Dry skin leaves many children itchy and uncomfortable. The winter months are often tough on everyone’s skin, including children. The air is drier in general, and home heating systems adds to the dryness. Sun exposure and chlorine or salt pool water contribute to dry skin in the summer. No matter what the cause, treating your child’s skin prevents further skin irritation and prevents additional dryness.
A dry environment complicates a child’s dry skin problem. Humidifiers add moisture to the air, making them particularly useful during the winter months. Place a humidifier in your child’s bedroom if you don’t have a house-wide humidifier in your heating system. Humidifiers in the main living areas moisturize the air throughout the house.
A lack of water in the body contributes to dry skin. Keep your child’s body hydrated by encouraging him to drink water throughout the day. The hot summer days often mean kids are drinking more, but drinking plenty of water during the winter months is easier to overlook.
Dry skin lacks water, but spending a lot of time in the bath can make dry skin worse. Bathing strips the oils from the skin, resulting in drier skin. Shorter baths reduce the problem. Baby Center recommends sticking to a 10-minute bath filled with warm water instead of hot. For another option, bathe your child every other day instead of daily. A gentle soap reduces the amount of oil stripped from the skin. No bubbles in the water also benefits dry skin.
Lotion helps lock in the skin’s moisture to reduce dryness. If your child’s skin is particularly sensitive, consult with her physician to find a moisturizer that won’t cause a reaction. A thick moisturizer generally works better at treating dry skin than a thin lotion. A moisturizer application right after bath time helps lock in the water that was absorbed during the bath. Apply the moisturizer generously throughout the day as needed.
Exposure to weather elements adds to dry skin issues year round. Colder air chaps the skin, making it dry. The summer sun causes dryness, particularly with a sunburn. Protect your child’s skin any time he is outdoors. Gloves and scarves keep a majority of the skin covered during winter. Frequent applications of sunscreen also adds a layer of protection.
Consult your child’s doctor if his dry skin doesn’t subside with proper care and moisturizing. He may have eczema, which usually causes red patches that are particularly itchy. Your child’s doctor might have other suggestions for treating the dry skin even if he doesn’t have eczema.