Over half of British children suffer skin problems due to increased handwashing

By Julia Wray 5-Aug-2020

The British Skin Foundation also reports that eczema rates have risen since the start of the coronavirus pandemic

Over half of British children suffer skin problems due to increased handwashing

While frequent handwashing is recommended by health officials globally as a means of reducing the transmission of Covid-19, instances of skin problems in children are climbing as a result of our more rigorous hygiene routines.

A survey of 250 parents of young children by the British Skin Foundation charity revealed that 56% of children are experiencing some type of skin problem associated with their hands.

Moreover, one in four children (24%) are now suffering from hand eczema due to increased handwashing. This is a significant rise on pre-pandemic figures, which estimated that one in five children experienced eczema at some stage in their childhood.

A total of 38% or respondents reported their children had dry skin, while 17% of children were said to suffer with cracked skin.

Somewhat alarmingly, 6% have experienced bleeding hands.

In response, the British Skin Foundation is encouraging parents to incorporate suitable moisturising products into their children’s handwashing routine.

“Although it’s concerning to hear of children suffering with skin problems due to frequent handwashing, this can be alleviated with the regular use of an unfragranced moisturiser,” says Dr Paula Beattie, British Skin Foundation spokesperson and Dermatologist at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.

She recommended that parents get their child into the habit of moisturising their hands after every wash.

Celebrating children’s contribution

Over half of British children suffer skin problems due to increased handwashing

The British Skin Foundation has also honoured the important role that children’s handwashing is playing in the fight against coronavirus by creating The Children’s Wave.

This virtual Mexican wave lets children show off their clean hands digitally to family and friends.

To get involved with The Children’s Wave, parents can visit thechildrenswave.co.uk on a mobile phone and upload two portrait photos of their child waving and smiling.

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“Hand hygiene is vital to combat the spread of coronavirus,” said Dr Sue Mayou, Consultant Dermatologist & British Skin Foundation spokesperson, adding: “The Children’s Wave is a fantastic way to celebrate the essential role children have played by keeping their hands clean during the pandemic.”