Parents from around the UK have revealed they fear losing prescriptions for a drug-free treatment for their children’s severe eczema, that relieved their symptoms in as little as a few days.
Verity Goodfellow from Derby discovered medical-grade silk clothing DermaSilk online when her son Lawrence was six months old and within five days of wearing the undergarments his skin drastically improved.
Previously, Verity was left virtually housebound as his skin was constantly weeping and it was too painful to take him out, and so getting a body suit, leggings, pyjamas and gloves for Lawrence on prescription was life-changing.
Dee McShane also started showing signs of eczema when she was just a few weeks old, and her mother Caroline from Gloucestershire had to resort to keeping her wrapped in wet clothes at all times to soothe her skin.
She experienced a huge improvement from wearing DermaSilk clothing, but now parents face paying out themselves for the garments that cost £48.95 for a child’s bodysuit due to NHS cutbacks.
DermaSilk items including tops, leggings, gloves, socks and underwear have been available on the NHS for the past 12 years – but that is currently under review.
At the end of last month, the NHS announced a consultation on limiting the the prescription of silk garments for eczema on the basis that they’re ineffective.
However, the company argues that using its products will save the NHS money in the long-term on steroids and topical creams that are regularly used to try and treat eczema.
Its products don’t come cheap – a baby’s bodysuit costs £48.95 and an adult’s unisex roll-neck longsleeve shirt comes in at £94.95.
Now parents whose children have had their agony relieved fear they will struggle to afford the clothing.
One is Caroline McShane whose daughter Dee started showing signs of eczema when she was just a few weeks old.
The only solution she could find for the chronic itching was to keep Dee wrapped in wet clothing at all times.
She says: ‘All of this had such a detrimental effect on myself mentally, and couldn’t have been pleasant for Dee, as she was just a tiny, helpless little newborn, who was left feeling constantly uncomfortable.’
Wearing suits didn’t make Dee’s skin clear up immediately, but Verity says: ‘They made a huge difference. Her itching and scratching reduced and she started to sleep better.’
Even though there was a big change for Dee, it was still a struggle for Caroline to get an NHS prescription, as her GP wasn’t convinced by DermaSilk’s success.
However, when she got the prescription Dee used DermaSilk for three years which Caroline says ‘was amazing’.
Research backs up these anecdotal improvements.
A 2013 study compared how much children used topical steroid creams to help their skin conditions over the course of two years if they were wearing cotton compared to DermaSilk.
The children wearing medical-grade silk clothing reported a 60 per cent less use of topical steroids, meaning their condition hadn’t been flaring up as much.