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Take Care of Your Skin During the Colder Months Recommendations for children and parents

 

Chapstick healthy lips winter
Image via Getty Images

 

With all the precautions taken to protect your body from the cold air, do you also spend time protecting your skin? As the largest organ of your body, the skin accounts for 16% of your overall body mass. It has a major job to protect you from the environment, balance body temperature, give sensory cues and serve as a storehouse for water, fat and vitamins.

Colder weather forces the skin to work harder. Dropping temperatures force stored water to leave the skin more quickly, thus making it possible to experience a common winter skin condition.


 

5 most common winter skin conditions

 

The most common skin conditions children and parents face during colder months include eczema, chapped and dry skin, winter itch, wind burn and psoriasis.

Of the conditions listed, Dr. Nicole Gable of Catonsville Primary Care Center has found eczema—better known as atopic dermatitis—to be the most common. “Eczema can run in families and is more common in young children, especially babies who often have sensitive skin.”

 

Ways to prevent winter skin conditions

 

You can prevent irritating winter skin conditions by following some of these suggestions.

Drink more water. The only way to replenish the moisture that leaves the skin is to drink more water. While your children may not find increasing their water intake to be appealing at first, consider ways to make it fun. Purchase a new water bottle or dress up a current water bottle with stickers. Add fruit like oranges or berries to make it more appetizing. If you enjoy fizz, try sparkling water in various flavors.

Ashley Pearson, a busy mom and educator, dilutes her son’s juice with additional water to increase his water intake. You can also use a humidifier to add moisture.

“A whole-house humidifier can be helpful (or) cool-mist humidifiers can add moisture to the air when needed,” says Gable.

healthy skin winter
Image via Getty Images

Avoid wearing irritating fabrics. Wool is a known culprit to cause itching and can create an instant reaction to affected areas of the skin. If you are unsure about your skin’s reaction to a fabric, be sure to save the receipt for an easy product return.

If your children are younger, pay attention to nonverbal cues such as increased scratching, pulling or tugging of their clothing. Pearson makes sure her children wear “tagless clothes, or I remove the tags.”

Rethink bath time. Gable recognizes the fun that bath time represents for children, but parents should keep some skin considerations in mind.

“Some of the most effective interventions include limiting the time spent in the bathtub to 10 minutes, bathing in lukewarm water and avoiding bubble baths and harsh or scented soaps …. (Drying) off by gently patting with a soft towel instead of rubbing the skin can also help.” Additionally, think about using fragrance- and dye-free laundry products.

 

Treatment options

 

Some treatment options can help alleviate some skin conditions.

Lip balm. This soothing product is an excellent and affordable option to combat dry and chapped lips. To prevent children from misusing or eating it, apply the lip balm to their lips for them, then store the product in a secure place. Children can apply lip balm before putting on their face mask and reapply when they get home.

If your children are older, they can reapply the product themselves as needed. Gable advises parents and children to stay “hydrated by drinking lots of water and using emollients (such as lip balm)” to provide comfort.

Change moisturizers. Many moisturizer options contain additional emollients to soothe and comfort the skin.

Pearson has figured out a good system for managing her older son’s eczema. “In the mornings, I apply a layer of two different moisturizers, then have him wear long socks (to keep) him from scratching,” she says.

Apply moisturizers following bath time and times when the skin appears or feels dry. Teach your children how to identify when they need to moisturize by showing them the difference in their skin’s appearance and texture before and after you or they apply moisturizer. Pearson has been teaching her almost 3-year-old son this technique.

If you notice your children scratching their bodies at night or during the day, or if you realize you are scratching more during the colder months, use this sign as an opportunity to increase the amount of moisturizer you’re using. If the condition persists, seek the advice of a medical doctor for next steps.

If you are unsure about which moisturizer to use, Gable explains the options this way: “Ointments contain the most oils and work the best, followed by heavy creams and body butters. Thinner lotions, especially those that are thin enough to come from a pump, are the least moisturizing.”

Use these tips and techniques to help you care for your family’s skin this winter.

 

Tips to Prevent Dry Winter Skin

 

• Moisturize after bathing or washing.
• Use sunscreen (even on cloudy days).
• Use a humidifier to increase moisture and humidity in homes with dry indoor environments.
• Dial back the temperature on bath and shower water.
• Hydrate from the inside.
• Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves when outdoors.
• Visit a doctor if dry skin symptoms become worse or don’t improve.

About Krystal Henry

One comment

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