Winter Skin Care 101: How to Soothe and Protect Your Child from Cold Weather
Windy days, frosty mornings, chilly nights… there’s no stopping winter (unfortunately). Besides hot chocolate and sledding season, colder months also usher in a season of uncomfortable dry, flaky skin.
So, while those rosy cheeks might be adorable they might also be a warning sign a more serious skin irritation is affecting your child. Keep the ‘nip in the air’ from putting a damper on their favorite winter traditions with these simple tips from St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children on how to spot and soothe common winter skin irritations.
There is such a thing as too toasty. Wanting to bundle them up is only natural when you feel a draft of bone-chilling air, but too many layers can have an adverse effect on your little one. Choose winter gear that’s made from breathable fabrics that allow air to circulate to your child’s skin.
Being too toasty under their winter sweaters can cause heat rash, itchy red bumps that appear when your child’s sweat glands become clogged. If you notice bumps from heat rash, try using a hydrocortisone cream to help ease the itchiness. With cream, the bumps will start to disappear within a few days.
Know the difference between ‘rosy’ and red. Once the shade of their cheeks or the color of their fingertips goes from slightly rosy to pure red it could signal the early stages of “frostnip.” This mild form of frostbite makes exposed skin (think: fingers, toes and cheeks) red and tender to the touch.
You already know the best practice to keep frostbite away is to keep your child covered head to toe with a hat, mittens and toasty socks, but that might be easier said than done. Stash an extra set of mittens in your car or purse the next few months for days their mittens mysteriously vanish.
Mystify. Low humidity can agitate existing skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, or eczema. Eczema is often accompanied by other allergic conditions or asthma, which can affect their skin, sleep and comfort especially during colder, drier months. Along with daily moisturizing, bringing a cool mist humidifier into your child’s room at night can help them sleep easier while also helping to minimize the effects of dry air.
Break out the sunscreen. Just because you’re not at the shore doesn’t mean you can pack away your SPF. Even during the winter months, ultraviolet rays are working full time to heat the earth—meaning your child’s cheeks are still at risk of getting burnt. Apply a low-grade sunscreen like an SPF 15 to protect from the sun and harsh wind.
Choose soaps carefully. Don’t let your nose do the picking. Scented soaps and lotions may smell divine but their ingredients can cause irritation. Opt for fragrance-free soaps and lotions during the winter months to make sure moisturizing is your top priority.
If you notice your child’s dry or irritated skin conditions persist even after moisturizing daily, contact a pediatrician for appropriate medications and treatment.
For more information visit St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.This is a paid partnership between St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and Philadelphia Magazine's City/Studio