Did you know that eczema is the most common skin problem treated by pediatric dermatologists? Whether the dry skin is mild or severe, it affects many of us especially during the winter months. If you or your children suffer from dry skin, this post is for you.
Tips for treating and preventing winter dry skin & eczema
My second daughter has mild eczema and it flares up more during winter time around the folds of her skin. We control it by using essential oils, herbal ointment and occasional hydrocortisone but it’s definitely a condition that bothers her. According to Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson of Seattle Mama Doc, eczema is “the itch that rashes because a patch gets started and a child can’t help but itch it.” She also notes that it’s common to see an increased risk for eczema flare-ups in the winter and eczema primarily affects kids.
Interestingly according to CDC data, dry skin has been on the rise. The prevalence of eczema among black children under 18 rose to 17% from 9% between 2000 and 2010, from 5% to 1-% among Hispanic kids and from 8% to 13% among white kids. This data indicates that dry skin conditions and eczema affects children across ethnicities.
Here are 6 steps you and your family can take to prevent dry skin this winter
1. Use sunscreen
It’s easy to think of sunscreen as something you only use during summer, but it’s actually needed throughout the winter to protect you from the UV rays from the sun, especially rays reflecting off snow. Be sure to use sunscreen daily to protect your skin!
2. Use humidifiers
Using a humidifier regularly can keep moisture in your skin and help prevent nosebleeds, which are especially common in kids throughout the winter months. I too, suffer from dry nose during wintertime so I like to use my diffuser regularly to provide extra moisture in the air.
3. Stay hydrated
Dehydration can make your skin sag and dry. Be sure to drink water frequently throughout the day to keep your skin moisturized and looking fresher.
4. Moisturize your skin
There are various skincare options for preventing and treating winter skin. Treatments are generally designed to moisturize and/or exfoliate dry skin. A general rule of thumb is that moisturizing creams are best for mild dryness, oils for moderate dryness and ointment for severe dryness. The best time to apply moisturizer is immediately after a shower or bath. This locks in the water that is still surrounding your skin cells with a layer of oil, cream or ointment.
If you’re using over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for dry skin, always read the Drug Facts label before first applying.
5. Shorter showers and baths
My kids love taking baths and they ask for it daily. However frequent showers and baths can dry out the winter skin so its best to make the duration shorter. Also be sure to lock in moisture immediately after a bath with lotion, cream or oils.
6. Don’t forget your lips
I suffer from dry lips every winter season that it can get quite bothersome. You can treat dry lips by moisturizing it regularly with lip balm and using one that includes SPF 30.
Lastly, dry skin can potentially cause infections because cracked skin provides an entry way for bacteria to invade. This can be further aggravated by scratching the dry skin. If you notice pain or redness developing in an area where you have been scratching dry or cracked skin, this could be a sign of a bacterial skin infection called cellulitis and you should contact your healthcare provider.
For more information about dry skin in kids, check out this Health Children article.
And don’t forget to stay updated with KnowYourOTCs.org for any OTC and health related questions.