I know it isn’t winter yet (official date is December 21st) but it sure feels like winter, even here in Northern California! And wearing proper outerwear isn’t enough to protect your little people’s skin from the harsh weather. I find that it is best to be proactive during the winter months and once the temperature starts to drop, try these tips to keep your child’s skin safe from chafing, cracking or uncomfortable general dryness:
1. Regular, tepid, 20 minute bath soaks.
This has been a serious game changer in our house, especially since the colder climate exacerbates my daughter’s already eczema-prone skin. I highly recommend these 20 minute bath soaks a few times a week with ONLY water (save the bubble baths for warmer weather or limit to 1-2 times per week) and then wash your little one ONLY right before you get him/her out of the water. The skin will be incredibly hydrated right after a bath soak and if the proper products are applied post bath, the added moisture will be sealed into the skin and will feel amazingly soft and smooth.
2. Humidifier in child’s bedroom.
Not only will a humidifier help with colds and nose bleeds, it can also help keep your child’s skin hydrated! At this time of year, families turn on the heat in their homes which takes moisture out of the air. A humidifier will put the much-needed moisture back in your child’s bedroom. We like this humidifier if you are in the market for a new one.
3. Use skin care products with Essential Fatty Acids.
Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are fats our body doesn’t make on its own so we need to add this type of fat to our bodies; internally and externally! Topically, omega 3 and omega 6 EFA’s provide deep moisture to the skin but they are also anti-inflammatory (especially omega 3’s) and help protect and repair the skin’s natural lipid barrier (also called acid mantle or outer protective layer of the skin) from becoming weakened from environmental assault (caused by indoor heat, outdoor cold air, wind, etc.). When looking at product labels, check for these powerhouse EFA’s: red raspberry seed oil, cranberry seed oil, chia seed oil, flaxseed oil and blackcurrant seed oil. Lotions, balms and oils containing these EFA’s are going to keep your child’s skin soothed, healthy and resilient.
4. Apply a rich, protective barrier to skin before leaving home.
Before heading out into the cold weather, make it part of your daily routine to apply a protective barrier balm to your child’s skin (and make sure it has those EFA's mentioned above. Our balm is a good choice). Apply the balm to your child’s lips, cheeks, hands and any other vulnerable area of the skin to provide an extra layer of protection from the elements. It will make a huge difference!
5. Use pH balanced skin care products.
I talk about pH balanced skin care in this blog post. To recap, pH balanced skin care products keep your child’s protective lipid barrier intact, which is especially important because young children’s lipid barrier is not as fully formed as an adult's, and this lipid barrier is already vulnerable to dryness, irritation and other skin issues. Stick to pH balanced skin care products to help keep the protective lipid layer optimal so it is up to the task of staying balanced, healthy and hydrated in extreme weather or dry heat.
These recommendations go for all members of the family who suffer from dry winter skin! In addition to my children, I apply a protective barrier balm to my lips and hands before I leave the house every day during the winter months (and every day, in general, to my lips!). I am sure some of these tips are common sense but as busy parents, we could all use reminders now and then. Give these tips a try and let me know what you think!