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Can stress make your child's eczema flare up?

Is stress a trigger for my child’s eczema?

Stress. Why is it that on the days my little boy went to daycare his skin always seemed worse? So many people told me it was the sandpit, but it even on the days there was no sandpit play his skin was still affected. So what was causing his eczema to flare up while he was at daycare?

After a lot of monitoring all sorts of possible triggers, like whether he played in the sandpit that day or not, analysing the weekly weekly menu to try and pick up a pattern, taking note of whether it was a hot or cold day, and making sure his own sunscreen was applied which I knew didn’t irritate his skin… I wasn’t able to find a culprit.

There was one possibility left. And this was stress. The emotional stress of being in a less familiar environment, being away from me, and dealing with the everyday happenings at daycare was quite possibly the reason for his eczema flare ups.

What types of stress triggers eczema?

  • Separation anxiety – When your child is away from you for long periods of time, it may cause them mental and emotional distress and result in their skin being more itchy.
  • The stress scratch cycle – When your child feels stressed from irritants such as clothing and dust, they may begin to scratch their skin intensely.
  • Busy schedules – Just like all of us, when schedules get more hectic, we start to feel stressed and begin to worry. Children also feel this when their routines become overloaded or changed, so it is important to maintain a more relaxed routine for your little one and sometimes choose to do less.

How can I manage my child’s stress?

There are some changes you could make which could help to lessen eczema flare ups related to stress.

Itchy skin can make sleeping well really challenging and the lack of sleep can result in your child feeling stressed, worsening eczema symptoms. To help your little one (and you) get a good night’s sleep you could try:

  • Bath time can help some children relax, especially if it is part of their known routine.
  • After the bath massage their skin using a hydrating moisturiser or oil to protect the skin from drying out and getting itchy during the night.
  • Limit the use of screen time two hours before bed time.
  • Make sure your child’s bedroom is a relaxed environment – not too hot or cold. It is also important to dress your child up in pyjamas made of cotton which is a breathable fabric and lessens the heat around the body which can cause itchiness.

Although stress may not directly cause eczema, it can increase the incidence of eczema flare ups. Just being aware of stress as a trigger for your child’s eczema can influence decisions you make about your day to day routine.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

baby eczema

Our feature in Mouths of Mums – stress and eczema

Last week we were featured in popular online parenting website, ‘Mouths of Mums’. We wrote about “How stress could be making your toddler’s eczema worse”. We have included some of the key points from the article below:

Toddler stress and eczema

During stressful times, your toddler’s skin becomes more sensitive leading to inflammation- if your toddler has eczema, increases in inflammation will make the eczema worse. So it is always important to be on top of some of the key triggers which cause stress in toddlers:

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