What to do about your child’s dry and itchy skin

Dry, itchy skin is a common childhood complaint. But it can be incredibly distressing for kids, as well as their worried parents.

The more they scratch, the more aggravated their skin becomes, and so the cycle goes.

What causes dry, itchy skin?

A number of things can lead to dry skin, including1:

  • Irritation from soaps;
  • Dry climates;
  • Winter weather;
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema, and
  • Genetics.

Whilst dry skin may not be a major concern for many of us, it can lead to other skin issues, such as significant itch2 .

It’s a known fact that the majority of cases of generalised itch are actually caused by dry skin3 .

Impacts are more than just skin deep

Although not life threatening, this type of skin complaint can negatively affect both kids and their parents or carers.

Research has shown sufferers may find it more difficult to fall asleep or wake up several times during the night, which can have an impact on alertness and concentration the following day (not to mention possibly making for a crankier household)3.

Not only can dry, itchy skin be extremely painful, but it may affect quality of life,4 impacting kids in ways such as interfering with school and play, teasing and bullying.

And some research has found that experiencing dry, itchy skin may even lead to a feeling of despair and hopelessness4.

The role of ceramides in supporting the skin barrier

One of the most important ways to help manage problematic skin is to support a healthy skin barrier.

Scientists describe5 the structure of our skin barrier as being like a brick wall – when it breaks down, skin gets dry and irritated.

The bricks are corneocytes (dead skin cells that are ready to shed) and the mortar is the intercellular matrix that is composed of lipids (a fancy word for a fatty substances)5 .

Around 50 per cent of that lipid layer can be made up of waxy molecules called ceramides6.

Research has shown6 these are critical to maintaining the skin barrier.

When in short supply, the skin barrier may be compromised, leaving skin more susceptible to irritation and infection6.

How to help care for your child’s dry, itchy skin

There are a couple of practical measures to help relieve dry, itchy skin, including making sure home temperatures aren’t too warm, avoiding hot baths and choosing cool cotton clothing and bedding if possible7.

The Australian-owned and made QV Intensive with Ceramides range supports the skin barrier to help keep moisture in, and environmental irritants out.

QV Intensive with Ceramides Hydrating Body Wash is specially formulated to gently cleanse away surface impurities while supporting the skin’s “brick wall”.

There’s also QV Intensive with Ceramides Light Moisturising Cream with L-lactic acid and niacinamide, which have both been individually shown8,9  to help stimulate ceramide production from within the outer most layer of the skin.

And the new QV Intensive with Ceramides Sting-free Ointment has been designed to help soothe visibly cracked skin and form a protective layer to help support skin integrity.

The QV Intensive with Ceramides range is dermatologically tested, free from common irritants and vegan friendly* – which is a few less things for parents to fret about!

This post is brought to you by the QV Intensive with Ceramides range.

*Free from animal derived ingredients.

  1. Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Foundation [internet] https://www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/a-z/dry-skin/ [cited 19/05/2020]
  2. Yvette A. Tivoli, DO et al, Pruritus; An Updated Look at an Old Problem. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2009, 2(7): 30-36.
  3. Dominik Nowak MD et al, Diagnosis and Treatment of Pruritus. Canadian Family Physician. 2017. 63: 918-924.
  4. Seema P. Kini et al. The Impact of Pruritus on Quality of Life: The Skin Equivalent of Pain. American Medical Association. 2011: 1153:1156.
  5. Nemes Z, Steinert PM. Bricks and mortar of the epidermal barrier. Experimental & Molecular Medicine, March 1999, 31;31 (1): 5-19
  6. Qinyang Li, Hui Fang, Erl Dang, Gang Wang. The role of ceramides in skin homeostasis and inflammatory skin diseases. Journal of Dermatological Science, January 2020: Vol 91, Issue 1: 2-8
  7. Dominik Nowak MD et al, Diagnosis and Treatment of Pruritus. Candaian Family Physician. 2017. 63: 918-924.
  8. Rawlings AV, Davies A, Carlomusto M, Pillai S, Zhang K, Kosturko R, Verdejo P, Feinberg C, Nguyen L, Chandar P. Effect of lactic acid isomers on keratinocyte ceramide synthesis, stratum corneum lipid levels and stratum corneum barrier function. Archives of Dermatological Research, Vol 288: 383-390
  9. Matts PJ, Oblong JE, Bissett DL. A review of the range of effects of niacinamide in human skin.IFSCC Magazine, 2002; 5(4):285–289