I was recently asked to contribute to a BBC news article commenting on children's skin damage as a result of excessive hand washing during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Children are more likely to be affected by eczema because of a less-developed skin barrier, and irritation from soap and water can make existing eczema worse, or trigger contact irritation eczema for the first time. This is because the skin's barrier is disrupted by frequent washing with soap.
I offered the BBC some recommendations on how to tackle this whilst still ensuring regular hand-washing is part of children's routine.
For children who are prone to hand eczema, apply a non-fragranced moisturising cream after each handwash
Ensure that hands are properly rinsed and dried after hand-washing so that there is no residual soap on the skin
Apply moisturiser all over the hands. If there are persistent cracked hands despite using moisturiser it may be that your child needs to be seen by their GP for more targeted treatment
For hand eczema in children, your GP may suggest using topical steroids, other anti-inflammatories and occasionally they may refer on to a dermatologist
You can read the full article on the BBC News website.