Understanding Contact Dermatitis in Children: A Growing Concern in India and the Healing Potential of Ayurvastra

Understanding Contact Dermatitis in Children: A Growing Concern in India and the Healing Potential of Ayurvastra

What is Contact Dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis is a type of skin inflammation that occurs when the skin comes into direct contact with an irritant or allergen. Have you ever used a new type of skin care product or detergent or worn some clothes only to have your skin become discolored and irritated? If so, you may have experienced contact dermatitis. This condition occurs when chemicals you come into contact with cause a reaction. The condition is characterized by red, itchy, and sometimes swollen skin, often accompanied by blisters or dry, scaly patches. There are two main types of contact dermatitis:

Irritant Contact Dermatitis (ICD): It is the most common type of contact dermatitis caused by direct damage to the skin from irritants such as chemicals, dyes, soaps, and detergents.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD): This causes your body to release inflammatory chemicals that can make your skin feel itchy and irritated triggered by an allergic reaction to substances like certain metals, fragrances, and plants.

Fig. how contact dermatitis can look like.


Effects of Contact Dermatitis on Children in India

Contact dermatitis is particularly concerning in children due to their sensitive skin and developing immune systems. There is now growing evidence of contact sensitization of the pediatric population, and it begins right from early childhood, including 1-week-old neonates. The consequences of undiagnosed and untreated ACD in children and in their family can be severe. Among children with suspected contact dermatitis referred for patch testing, positive patch test rates have ranged from 14% to 70%. Of these, about 56-93% have been thought of current relevance.  Moreover, atopic eczema may be an important risk factor for the development of ACD in children rather than in adults. In the study by the NACDG, of those with a reactive patch test, children (34.0%) were more likely than adults (11.2%) to have a final diagnosis that included atopic eczema.

Several factors contribute to the prevalence and severity of this condition among children:

Environmental Factors: India’s diverse climate, ranging from hot and humid to dry and cold, can exacerbate skin issues. Pollutants and allergens in urban areas further aggravate the situation.

Hygiene Practices: Inadequate sanitation, child labor in different industries and exposure to harsh soaps and detergents can lead to irritant contact dermatitis. Children in rural areas may be more susceptible due to limited access to gentle skincare products.

Cultural Practices: The use of traditional clothing and accessories, which may contain allergens such as nickel or certain dyes, can trigger allergic reactions.

Diet and Lifestyle: Nutritional deficiencies and lifestyle factors can weaken the skin’s barrier, making it more vulnerable to irritants and allergens.


The Impact on Children’s Health and Well-being

Contact dermatitis can significantly affect a child’s quality of life. The persistent itching and discomfort can lead to:

Sleep Disturbances: Constant itching and discomfort can disrupt a child’s sleep, impacting their overall health and cognitive development.

Psychological Effects: Visible skin conditions can affect a child’s self-esteem and social interactions, leading to anxiety and depression.

Secondary Infections: Scratching can break the skin, leading to secondary bacterial infections which can be serious if not treated promptly.


Protect your child's skin with these simple tips to prevent contact dermatitis:

Choose Gentle Fabrics

  • Opt for soft, natural fabrics like cotton and Ayurvastra.
  • Avoid synthetic materials that can irritate the skin.

Use Mild Soaps & Detergents

  • Select hypoallergenic, fragrance-free products.
  • Rinse clothes thoroughly to remove detergent residues.

Keep Skin Moisturized

  • Apply gentle, fragrance-free moisturizers daily.
  • Look for products with natural ingredients like aloe vera.

Avoid Known Allergens

  • Be aware of common triggers like nickel, certain plants, and dyes.
  • Check labels for potential allergens.

Maintain Good Hygiene

  • Regular baths with mild, lukewarm water.
  • Pat dry and avoid vigorous rubbing of the skin.

Stay Hydrated

  • Ensure your child drinks plenty of water.
  • Hydrated skin is less prone to irritation.

Dress Appropriately

  • Use Ayurvastra clothing for its healing properties.
  • Dress your child in weather-appropriate layers.

Create a Safe Play Environment

  • Minimize exposure to harsh chemicals and irritants.
  • Keep outdoor play areas free of known allergens.

Consult a Dermatologist

  • Seek professional advice for persistent skin issues.
  • Regular check-ups can help manage and prevent flare-ups.


Ayurvastra: A Natural Remedy for Contact Dermatitis

Ayurvastra which loosely translates to "Ayurvedic cloth," is a traditional textile practice that combines Ayurvedic principles with the process of fabric making. These garments are infused with medicinal herbs known for their healing properties. Here’s how Ayurvastra can benefit children suffering from contact dermatitis or prevent the chances of the same:

Natural and Non-Toxic: Ayurvastra is made using natural fibres like cotton, bamboo, wool, hemp, silk - dyed with herbal extracts, ensuring that no synthetic chemicals come into contact with the skin. This is particularly beneficial for children as their sensitive skin is prone to reactions from synthetic fabrics and dyes.

Healing Properties: Herbs used in Ayurvastra, such as neem, indigo, turmeric, and sandalwood, have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and soothing properties. These can help reduce inflammation, prevent infections, and promote overall wellbeing and healing of the skin.

Enhanced Comfort: The breathable and soft nature of Ayurvastra garments made from natural fabrics can reduce skin irritation and provide comfort, essential for children who are already experiencing discomfort from dermatitis.

Sustainable and Eco-Friendly: Ayurvastra supports sustainable practices, which are beneficial for the environment and help in reducing exposure to pollutants and allergens in total for generic prevention.


Implementing Ayurvastra for Dermatitis Relief

For parents considering Ayurvastra for their children suffering from skin related issues or extra sensitive skin, here are some practical tips:

Clothing Choices: Incorporate Ayurvastra into daily wear, especially for items that are in direct contact with the skin, such as underwear, casual wear, sleepwear, towels and bed linens.

Consistency: Regular use of Ayurvastra provides continuous exposure to the healing properties of the herbs, aiding in long-term skin health and wellness.

Complementary Care: Combine the use of Ayurvastra with other skin care routines recommended by healthcare professionals, such as using gentle, hypoallergenic, non-toxic or fragrance-free cleansers and moisturizers.



Contact dermatitis is a common yet challenging condition, particularly for children due to various environmental and lifestyle factors. Embracing traditional practices like Ayurvastra offers a natural, non-toxic approach to managing and alleviating the symptoms of dermatitis by simply implicating in everyday life. By integrating the wisdom of Ayurveda through Ayurvastra with other modern care practices, we can provide children with a holistic and sustainable solution for healthier skin and a better quality of life.

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