What can you do for your itchy little one when it comes to dressing them? Scratchy, tight or overly warm clothing can irritate eczema-prone skin. However, with a careful shopping it is entirely possible to find comfortable clothes for an eczema baby. Here is what we look for when clothing our itchy, eczema-prone son.
Eczema friendly baby clothing: What we look for
Stiff or bulky seams can irritant eczema prone skin. While flat seams are often touted as being better for eczema sufferers, user testing suggests that this is not always the case. Instead, we look for soft flexible seams ideally made with fibrous rather than spun thread. If seams are a real problem for your eczema baby, specialist seam free base layers are available. Other brands have external seams.
We all know that labels in clothing can be really irritating. Look for garments with the labelling information printed directly onto the fabric or soft woven ribbon labels sewn into side seams where they will be less irritating and can be easily removed. Some inks used for printing directly onto fabrics include latex. If clothes with printed information on the inside are problematic for your child, latex allergy is a possible reason.
Some brands including ScratchSleeves) have the labels attached to the outside of their garments. Watch out for super scratchy, papery labels used by some of the cheaper clothing manufacturers. Our experience is that these are impossible to remove completely without damaging the seam.
While stitched or appliqué embellishments look really cute, the back of these designs is often stiff and scratchy, especially after the clothes have been washed a few times. The underside of stitched designs is often covered with a synthetic mesh stuck to the inside of the garment. Both the mesh fabric and the adhesive can irritate sensitive skin. Look for printed designs and funky stripes rather than stitched motifs. Embellishments are best avoided on clothes for an eczema baby.
Most children’s clothes have fairly wide, elastic waist bands which are usually reasonably comfortable for eczema babies. However, if a waistband fits snugly, it can end up irritating eczema prone skin so we look for dungarees (or dresses for our daughter) to avoid waist bands all together. Also keep an eye out for adjustable waist bands, commonly found in toddler and pre-schooler trousers. Some children find the loose elastic, and button that it attaches to, really uncomfortable and scratchy. We are fans of the trousers with wide, ribbed waist bands.
When children are very small, up to about 18 months old, eczema tends to occur on the face and cheeks making tops with tight neck-lines really uncomfortable to put on and take off. This is especially true if your child has a big head. Look for tops with envelope collars, button up fronts (or backs) and generous neck openings.
You’ll be surprised at what a difference fabric choice makes to an eczema child’s comfort. Cotton is particularly comfortable to wear for children with eczema as it doesn’t aggravate the skin and lets it breathe easy. Avoid woollens as even non-eczema sufferer can find the stiff fibres irritating and itchy. Our funky scratch mitts and baby PJs are crafted from the best fabrics for eczema babies: cotton and silk. See our article on eczema friendly fabrics for more information.
Other Things to Think About
Eczema is often aggravated by heat. Dress your eczema baby in lots of thin layers so that you can easy adjust for changes in temperature. Try to keep the layers loose to avoid any uncomfortable bunching around your child’s elbows, shoulders and knees.
Laundry-wise you should pre-wash coloured cotton to remove any irritants like loose dyes. Products made from cheaper materials may be made with the irritant chemical substance formaldehyde. It’s advisable to rinse clothes through twice to get rid of any excess washing detergent and avoid fabric softeners. See our article on eczema friendly laundry for more top tips.
Here at ScratchSleeves, we don’t just share our experiences of bringing up an eczema child and favourite allergy-friendly recipes, we also manufacture and sell our unique stay-on scratch mitts and PJs for itchy babies, toddlers and children. We now stock sizes from 0-adult years in a range of colours. Take a look at our specialist eczema clothing in our webshop.