He could never go to the beach or swim in a pool on holiday, because it would leave him in agony.
He couldn’t go to restaurants for fear of overheating.
And if he went to a friend’s house, his parents Arlene and Ryan Lynch had to ask them to turn the central heating off, to stop it irritating their son’s sensitive skin.
Some days Dara’s hands would be so sore and inflamed
Mum Arlene, 38, had to wrap him up in bandages and a special suit to protect his skin each day, before cutting off the bandages at night – to stop them sticking to his oozing skin.
But now, after five years of hell, Arlene claims a “miracle” treatment has eased her son’s agony.
The therapy, called the Aron Regimen, has completely healed Dara’s angry red skin, Arlene said.
And now the family have been able to enjoy their first ever beach holiday, to Albufeira in Portugal, while Dara in now able to enjoy the sunshine at home too.
Arlene, from Londonderry, Northern Ireland, said: “The impact and the success of the treatment on our family life is immeasurable.
“Dara is now a happy, confident seven-year-old, living life to the full and doing all the things he couldn’t do in his first five years.
“Eczema and its severe effects robbed that from him.
Dara was wrapped in bandages daily, and we had to cut them off when redressing him as the skin would have oozed and stuck to the bandages
Arlene Lynch, Dara’s Mum
“My poor baby boy had to go through hell. As his parents it was torture to watch him suffer so much every day.”
The first signs something was wrong came when Dara was just four months old.
Initially his parents blamed it on formula milk, fearing their son was allergic to it.
But his eczema continued, even after they switched his diet.
When Dara started school he couldn’t take part in many activities because his skin was so fragile.
After several trips to see the GP, and specialists at Altnagelvin Area Hospital in Derry, the youngster was diagnosed with atopic eczema.
He was prescribed topical steroids and oral antibiotics, but nothing seemed to work to clear his skin.
His parents were advised to put Dara on immunosuppressants, but they refused.
“Dara was wrapped in bandages daily, and we had to cut them off when redressing him as the skin would have oozed and stuck to the bandages,” Arelene said.
“It was gruelling, heartbreaking having to change his bandages.
“Most of the time his skin was raw, bleeding and oozing, it was agony for him.”
The family avoided holidays, going out to restaurants and limited going to see friends, not wanting to “put him through that”.
And Dara had to wear a “skinnies” suit and mittens everyday to stop him scratching his wounds.
Arlene said: “We would cover him from top to toe in creams, to absolutely no avail.
“There were days when he couldn’t open his hands or walk.
“He had endless sleepless nights where we would sit with him and tap him to try and ease an uncontrollable itch.”
Dara’s parents found out about the Aron Regimen after hearing about it on a radio station in Dublin in 2015.
They contacted Dr Richard Aron, a consultant dermatologist in Cape Town, South Africa, and were offered an online consultation for £100.
In October they received a tailored package of steroids, antibiotics and moisturiser to help treat Dara’s condition.
To start with Dara needed five applications of the treatment every day, but now needs the cream just once every 24 hours.
It’s changed his life, meaning he can now enjoy family holidays with mum, dad Ryan, a 39-year-old supermarket owner and manager, and his big sister, Leah, nine.
Dr Aron runs clinics in London and South Africa and prescribes treatments following an online consultation.
He said: “I am delighted that Dara’s treatment has been successful and he is able to start truly enjoying life.
“A lot of the children I treat present with a history as severe as Dara’s as they come to me at the end of their tether.
“I heal my patients using a combination of moisturising cream, antibiotic cream and steroid cream, which is very important.
“I also make sure patients get adequate rest to make sure their skin has time to heal, give them a simple bath regime and advise they avoid food with colourings and artificial additives.
“Hearing from people who have managed to change their lives is always gratifying. I’m glad when I can help.”