comes into a lot of contact with the skin such as a new necklace or bracelet or eye shadow. It can be hard to identify which materials specifically are causing the rash(es), so it may take trial and error to determine which brands & products are best for your child’s skin without formal allergy testing. However, a few recommendations for you include:
- · JEWELRY – try sterling silver or gold. While more expensive, these materials are often less irritating to skin even than many self-proclaimed “hypoallergenic.” The “hypoallergenic” metals and surgical steel will, however, still likely be better than unknown metals while still being cost effective.
- · MAKE-UP – if it was a make-up product causing the issue, try a product like Almay that is designed for people with sensitive skin and does rather extensive allergy & irritant testing.
- · SKIN CARE –do a small patch test of new products or brands before doing a full application.
Treatment & Care: if you suspect that your child is experiencing contact dermatitis:
*Cleanse the area with a gentle cleanser such as Eucerin or Cetaphil. Products that are good for sensitive skin or eczema will work well.
*Keep the area moisturized. Irritation is a sign of a damaged natural skin barrier. Moisture will help repair & strengthen it.
*Apply cool, moist compresses to any blisters or highly irritated areas of skin
*OTC antihistamines or corticosteroids may help with itchiness, redness, inflammation and swelling
For More Information:
Beverly Dermatology blog: Itchy & Irritated Skin
American Academy of Dermatology: Contact Dermatitis