The cold can be harsh on a baby’s sensitive skin. Learn how to maintain your baby’s healthy skin in winter by discovering ways to protect your child from rashes, dryness, and more throughout the entire season.
From the first snowfall to backyard sledding, a baby enjoys many wintertime activities. Nevertheless, it can also be the most challenging season for your child’s delicate skin. Cold, dry air can deplete moisture reserves. Yet it is simple for young skin to become leathery and windburned if care is not taken.
Karla Duke, a mother from Monroe, North Carolina, was astounded by how dramatically her son Nicholas’s skin changed over his first winter, not only on his face but elsewhere as well. His skin had the texture of a reptile since it was so scaly and dry in some places.
You can protect your youngster from seasonal skin dangers in several ways. Read on for straightforward, practical advice from experts on how to keep your baby’s skin healthy during chilly weather.
Guard Against Temperature Variations
Winter offers a triple threat to the skin of your child. Paul Honig, M.D., at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, explains, “The combination of low humidity, freezing temperatures, and wind can be extremely harsh.”
When you factor in the temperature changes your baby undergoes as you transport them between the cold outdoors and the warm interiors, it becomes even more necessary to treat your baby’s skin with particular care. Many simple measures can avert several issues (or keep them from becoming severe).
A 2014 study indicated that applying daily moisturizer to newborns’ skin throughout their first 32 weeks of life lowered their likelihood of developing eczema. Refrain from scrimp on moisturizer, particularly after bathing. If your child’s skin appears or feels dry, apply a sufficient dose of baby moisturizing cream or petroleum jelly.
Go without fragrances.
Stay with unscented products. Unscented baby soaps and lotions are less likely to cause irritation.
Moreover, fragrance-free products may be beneficial for your baby in general. Fragrances can cause headaches, dizziness, difficulty breathing, brain fog, and a worsening of allergy and asthma symptoms in some individuals.
A 2017 study published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health assessed amounts of scents in infant items in the breathing zone air. The ubiquitous use of scents in items can result in repeated daily exposures for infants and toddlers, according to researchers.
Purchase a humidifier.
According to Anthony J. Mancini, M.D., of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, the use of a humidifier in your child’s bedroom can mitigate the drying effects of the season.
For safety concerns, do not position the humidifier close or directly over your infant. The AAP also suggests using a cool-mist humidifier rather than a warm-mist humidifier.
Your youngster may perspire excessively, resulting in clogged glands and skin discomfort if they are overdressed. On the other hand, underdressing might dry out exposed skin or exacerbate a preexisting problem. Dress your infant accordingly to combat the winter chill.
In cooler temperatures, the AAP suggests layering infant clothing. Consider wearing a onesie and a diaper that is covered by pajamas. If necessary, add a sleeping bag.
Soothe Frequent Baby Skin Problems
Your baby’s skin is so fragile and delicate that no matter how cautious you are, it will endure irritation this winter. Nonetheless, there are methods for addressing these frequent issues. And remember, for any skin issue, if symptoms persist or there is bleeding, extreme itching, leaking, or scabbing, consult a medical professional.
Establish a skin barrier.
Build a barrier to prevent and treat chapping. The combination of cold and drool can cause the area around your baby’s mouth and chin to dry out and become chapped. What is the solution? Establish a barrier between the skin and saliva, Dr. Mancini recommends.
A thick, oily moisturizer or cream should be sufficient. The skin around your child’s nostrils might also get irritating, particularly if they have a runny nose. Hence, use a small amount of a petroleum-based product, such as Aquaphor.
Cover your skin to avoid windburn. Especially on your child’s cheeks, exposed skin suffers the brunt of harsh, dry winds. The result might be windburn, which manifests as sensitive, dry, red spots resembling sunburn.
Hence, protect your youngster as much as possible and apply a heavy lotion with SPF 15 or higher. (Sunburn is a problem even in the winter, due in part to the great reflectivity of snow.)
Low humidity can exacerbate this quite common skin condition. It is characterized by red, itchy areas on the cheeks, scalp, hands, and feet.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends the following to treat symptoms and reduce flare-ups if your infant has eczema:
- Taking a bath in lukewarm water with unscented soap.
- Applying moisturizer twice daily and immediately after showering.
- Consultation with a medical professional regarding the use of topical corticosteroids.
Recognizing and avoiding triggers.
Moreover, certain textiles, such as wool, might irritate delicate skin, so try to avoid these things. A bleach bath is a traditional treatment for more severe cases of eczema, so you can also consult a doctor about trying one. But be sure to adhere to their dilution and frequency recommendations strictly.
Beware of intense heat.
Prickly heat is not merely a summertime issue. Clothing your youngster in excessive layers may also result in these little red lumps.
A cool compress or lukewarm bath might alleviate itching, as can keeping your child’s skin cool and allowing it to breathe. In this instance, a lotion is ineffective: “It will just make the rash worse because the sweat glands are already clogged,” warns Dr. Mancini.
Minimize outdoor time.
Limit time spent outside to prevent frostnip. This condition can occur when the skin is exposed to wind and cold temperatures for an extended period of time. The symptoms of frostnip include the affected parts — typically the cheeks, nose, fingers, and toes — becoming red and feeling numb or tingly but quickly returning to their normal color when warmed.
If you fear your infant has frostbite, remove them from the cold immediately and attempt to warm their skin with your hands, warm towels, or warm (but not hot) water. If none of these techniques work, transport the patient promptly to the hospital.
Modify Your Bathing Practices
When the wind is howling, and the temperature is dropping, it seems natural to give your child a lengthy, warm bath. Yet, excessive time in the tub can dry up their skin. The goal is to maintain your child’s cleanliness without irritating their skin.
Excessive bathing might dry up a baby’s skin. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests thoroughly cleaning your baby’s diaper region at each diaper change and bathing them only three times per week during their first year.
If your infant finds a daily bath to be calming, you may not necessarily need to alter your routine. “Ensure that the bath lasts no more than 10 minutes and that the water is lukewarm, not hot,” Dr. Mancini advises.
Moisturize after bathing.
After bathing your newborn, pat them dry and then apply a heavy cream or lotion. “Use a moisturizer within three minutes after bathing, when there are still water droplets on the skin, or as soon as possible,” advises Dr. Mancini. “This will assist in sealing in moisture.
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