Soft, baby-smooth skin often comes to mind when you think of toddlers, but even young kids get occasional dry skin. Toddlers face a higher risk for dry skin during colder months, but extremely dry skin can strike at any time of year. Skin dryness leaves toddlers feeling itchy. Control your toddler’s dry skin and prevent future bouts to keep him more comfortable.
Causes of Dry Skin
Dry air zaps skin of moisture, leaving your toddler’s skin dry and itchy. Cold air is naturally dry, and heating systems that run during winter add to the dryness of the environment. Dry skin occurs in summer, too, as a result of excess exposure to the sun and pool water with salt or chlorine. Some toddlers experience eczema, which creates a dry and itchy rash. The type of soap you use, and the length of baths also contribute to dry skin in some toddlers.
The way you care for your child’s skin affects the level of moisture. Gentle soaps without extra fragrance are typically the best choice for toddlers. A shortened bath time strips less oil from her skin; the skin’s natural oils keep it moisturized. Switch from daily bathing to baths every other day to help retain the skin’s natural moisture. Wash your toddler at the end of bath time so he doesn’t sit in the soapy water while he plays.
The application of a thick moisturizer helps treat your toddler’s dry skin. Apply fragrance-free moisturizer right after you dry your child’s skin at the end of bath time. This locks in moisture to keep the skin hydrated. Drinking lots of water also helps to hydrate your toddler’s body from the inside out and helps to reduce dry skin.
Improving the Environment
Indoor dry air contributes to your toddler’s dry skin. Using a humidifier is a simple way to increase moisture in your home. Some new furnaces include a humidifying unit that moisturizes the air throughout the house. Room humidifiers or vaporizers are another option.
Persistent dry skin that doesn’t improve with home treatment should be checked by your toddler’s physician because an underlying condition may be the cause of the dryness. Common eczema or ichthyosis, a rare condition that causes dry skin, are possible causes of dry skin. Discharge or swelling in the dry skin area are also reasons to consult with a physician.