Q: My child’s school uniform causes her to itch, how should we manage this?

A: Great question!   In kids with eczema, their skin is much more sensitive to triggers, such as rough clothing that rubs on the skin.  The best way to deal with this is to minimize the external trigger.

For example, it would be helpful to find fabric that is not as rough or abrasive to the skin, if there are options to choose from for the uniform fabric.  Typically, cotton is less abrasive than wool or polyester.

Another option would be to have a layer of protection between the uniform and the skin – either as a layer of clothing or with something like an ointment-based moisturizer.   If the clothing has already set off a flare of eczema (with red, rough and itchy skin), it is worth treating this with moisturizers and/or topical medications.

Dr. Joseph Lam is an Associate Professor (clinical) at the BC Children’s Hospital and an Associate Member of the Department of Dermatology and Skin Sciences at the University of British Columbia.