Protecting Skin Against Winter Weather

The combination of windy, cold weather outside and dry heat inside can be tough on anyone’s skin, especially kids.'

Here’s how you can protect your child’s delicate skin from winter weather.

Outdoors, remember to always keep your child’s skin covered, even if just making a quick trip from the house to the car, but especially for those who may be outside longer, such as bus-riders. Older babies and young children should be dressed in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.

Inside, protecting your child’s skin begins with the bath routine. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, daily baths or showers are not necessary for children ages 6 to 11. While a nice warm bubble bath may seem like just the ticket for dry, itchy skin Annapolis Pediatric’s Nichole Tucker, CPNP, says less is more. “I do normally recommend spacing baths in the winter months,” says Tucker. “This will allow the body time to self lubricate! Keep baths short and sweet, you can even try switching to showers. Remember pat dry vs. rubbing and start applying lotion directly after bath.”

Bath water should be tepid, not too hot, as this will only increase itchiness. At bath time, which should be limited to 10 minutes, avoid the bubbles and fragrant soaps. Opt instead for non-comedogenic soaps and lotions to prevent irritation and help with lubrication. Tucker suggests following your nose when choosing bath products, “If it smells like anything, don’t use it! Just because a label says non-fragrant does
not always mean it is. I tend to avoid bubble baths as these are normally always scented.”

For exacerbated skin, Tucker recommends a thin layer of 1-percent hydrocortisone cream, used sparingly, not more than twice a day for a week. The cream can be layered with Aquaphor or Vaseline. She says both of these products are excellent for chapped lips, too.

Any areas of skin that show increased redness, warmth, tenderness, pain or discharge should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. “As always, if you are not sure about a rash or how best to manage,” Tucker says, “it is always a good idea to check in with your pediatrician.”
—Joyce Heid

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