Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Super Hero Gloves

I've been looking for some cotton gloves or even fingerless gloves for Sam. His hands are the one area that I just can't keep healed, because I can't keep them covered and they are always touching the carpet when he plays on the floor.  Mittens are fine for nighttime, but they just don't cut it during the day.  Lots of eczema clothing lines sell mittens yet I can't seem to find anyone in the US who sells just regular cotton gloves in kid sizes.

My husband did find some fingerless gloves made by DermaSilk in the UK- but I grew very suspicious when I discovered that their clothing is sprayed with a "permanent antimicrobial shield".  Some forum friends helped me look further into this and we discovered that the antimicrobial shield actually contains quaternary ammonia, which is a very strong detergent. I'm really quite surprised at how many eczema products (usually the lotions and creams) contain detergent, which has been shown in studies to be drying and irritating across all skin types!  How could anyone think they are an okay ingredient to include in something for sensitive skin?

Anyway, sometimes my brain comes up with funny solutions.  Sam's hands, bless his heart, were looking like this:


(And notice the very distinct line on his wrists where he usually would be wearing long sleeves... his arms are perfectly clear!  I tend to think if there are ANY patterns with eczema on the body that seems to follow clothing lines, whatsoever, think detergent! At least explore it! It doesn't have to be clear skin in contrast with rashy skin, but sometimes even less severe eczema in contrast with more severe eczema on, on either clothed or exposed skin, is a huge indicator of this sensitivity.)


 It occurred to me out of the blue one day to grab a pair of kid crew socks (these were probably his big brother's) and snip holes in the toe for fingers. We were literally on our way out the door to the park, I saw Sam scratching at his lobster red hands and wrists and the idea just popped into my mind.



I was pleasantly surprised how well these worked out! They were just long enough to reach up under his short sleeves so his arms could still be covered, or I could fold them down to keep him cool at the playground. The sock material gripped the arm very nicely as well.  I persuaded Sam to keep them on by telling him they were super hero gloves. He was very proud to wear them.   This worked so well that on the way back from the park that same day I stopped and bought two  more packs of brand new crew socks from Wal-Mart, the kind with stretchy double thick soles so that his hands would have extra protection.  He's been wearing his super hero gloves now for several weeks, every day. 

                          

Each pair lasts about 4 to 5 washes. At that point the holes start to fray and stretch too much to be helpful.  But for $5 every couple of weeks to keep his hands covered, that's a worthy investment in my book. 

This photo was taken about 10 days after the "before" photo above.
Very significant improvement!:

                         

Hurray for innovation and saving money!

PS- This idea is most effective when the skin is washed with a true soap, dried well, and a thin barrier ointment such as Aquaphor applied before putting on the gloves. Otherwise you might only be trapping a layer of detergent between the glove and skin.

UPDATE June 2013:  I originally was very excited about this idea when I wrote this post about "sock gloves". However, I now understand why perhaps no one makes gloves for kids with eczema without first coating it with an antimicrobial shield (like DermaSilk does). Not that I would use them with the antimicrobial shield either... chemicals are still too harsh.  When we used these gloves, Sam's hands appeared to be getting better for a short time. However almost immediately after I wrote this post, his hand flared red again, started looking worse than ever, and eventually turned up some pus-filled boils which I have NEVER seen on my son anywhere before.  Pus-filled blisters or boils are a symptom of bacterial infection, usually staph.  I learned that cloth on the hands - since they touch so many things- harbor bacteria which then gets trapped next to the skin, increasing chance of infection. And yes, since he was wearing gloves I didn't wash his hands as often... another big problem.  So learn from my mistake. NO SUPER HERO GLOVES!  This is not the answer.  If anyone tried this idea after reading my post, with similar results (infection) I am so SO sorry!


26 comments:

  1. I am on day 2...looks worse than before but hoping if I stick to it that it helps!! do you have a suggestion for the dishwasher>? that seems like the hardest area to resolve!! thanks for all your posts, your venting at the beginning is how I feel now but you have given me hope with your success too!! thank again!!

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    1. Sometimes if super washing is not complete, that phase where detergent and soap residues combine in the clothing can be more irritating. Continuing to superwash until ALL the detergent residue is removed should help that problem (assuming there is no unidentified food allergy or infection). It took up to 12 washes for some items of clothing and blankets before Sam stopped reacting to them, depending on the fabric (synthetics take longer) and if they were new or hand me downs (HMD take longer as well). Water hardness can also effect the efficacy of soap washing.

      We used Cal Ben Destain dishwasher powder. Then I switched to my own homemade recipe which was 1 TBS salt, 1 TBS washing soda, and 1/4 tsp liquid soap. If you get soap scum, just throw 1/4 cup vinegar in during the rinse cycle.

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    2. I rewashed all her clothes again, lost track of how many times now but she just woke up and everything that was covered looks way better than yesterday! I think I am on the right track! I am so grateful for everyone ele's hard work with their kids and their willingness to share it, its made this agonizing process much faster for me and my family!!

      We just got a water softener this week so that is helping too!

      I am in Canada and not sure if I can get Cal Ben around here so I will try your recipe today!!! Thanks again!!! You are a great mom!!

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    3. Yay! It's great to hear she is improving!!

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  2. em.p, have you joined the discussion forum for SEO? lots of tips and tricks there, plus very nice and supportive people.

    We use a tbsp of washing soda crystals and a tsp of baking soda in our dishwasher, and it works great (but we do have really soft water)

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  3. Very creative! And if you decide to create your own eczema gloves, you know who to call ;) I have looked everywhere for good gloves. I have found one that I'll be releasing at the store in the next few months hopefully, but always looking for more options.

    Jennifer

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  4. I actually thought about cutting holes in socks to cover my daughters hands. I'm glad to see it's been helpful! I'm definitely going to try it now. BTW - I stopped using aquaphor and found a barrier ointment called Bee Magic. It's working wonders on her skin. I think that may have been the missing piece to her healing. Her skin looks wonderful!! :)

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    1. That is fabulous Sarah!! Did you take before and after photos? Only if you are willing, I would love for you to share her story and/or photos (only if you are comfortable - if not I totally understand) on our User's Forum! Success stories provide so much encouragement to those having a harder time making all the changes. I'm so happy this is working for your daughter!

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  5. I didn't think to take photos, but that's a great suggestion. I'll get on the forum and share her story. My username is Caydeesmom. I'll post it soon!

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  6. Hey! So my 6 yr old gets hands JUST LIKE THIS. We keep him lathered up really well with lotion, and he's pretty good about washing his hands and putting on lotion after being outside. But, he's a boy that loves to dig in the dirt, and it's SO hard on his skin. I found this Etsy shop, and she made me 3 fingerless glove sets for him, in three different fabrics. We're going to see which ones work best, and then order more. If you'd like...I will keep you posted. One of the fabrics is a silky fabric, one is a heavy cotton, the other is a light pajama cotton (for at night). http://www.etsy.com/shop/SportsFanAttic

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    1. Thanks Abbie! I'd love to hear if you found anything that helps! The gloves kind of backfired for us because they were harboring too many harmful bacteria and incubating them on the skin. We are back to just trying to maintain a safer and chemical-free environment with fewer irritants. Its a constant challenge though.

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  7. Hi, I'm new to your blog. Have struggled with skin issues with myself and so it was hard to see my son also start his life out struggling with them. A few thoughts and suggestions. I read Sammy had the skin prick test, but has he had an allergy skin patch test, where they test the skin's reaction to certain chemicals like parabens, SLS, boric acid, and petroleum derivatives.

    I noticed you mentioned your detergent saturated carpet in a blog. Have you tried having it cleaned with high temp water by a carpet service or better yet, use a carpet steamer like a Rainbow. You might also initially just try renting a cleaner, but make sure you flush it really well before using it in areas he frequents.

    Is your son still using pull ups or diapers? Oddly my son's eczema improved when we switched away from Costco wipes. Now it's pretty much disappeared once we switched to Honest Company diapers and wipes. We sometimes use the Seventh Generation wipes too.

    It's a bit expensive but if you are trying to clear up some small stubborn patches, I've found Tegaderm or Nexcare bandages can help. One of my dermatologists warned me that the adhesive can be an irritant so he gave me some other to products to try out but I don't know the names of the products. I think one is a silicone membrane. You may want to ask your pediatric dermatologists.

    Good luck!

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  8. Thank you. My daughter was discharged from hospital yesterday from a staph infection that ate the skin off her hands and caused her to need IV antibiotics. The raw areas on her fingers need to be covered and I was searching for the dermasilk gloves you mentioned in the UK. Was about to buy it until I came across this blog and am so thankful for your wisdom through trial and error. I love the idea of socks and will try this now so she can return to school with gloves. Am grateful for this blog in saving my money and frustration and time.

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    1. Oh, I need to delete this blog post about sock gloves! Please don't put them on your daughter. I wrote a post script at the top, noting that in hindsight these were not such a good idea. They ended up trapping bacteria against his skin and incubating staph infection for my son. I now do not use any gloves at all- just fresh air and sunlight, lots of soap washing. Please read www.solveeczema.org for more information.

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  9. How are things going now, CJ? Been thinking about you guys this week.

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    1. Thanks Chelsea! I think about you often as well, especially your sweet babies! I really need to update soon! We've had a tough time this year with skin infections, and food allergies. Not as bad as what you've been dealing with, I think, from reading your last posts on your family blog and eczema blog. But frustrating still. One thing I can say is the detergent-free things has kept Sam probably 97% itch free though all of the rashes and flares from other sources. It's been a blessing. I'll blog soon! I just read your update on the forum as well and responded. So happy and excited about your good news!

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  10. Are you still blogging about Sam?! I would love to hear an update as you and AJ are my super heros and have helped our little girl more than I could ever tell you! Thanks to you I was able to recognize a sneaky yeast rash on top of her eczema rash to tonight (not the first time this has happened you wouldn't think it would take me so long) and I'm going to start ACV again and put down the harsh anti fungal creams. Thanks to you and AJ my days are mostly positive, Charleys skin break outs are easier to handle because I can usually see the cause. The only thing I wish was that my family could see her skin the way I do. When its flared up and itchy and it just makes you cry. It seems they almost don't believe me because they only see the diaper area and hands face areas. I hope Sam is going great. Any insight as to your maintenance routine? Any chance you want to get rid of some of his old cotton pants/tops? Charley is 9 months old!! )

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  11. CJ! I have read your blog and also SolveEczema.org about 3 times each! I have also turned my house/life upside down doing exactly what you both recommend for my 9 month old (we started 4 months ago). Right now we get a few days and sometimes maybe even a week or two with no stubborn/lasting eczema! But only if we follow all the rules..one break in our routine and its bananas! Any way long story short, Charley is starting to get way more mobile lately and the flooring is not helping...I cannot find those nice thick footed 100% cotton pants you had from the eczema company as they are out of stock and no amount of googling has helped....I was wondering if you would want to sell Sammy's clothes that he has grown out of? Just a thought! If so here is my email awibert0@gmail.com (that 0 is a zero!) Take care and best wishes!!

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    1. I'm so sorry I did not see this comment. I took a very long break from my blog and missed so many comments. Please forgive me! I hope you are doing well and were able to work things out for Charley!

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  12. Hoping for an update from you soon! Currently working through this with my 7 month old. It's consuming my life, so very difficult. But so good to know we are not alone in our search for a steroid-free solution. Hugs to you!

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    1. I have posted an update. Sorry for the delay. How is your child doing?

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  13. Hey Carrie! I just happened by your blog and saw this post. I know it's an old post but I thought I'd respond for the sake of completeness - and for anyone else who might be reading. I investigated Dermasilk about 2 years ago when my dermatologist's nurse recommended it to us. At that time I'd already gone detergent-free. Anyways, I found out that has detergents embedded in the fabric - strong detergents. I can't recall exactly but I believe they are of the quaternary ammonium level of strength. As a result, they are classified as pesticiidal, I believe. This might explain why Sam had such a bad reaction. Hope you are doing well. Hugs!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Juile! Hope you're doing well!

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  14. Hi! I've come across your blog. How is your son? I'd love to hear an update where you are at. I'm beginning the detergent to soap switch. My son at age 3 looked exactly like your son in your header. It's heartbreaking. I'd love to hear how the long-term is going, good or bad.

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    1. How old is your son now? I'm curious if he improved with age, even without the soap switch. My son is doing awesome (see today's update) but his skin also has just become far less reactive and stronger- he even seems to have grown out of most of his food sensitivities. I believe the changes we have made have influenced this of course, but I also wonder if there is a natural improvement that happens as they age and the immune system matures.

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