The itching, the scratching, the uncomfortable feeling in their clothes. It’s annoying. You just can’t understand why your child can’t get rid of those skin rashes they have.
If your child has rash symptoms you know how difficult it is to keep them comfortable. Rashes are annoying. It’s important to keep skin inflammation under control. Your child suffers enough. There are some simple things we can do to help lower skin irritation. After all, our skin is our first line of defense in our immunity.
Although PFAPA is not known for a rash, Parker has had sensitive skin with many rashes since birth. He is sensitive to nearly every single product on the market. This led me down the path of research and problem-solving for his rashes. The tips and tricks I provide are based on what we do with him at home that helps his skin.
What are skin irritants?
Let’s look at the products in your house that can cause skin irritation.
- Soaps & Lotions – we use soap & lotion on our hands, and on our bodies.
- Cleaning agents – you are cleaning your shower, tub and counters. If you let your child bathe and sit in the tub they are coming into contact with some of those agents.
- Detergents and dryer sheets – your child’s clothing is soaked in the detergent. The chemicals stay in the fabric and come into contact with their skin. Same with dryer sheets.
- Fragrances – found in nearly all products. Even if they are “free and clear” products, other chemicals in the product can be skin irritants.
- Your water supply – you may already know your water supply isn’t very good because you have had it tested and it’s proven. But if you have a “regular city water” supply your water is likely treated with things like bleach and fluoride. If your child is sitting in this water and they are sensitive you might notice rashes.
- Clothing – some fabrics do not work with some children’s skin.
- Food – some food allergies and products can cause skin irritation.
For now, I am going to give you some easy tips with a recipe to get you started with lowering skin irritants in your home. Most of what I am talking about today is contact irritation. This isn’t focused on food allergies. Coming soon – My digestive system research hub!
For my son, I use the same body wash as a shampoo. It works fine for him. If your child has a very dry hair, or long hair, it might not work and you will need to find a gentle shampoo. But for body wash, tub soap, as well as hand soap this is great.
What this soap doesn’t contain: sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate. This is one of the main causes of skin irritation. This is what makes soap foam and bubble in store-bought brands.
Stick with basics and few ingredients. You can use a foam pumper (lasts longer) or in a regular soap dispenser for a hand soap. We use foam pumpers for the showers and some sinks, and some regular soap pumps at others.
- 2 tbsp – Liquid castille soap of your choice. We have used the Dr. Woods and the Dr. Bronner brands. I have used the lavender scent with success. Both offer unscented as well. I recommend the unscented. Especially if you are not sure if scents are the problem.
- 7 oz. of distilled water
- Optional: 5-8 drops of essential oil scent of your choice. If you are unsure if you can tolerate scent, then you can simply skip this.
One of the things my skin won’t even tolerate is laundry detergent. We sit in our clothes that rub on our skin all day long. Parker and myself develop rashes from store bought detergents.
Here is what we do – Using a recycled cleaned store bought container I already had:
- On the stove heat 6 cups of water to a boil
- Once boiling turn stove off and add 1 cup of washing soda, and 1 cup of borax. Stir with a slotted spoon until the liquid is clear and no longer cloudy.
- In the container, use a funnel. Start with 11 cups of cold water poured directly into the container.
- Add 1 cup of liquid castille soap (see recommendations above).
- Slowly pour in the stove stop solution of cleaners into the larger container. Put on the lid and shake to combine.
After a few days (if can be used right away as liquid), it will turn more into a gel. This works great too. I use about ¼-½ cup in each large load of laundry. Cleans just like store bought brands without the chemicals. I found this recipe base at the Live Simply blog.
If you wanted to use something other than a dryer sheet, you can use 1-3 drops of your favorite oil scent on a dry wash cloth. Drop it into the dryer with your drying laundry.
One of the last things we changed over were cleaning agents. Why worry about all the chemicals under your sink? Make it yourself, know what’s in it. Keep your family safe. It’s simple.
- 14 oz. of distilled water (in a glass sprayer is ideal, but if you use plastic note that if you add essential oil it may wear down the plastic over time).
- 2 tbsp. Castille soap
- 2 tsp of borax
- 1 tsp washing soda
Directions: Put the borax and washing soda in a bowl, add the water and heat the water in the microwave or stove. In the microwave, I heat it for 2 minutes. Carefully remove from the microwave, and use a funnel to pour into a spray bottle. Add the rest of the ingredients and use.
On your water
One last tip about treated city water in your bath tub. We noticed when we moved to a city water supply that Parker was getting a rash after baths. Some days he was showering and his rash was better, but then when he wanted to take a bath, the rash worsened. Check out this great recipe to neutralize your bath water (and yes it works we tried it!).
Treating the Rashes When They Appear
The first thing I do is consider the products that my son has been exposed to. What changed if you had no rash and suddenly have one? When we moved it was the actual water itself. One time I bought a different scented Castile soap. That particular scent must have been it. I immediately changed the Castille soap back to old scent and rash subsided. Tried a new laundry detergent once, same thing. Rash. Changed back to what I was making. Once you eliminate the irritant it gets better. But sometimes our little ones are still feeling it as it heals.
Keep it simple with the treatment. Lotions and oils can also contain irritants. When I am not sure if a lotion or oil is the problem, I go with aloe. Plain aloe, right from the plant. It heals almost any irritation. If you don’t have a plant, you can purchase organic aloe vera bottled. Be sure when you buy it’s not aloe vera treatment that contains other ingredients. You want plain aloe gel only. We like Lily of the Dessert brand.
Take a look at all of your products in your house. Look at the ingredients and think about what might be the irritant. There are so many great tips and tricks out there. Be cautious and clean in treating the rash. Keep track of the causes and cures for your child’s rash. If it’s a symptom, put it in your journal and note if any changes help.
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