This little girl sheds her entire skin every single day

11 June 2017

Brave Hanna often has to endure stares and rude comments from strangers, who often say she looks like she is 'severely sunburnt'.

This little girl sheds her entire skin every day due to a rare condition that makes it grow faster than normal.

Hanna Barrott (6) from Ooltewah in Tennessee, USA, has lamellar ichthyosis – a genetic skin disorder that makes the skin cells rapidly generate and shed. She was diagnosed with the condition, which affects more than 600 000 people worldwide, after being born with a thick white layer of skin called 'collodion membrane.'

Hanna undergoes a twice daily lotion routine to prevent her dry skin from cracking, bleeding and getting potentially fatal infections.

Parents Megan and Tyson monitor their little girl for overheating because her sweat glands are blocked by the thick skin, which can cause her to faint.

"Hanna's condition means her skin grows a lot quicker than other children and she struggles in the heat because she can't sweat," Megan said.

"We have to moisturise her skin twice a day and exfoliate because of all the dead cells that fall off all over her body. If she doesn't have lotion her skin will dry out, crack, bleed and then those areas can get dangerous infections too."

The worried mom addded, "If we don't keep her body protected it can be life-threatening for her because the skin is the largest organ of the body. We have had to make a lot of adaptations to help her -- from getting 100% cotton clothing as a baby, to homemade baby wipes and vacuuming daily because of the amount of skin that she sheds but the biggest struggle for her is overheating, we have to monitor her whenever she is outside and be prepared."

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Following Hanna's birth, she was monitored closely and required breathing assistance because dead skin was blocking her airways.

She also reportedly had splits across her skin, her lips looked blood red, her skin was also so tight from the collodion membrane that her chest couldn't expand for her to breathe.

"It was hard for her to breathe through her nose, nurses had to keep her alive for five hours by regularly pushing a button for oxygen," explained Megan

After coming home ten days later, the Barrott family learned to adapt around Hanna's condition, from her cleaning and moisturising routines to materials that help aid her skin.

Despite making many friends at school, brave Hanna has to endure stares and rude comments from strangers, including that she looks like she is "severely sunburnt".

In a bid to combat this and raise awareness, mom-of-three Megan has taught her to approach people and explain her condition.

"Once a kid tried to spit and kick her and sometimes she's not included in things because she looks different," her mother confessed.

"I've had people say, 'Someone's been out in the sun too long' but I quickly let them know she has a genetic disorder that makes her skin grow faster than ours. It's our job to raise awareness and educate people, I give her the choice whether she explains or I do."

Megan said: "Rather than shying away and letting their stares hurt her feelings or make her uncomfortable, I encourage Hanna to talk to people about Ichthyosis.

"She tells them, 'I have ichthyosis, which makes my skin grow super-fast' and other short, simple answers. A lot of people don't know how to ask about her condition or their questions come out the wrong way, so we just act graciously and as kind as we can, even though sometimes it's hard."

Megan explained that after understanding the condition better, people are less judgemental.

She added, "They smile and say, 'wow, she's beautiful' or after she has explained her condition to them they tell her that they found it very interesting.

"We have taught Hanna that everyone is given challenges and that we are all different, whether that's on the inside or outside, so she is not embarrassed by being different.

"Hanna is just like any typical child, she's happy, excitable, she wants to try everything, loves sports, musical instruments and dances too."

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