Tips to keep your baby's skin soft and healthy this winter

Here’s how to protect your little one’s skin when the elements are against you.

13 June 2014
by Karen Nel

The cold winter temperatures aren’t kind to a baby’s delicate skin. Lower humidity outdoors and indoor heated areas mean that the skin is stripped of its natural moisture and conditions like eczema are far more likely to flare up.

The good news is that there’s a lot you can do at home to prevent and treat baby skin ailments during the colder months. Here’s what you need to know:

1. How to treat chapped lips, noses and cheeks

Chapped lips, noses and cheeks are common in babies during winter. These areas are generally exposed to the outdoor elements when we have to go out and they’re usually also moist from all the drooling that babies do. The result is raw, broken skin that may be difficult to treat as a result of all the moisture that commonly lingers on these parts of the face.

Clicks Regional Clinic Services Manager Carol Gray suggests using a suitable protective or barrier cream like Bepanthen on these areas on a regular basis. Try to remember to apply it just before you go outdoors and before your baby goes to bed at night too.

2. How to treat eczema

Eczema tends to flare up during the winter months due to lower humidity. It appears as bright red, scaly patches, commonly occurring on the cheeks and in the folds of the arms and legs.

“Eczema occurs when the protective barrier of the skin is broken. It then dries out very easily, so it’s essential to maintain the hydration level of the skin,” says Sister Gray. “Keep your baby’s skin well moisturised by using baby bath oils and body lotions. Avoid using perfumed or brightly coloured products as they can make the eczema worse. If you’re giving your child vitamin supplements, look for one that contains omega-3 acids, as they help to maintain skin health.”

3. How to treat a heat rash

Heat rashes are surprisingly common in winter. It may seem illogical for babies to get heat rash when it’s so cold outside, but many parents dress their children too warmly in winter and the baby’s skin reacts by erupting in a fine red rash. The pores in a baby’s skin are far finer, so they easily become blocked when your baby sweats, which is what causes the rash.

Not sure how warmly to dress your baby? The general rule is two layers more than the parent. “So if mom is wearing just a long-sleeved top, baby could wear a vest, baby grow and jersey. Make sure you dress your child in layers that can easily be removed if necessary,” advises Sister Gray.

4. The value of bath time for skincare

Bath time is the ideal opportunity to give your baby’s skin a little bit of extra care. “Use a water-soluble bath oil that will not block the pores of your baby’s skin. A wide variety of baby bath products are available, so it’s best to ask your Clicks pharmacist or health aisle consultant for help when choosing specific brands,” says Sister Gray.

After bath time, gently pat the skin dry with a towel and apply baby lotion while the skin is still slightly damp. This will help to seal in the moisture and go a long way towards keeping baby’s skin soft and smooth.

Clicks stocks a large range of moisturising and soothing baby toiletries to help protect your baby's delicate skin this winter.

IMAGE CREDIT: 123rf.com

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