Cheshire businesswoman Kelly Mitchell suffered with eczema as a child and sadly, both her little daughters suffer too. Their flare-ups come and go, but she is very much aware of the soreness and despair the itching can cause. She is careful about their skincare routines and has at all times tried to manage their conditions in a holistic way.
Kelly would not to put the girls down on the carpet because wool is so irritating to eczema sufferers. Shed always put Isabella down on a cotton play mat and being an arty type of person, it was usually a patchwork one shed made herself. It was while she was searching the internet one day for new fabrics that she came across bamboo.
The more Kelly read about bamboo, the more she began to observe how it could be used to help with eczema. Here are some of the properties of the wonder fabric:
– Bamboo readily absorbs moisture. Four times more absorbent than cotton, bamboo maintains the body temperature by hastily wicking away moisture from the skin, which then evaporates leaving baby dry and comfortable. Limiting the skins contact with water is a key factor in relieving eczema.
– Bamboo fabric has natural air conditioning built in enabling the skin to breathe and helping to relieve irritated skin.
– Unlike any other fabric, it remains cool to the touch, even when its warm, bringing immediate comfort and relief. How? The bamboo fibre is packed with micro-gaps and holes, giving it incredible aeration properties. In hot weather, it will keep the user cooler than standard fabrics in the comparable knit or weave.
– Variations in temperature can set off eczema flare ups; most often hot humid or cold dry conditions. Bamboo fabric is a natural temperature regulator with fantastic insulating properties.
– Antibacterial by nature, Bamboo fibre has natural elements to help kill and prevent the spread of bacteria. This property is retained in the fabric, even after several washes at regular temperature.
– Bamboo is naturally hypoallergenic, mild and gentle ideal for babies sensitive skin; therefore there will be no allergic reactions as with other natural fibres such as cotton or hemp. This is because bamboo fibres are naturally smooth and round without any chemical treatment, meaning there are no sharp spurs to irritate the skin.
– It is mould and mildew resistant, both of which are common allergens and can often trigger an eczema flare up.
– It does not hold on to odour from common irritants such as fragrances, perfumes, chemicals and other products.
– Bamboo is also environmentally kind and sustainable.
And so Kellys concept grew from making a play mat into thoughts of creating a special range of clothing. She expressed her idea to a friend, and between them they formed Ickle Eco – a company specialising in bamboo baby wear expressly designed for children with eczema and skin allergies!
In addition to capturing the amazing properties of bamboo fabric, Kelly & her business partner Victoria wanted to take the designs further. They guarantee that there are no man made fibres in the clothes: the fabric is a mix of 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton, our fibre is 100% cotton, they use nickel free poppers and 100% cotton labels.
The fabric is certified OEKO-Tex 100, which means it is entirely chemical free. They also use the most sophisticated eco-friendly, water-based inks for their hand screen-prints. They have also incorporated a number of design features that make the clothes even comfier; all the seams on the under garments and sleepwear are external. The clothes are cut to fit closely to the skin, to maximise the benefits of the fabric. They introduced optional mittens on the sleep suits and pyjama tops, to help stop scratching and the sleep suits also have a double fabric layer around the knee and ankle, as this area is prone to eczema.
Kelly & Victoria are now planning to develop the Ickle Eco range to comprise cot sheets and sleeping bags, to compliment the existing sleepwear. As bamboo also contains natural UV protection, their summer range includes romper, shorts, tunic and sunhat all ideal to help guard that delicate skin.