Childhood Eczema has Skyrocketed!
In the 1980’s the number of children with eczema totaled less than 5% of the population...a stat that had not changed for decades. Despite massive improvement in both ingredient and product safety in recent years, consumer research data shows us that eczema rates are now at a whopping 20%! And, studies show that rates are consistently higher in urban populations. In fact, our own company’s survey data informs us that 30% of parents have children suffering from eczema.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a complex skin disease caused by an interaction between a person’s environment and their genes. Research shows that some people with eczema have a mutation of the gene responsible for creating filaggrin. Filaggrin is a protein that helps our bodies maintain a healthy protective barrier on the outermost layer of our skin. Without enough filaggrin to build and maintain a strong skin barrier, moisture can escape and then allow bacteria, viruses and allergens to enter the body; this exposed or “leaky” skin barrier can then lead to extremely itchy skin, dry scaly patches of skin, blisters, skin infections, red spots or bumps and other symptoms. If you have a child suffering from this skin disease, you know how heartbreaking and stressful it can be too.
As mentioned previously, the increasing prevalence of eczema in children may be explained by environmental and lifestyle factors in genetically predisposed individuals. Seasonality and climate matters. Where you live matters. Air pollution, water hardness, exposure to tobacco smoke, and psychological stress are arguable byproducts of urbanization and may explain why the rates are higher in urban areas.
So, what does a parent do once their child is diagnosed with eczema? A quick google search shows you many baby brands that claim their products will cure eczema - but his is blatantly FALSE!
It is a fact that eczema is an incurable skin disease. They go so far as to mislead parents and call their products “Eczema Honey” or “Eczema Lotion”. Children with eczema can sit in a tub of warm water and warm water alone and still get eczema flare ups. The products that you use cannot cure eczema, but they can reduce triggers and provide hydration that is necessary to avoid the dryness that cascades into itchiness and flare-ups.
Let’s explore common triggers of eczema so that you can help your little ones avoid the unnecessary discomfort of this disease. According to the National Eczema Association common triggers of childhood eczema are dry skin, stress, food allergies, exposure to extreme cold or heat (sweating), household products like laundry detergent, cleaning products, and environmental exposures. While we often want to point to the cleansing products or lotions that we use on our children as the sole cause of eczema both logic and science tell us that is not the case. Remember, back in the 1960’s when sulfate shampoos and artificial fragrances dominated the baby and kids shampoo space, reported rates of childhood eczema were less than 5%. So, how can this be?
If you are looking for a product that greatly reduces the chances of an eczema flare up in your child you must avoid shampoos and lotions that contain any extracts, essential oils or fragrance. Extracts contain 150 phytochemicals and potential allergens. Many brands will remove fragrance from their products and claim that alone makes them safe for eczema. However, this is not true. If you truly want to avoid eczema triggers you have to use products that do not contain extracts or essential oils too. Essential Oils are complex aromatic compounds that contain dozens of phytochemicals. Extracts contain dozens of phytochemicals as well. Pediatricians often tell parents to avoid fragrance but do them a disservice by not telling them to avoid essential oils and extracts as well.
Extracts, essential oils and fragrance all may contain common allergens. This is an often misunderstood concept and could very well be the cause of increased eczema flare-ups, as by using extracts and essential oils, you are slathering potentially irritating ingredients all over your child. Additionally there are a number of children that have intolerance to gluten, dairy, nuts, avocado and even coconut oil!
Dabble Ducky was designed specifically for children who suffer from eczema but we took a very different approach, targeting the skin barrier function. Dabble Ducky will not cure eczema, since nothing can cure eczema, but it does eliminate all potential eczema triggers. It is important to note that, regardless of whether your baby has eczema or not, the skin barrier in infants is not fully formed at birth- it is 20-30% thinner, making it far more susceptible to environmental triggers. The biggest % increase over time in eczema are children under 1 year old. Children under 1 years old with eczema have severely compromised, thin, skin barriers.
This is why we formulated Dabble Ducky with a skin barrier repair ingredient - Beta-glucan. Beta-glucan helps act as an “invisible shield” to environmental toxins and strengthens the skin barrier function. Its not just about eliminating triggers, its about helping the skin barrier do the best job it can. Beta-glucan also helps keep skin hydrated and our clinical data shows us that it provides both short term and long term hydration. As dry skin can flare up eczema, it is critical to keep that outer layer well hydrated. A daily moisturizer like our Dabble Ducky Infant Balm can help prevent the skin from getting dry and irritated. We also use a powerful humectant, Glycerin. Glycerin helps to reduce trans epidermal water loss (TEWL) in the skin barrier.
Taking a bath, with or without using any kind of bubble bath or cleanser will leave the skin dry. Using a cleanser, regardless of how gentle it is, will likely strip the skin of important lipids and leave it dry. There are studies that show that a daily application of body lotion can help those who suffer from eczema. Its very important that you use a lotion that does not contain any extracts, essential oils or fragrance. Dabble Ducky’s lotion was formulated with a “less is more” approach – there are only 8 ingredients in the formula. We only use what is absolutely necessary to deliver the necessary hydration and skin barrier protection and have stripped the formula of any additives that could potentially cause eczema triggers. In our clinical study with over 100 subjects, we demonstrated that not one subject had any irritation whatsoever. It far outperformed the industry standard with 100 “zero” irritation scores.
Because eczema is being diagnosed in at least 20% of children, it would be wise to use a product line like Dabble Ducky in the first six months of life, to ensure that the skin barrier is fully formed and healthy before introducing any scented products or products with additional extracts and oils. Don’t take a chance that your child might be one of those 20% impacted. Once you have established a comfort level caring for your child’s skin barrier, you may introduce scented products. It is important to note that scent is not always a trigger for those who suffer from eczema. There are plenty of cases of children with eczema that can use a scented bubble bath, for example. The key is to use one that has been thoroughly tested to be ultra-mild and tear-free. The certified tear-free claim is important because the eyes are a mucous membrane and far more susceptible to sting, itchiness and discomfort. A product with a tear-free claim can give you the confidence that there is far less chance of irritation occurring.
Our Dabble & Dollop children's washes are all formulated with scent. Scent is arguably one of the most enjoyable aspects of taking a bubble bath. We carefully formulated our natural scents by avoiding common allergens and created a formula that also was tested to be ultra-mild and tear-free. It is critical to not only use safety substantiated ingredients but to then conduct safety testing on the final product. This is exactly what we did when created the Dabble & Dollop 3-in-1 bubble bath, body wash and shampoos. When you are ready to introduce scent into your child’s hygiene routine, the Dabble & Dollop washes would be an excellent choice. With thousands of five star reviews, many of whom are parents with children who suffer from eczema, we may be a great option for your family.
Our product creations truly come from a place of empathy and love. We create our products with unmatched ingredient expertise, and honesty. With so much fear and misinformation out there, we wanted to help alleviate the stress and concerns that new parents have to navigate when selecting products for their children. Bath time and your child’s personal care routine should be a comforting, enjoyable moment with your child and we aim to help that be reality.