Author: Alison Johnson
Colder temperatures and dry indoor air can leave children's delicate skin chapped, itchy and red. Here are some basic tips from Dr. Donna Corvette, a dermatologist, and Kristen Albright, a physician assistant, both at the Dermatology Center of Williamsburg:
Apply moisturizer at least once a day, particularly after showering when skin is still a bit damp. "The best time to moisturize the skin is within three minutes of showering," Corvette says. "Pat your skin dry and then apply cream." Lotions are not as effective for moisturizing as good creams such as CeraVe and Cetaphil, especially during the winter months, she adds.
Make sure water temperature is not too hot when bathing, and avoid long showers. Short showers with lukewarm water are best.
Wash with a mild liquid cleanser such as Cetaphil or Dove white bar soap.
Use lip balm frequently, and avoid licking the lips (that might feel good at first, but it actually causes moisture in the skin to evaporate and dries it out). Balms provide a protective barrier to seal in moisture.
Avoid products with heavy fragrance. That includes soaps, creams and lotions, which can irritate skin.
Avoid direct space heaters and extreme temperatures in the home.
Humidifiers are a great idea, particularly when used in the bedroom at night.
Moisturize dry skin patches around the mouth, a common problem in kids, by applying CeraVe or Cetaphil cream.
Finally, if a child is very uncomfortable and not improving with at-home care, see a dermatologist or pediatrician. He or she may have a chronic skin condition that would respond to more specialized care.