Caring for Your Toddler’s Skin – Defeating Dry Skin

Nov 23, 2012 No Comments by

Keeping baby’s skin baby soft isn’t always smooth going: keeping a toddler’s skin soft can be even rougher. Since the sebaceous glands, which will eventually lubricate and protect the skin, don’t kick in until the hormones start flowing just before puberty, young skin is even more vulnerable than an infant’s, for a couple of reasons. One, being constantly on the go, indoors, and out, toddlers are exposed more too skin-chafing elements. Two, toddlers get dirtier – and both the dirt and the cleaning upon can irritate tender skin.

But there are some ways to prevent the moisture loss that causes dryness and to help replenish the moisture when dry skin strikes:

  1. Avoid overheating. When the mercury dips outside, it’s always tempting to send the mercury soaring inside. But dry, over-heated air leads to overdry skin, particularly for toddlers. So during the heating season, try to keep your home between 18.3 degree and 20 degree C/65 degree and 68 degree F during the day and between 15.5 degree and 18.3degree C/60 degree and 65 degree F at night. Instead of turning up the thermostat, keep the family cozy in heavy sweats or sweaters during the day and flannel pyjamas or warm sleepers at night.
  2. Protect from the elements. Moisturizer or a thin layer of petroleum jelly will protect exposed skin from the drying, irritating effects of severe cold and wind.
  3. Limit bathing. Though most toddlers get dirty enough daily to warrant a nightly scrub in the bath, daily bathing can be both trying and drying. If your toddler’s skin is very dry, give baths every other day or less often, spot-cleaning or sponge-bathing between baths. When you do bathe your toddler, use lukewarm water instead of hot (hotter water is more drying) and do not use bubble bath, which can be irritating as well as drying. Keep baths (and showers, which are even more drying than baths) relatively brief, so your toddler doesn’t dry out from the soaking. Though the addition of bath oil can sometimes help prevent drying, they can make the tub slippery – and thus treacherous for a toddler. Also, some toddlers nay be sensitive to some of the ingredients in bath oils – perfumes and dyes, for example.
  4. Be soap savvy. Use a very mild, super fatted, fragrance-free soap or a soapless cleanser. Don’t use soap that contains deodorants or perfumes. Also avoid antibacterial soaps, which don’t really wash away more germs that plain soap does (even hospitals, for the most part, use plain soap), and can also be irritating, causing redness or scaling. Long-term use may eventually promote the growth of resistant bacterial strains.
  5. Use even the gentlest of soaps sparingly, soaping up only as needed (where dirt is most obvious, and around the buttocks and genitals).
  6. Don’t rub-a-dub-dub after the tub. Always pat your toddler’s skin dry instead of rubbing it.
  7. Moisturize. Apply moisturizer after the bath while your child’s skin is still slightly moist. It can also be reapplied before bedtime and before going out, if necessary.
  8. If your child’s dry skin becomes worse after you’ve applied a moisturizer, or if a rash or other eruption develops (even ‘hypoallergenic’ or ‘natural’ – a term that means very little since the definition is unregulated by law – products can trigger a reaction in sensitive children), stop using the product immediately. Try a moisturizer with different ingredients, or ask your child’s doctor for a recommendation.
  9. Keep those fluids coming. Inadequate fluid intake, too, can lead to, among other problems, dry skin. So make sure your toddler gets enough fluids. Be especially aware of fluid intake if your toddler has just been weaned and is still working out the kinds of drinking from cup.
  10. Be wary in warm water. When temperatures soar, the toddler needs protection not from dryness but from heat rash and sun. Lotions, creams and oils are unnecessary for all but the driest skin in the summer. In fact, especially if they are thick (petroleum jelly, for example), they can make the skin more uncomfortable, and by blocking the evaporation of moisture, lead to heat rash (also known as picky heat). Both exposure to sun and overdressing can also add to skin distress on hot weather.

After The Baby Is Born, The Toddlers Year
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