Oooh the weather outside is frightful…
The winter months can wreak havoc on your little one’s baby-soft skin. Chapped cheeks, cracked lips, and dry, itchy hands; it all seems like an unavoidable part of the season. But there are plenty of things you can do to protect your child’s sensitive skin from the season’s harsher elements.
Keep reading for our best winter skincare tips and tricks for kids of all ages.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
We all understand the importance of proper hydration during the hot summer months. But keeping well-hydrated during the winter is JUST as important – and often overlooked.
Between the cold air outside and desert-like central heating inside, your little one’s skin and body is constantly losing moisture. So it’s up to you to make sure it’s getting put back in!
Keep water handy at all times and remind your child to drink regularly. A moderate, steady intake of fluids is far more effective than sporadically chugging an entire sippy cup. Set a timer or reminder on your phone, if you have to (it’ll be a good reminder to have a drink yourself, too!).
Certain foods are also great for boosting hydration. Think fruits and veggies with high water content, like cucumbers, watermelon, apples, and celery. We provide healthy, high water content snacks to children at our preschool throughout the year. Omega-3 fatty acids also help skin retain moisture. Find ways to work olive oil, walnuts, beans, winter squash, flaxseed, and fish into your child’s diet.
Now that you are keeping your little one well-hydrated on the inside, it’s time to bump up the moisture factor from the outside.
First, turn down the heat!
Central heating produces EXTREMELY dry air, which can wreak havoc not only on skin but also nasal passages, sinus cavities, eyes… the list goes on.
Now, we’re not saying to turn your home into an igloo, but setting your thermostat just a few degrees lower and having your child keep their sweater and socks on will make a big difference to not just your air quality, but your heating bill, too!
Second, invest in a warm-air humidifier. These things will change your life (and not just in winter). Maintaining ideal humidity levels within your home can improve skin, hair, allergies, lessen the likelihood of illness, and even extend the longevity of your home itself.
Do your research, read reviews on sites such as ConsumerReports.org, and find the model that is right for your home size and situation. And don’t forget to do humidifier maintenance! The last thing you want is to be filling your home with wonderfully warm, bacteria-laden mist.
Prevention and Protection
Taking a proactive approach to your child’s skincare will pay off in the long run. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
This may seem counterintuitive – but reduce the number of baths you give your child.
Soap and overly warm water can actually deplete your little one’s skin of it’s natural oils and weaken its protective moisture barrier. If bathtime is a crucial part of your night-time routine, skip the soap and keep the soaking time short and sweet, and the water temperature warm, not hot.
Lotion up liberally
Using thick creams and lotions frequently will help keep redness, itching, and cracking at bay. There are a staggering array of baby/kid lotions and potions on the market today, so be prepared for some trial and error as to what works best for your child.
A good rule of thumb is to stay away from anything strong fragrance, artificial coloring, and mineral oils (all potential irritants). Anything that lists any type of alcohol as its first ingredient should also be avoided, it can actually SPEED UP skin’s moisture loss.
Get your child in on slathering up after hand-washing, before getting dressed in the morning and after bath time or before bed. Letting them practice on you and themselves will help them develop fine motor skills and take ownership of their self-care habits, and it’s an easy thing to make fun!
Don’t skip sunscreen
Sunblock isn’t just for the summer!
Any time your child goes outside make sure all exposed skin is well-coated in a physical sunblock, which is gentler than chemical sunblocks. For very young children, it’s also wise to use a barrier cream (like diaper cream) on noses, upper lips and chins. Runny noses/drool + cold weather/wind = chapping!
Learn to Layer
Lastly, make sure your child is properly dressed.
Because they are small, children lose heat faster than adults; however parents are far more likely to over-dress their children than underdress them.
Layering is key, but make sure to use light, breathable fabrics. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean your child won’t work up a sweat when running and playing outside; and if that moisture gets trapped in their clothes it can lead to chafing and heat rash.
Empowering and Educating Children Year-Round
Whatever the season, teaching self-care habits in order to foster independence is a central component of Primary Beginnings’ play-based curriculum. To find out more about our child development centers, contact us today. We have two locations in the North Raleigh area, and would love to meet you and your child!