Parents of children with dry and itchy skin

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The impact on families

The needs of parents are likely to be different depending on the age of the child. Parents will have a very active role in the treatment of babies and young children. Teenagers are likely to have more say over their own treatment, so they (and even younger patients) can be taught how to apply their emollients, which allows them to take part in their own skincare routine. 1

Dry and itchy skin conditions can have a negative impact on the quality of life of patients and their families in many ways, including: 1

  • intense itchiness
  • scratching
  • discomfort
  • disturbed sleep
  • uncomfortable or painful treatment

Parents can feel frustrated, stressed, helpless and guilty, and things like disturbed sleep can have an impact on the whole family. In some cases, feelings of resentment, exclusion and frustration may occur.

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How to help children and parents

  • Addressing your consultation to the child puts them at the centre of their treatment, with support from the parent it can help assess the impact of dry and itchy skin from their point of view and help them feel involved in their treatment, right from the start Interview with Julie van Onselen, 3 November 2016
  • Children should be encouraged to take an active role in their treatment: the sooner they feel invested in their treatment, the sooner they’ll be able take control and the more effective it will be – rewards (like sticker charts) can help children, especially younger ones, get into the habit of their routine Interview with Julie van Onselen, 3 November 2016
  • Creating a routine is just as important for treating children as it is with adults, and it’s important that it feels realistic and manageable, e.g. asking parents to apply a baby’s emollient every nappy change sounds much more manageable than asking them to apply it six times a day Interview with Julie van Onselen, 3 November 2016
  • Ensuring parents understand their child’s treatment is very important – especially as they’ll be helping them establish an effective treatment routine; written instructions can be very helpful for parents: you could use our treatment planner to help support them
  • Encourage parents to let children live their lives as normally as possible: usually, children shouldn’t need to miss out on activities – if necessary, steps can be taken to help them take part in things that might pose a problem for their skin, e.g. after swimming, gentle cleansers followed by a moisturiser can be used to reduce the impact of chlorine 1

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More information 

We have a range of common questions, including ones from parents, in our FAQs section.

Next: work with patients to plan their skincare routine together with our treatment planner >

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  1. Boguniewicz M, Nicol N, Kelsay K, et al. (2008) Semin Cutan Med Surg. 27(2): 115-127