On an average day, a variety of substances (ranging from saliva and mucus to jelly and tomato sauce) manage to find their way onto a toddler’s face,where they’re promptly smeared from cheek to cheek, causing redness and irritation – especially in winter, when skin is already extra dry. Frequent face washings (as parents strive to remove these substances) often compound the chafing.
If your toddler’s cheeks turn apple-red with the first frost and stay that way until the tulips come up, some special attention is needed. To minimize facial chapping:
- Pat the face dry with a soft cloth after each washing and whenever there’s been excessive drooling.
- Avoid using soap on your toddler’s face. When more water is needed.
- Gently wipe your child’s face with warm water immediately after meals to remove any traces of food and pat dry promptly. If you notice that a particular food or beverage is especially irritating to the skin (common offenders are those that are high in acid, such as citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, and tomatoes or tomato sauces), avoid serving it to your toddler until the chafing has cleared.
- Soothe chapped skin with a mild moisturizer. Spreading petroleum jelly on cheeks, chin and nose before going out in cold weather may also be protective, especially for a teething toddler who is drooling a lot or a toddler with a runny nose.
- Vaporizers Low-humidity is often the culprit, when your baby has chapped cheeks; and one way to counteract this, is with a vaporizer. They add steam to dry air, causing warmer temperatures, higher humidity and less need for central heating. Place the vaporizer into your child’s bedroom at night, and keep it in the same room as your baby during the day. Turning on the shower in the bathroom before a bath also increases the steam and humidity.
- Hydrate Your Baby Dry chapped cheeks need hydrating inside the skin, as well as on the outside. Well-watered skin is achieved by providing an ounce of water, or other fluids, per pound of your baby’s weight each day. Older babies should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables with bright colors, such as tomatoes and blueberries. Omega-3 fats from seafood also have anti-inflammatory properties for the skin. If your baby doesn’t like fish, a supplement can be given.