Changing weather can be hard on a baby’s delicate skin. That’s why those rosy cheeks that you love so much can quickly turn red, leathery and even wind-burned as the seasons change. So, before you venture outside, here are some baby skin care tips to protect your little one from sun exposure, dryness and more all season long.
Use sunscreen to protect baby’s skin
Sunscreen is something that many only think of in the summertime, but it should be worn year around, says Dr. Bryce Desmond, Dermatologist at Intermountain Alta View Hospital.
“Studies show that five or more blistering sunburns before the age of 20 increases your chances of melanoma by 80%,” Dr. Desmond says. “It’s a big deal – especially here in Utah where we’re generally in the top 10 in melanoma incidents nationwide.”
All the more reason to apply sunscreen anytime your little is outdoors. Even in winter and spring, it’s important to protect your kids from the sun’s harmful rays. UV rays can penetrate clouds and even fog to reflect off surfaces such as concrete, snow, water and sand.
- Sunscreen for babies younger than six months
- Sunscreen for babies older than six months
- Safest sunscreen for baby -- Chemical v. physical sunscreen
- Chemical sunscreen is absorbed into the skin and where it absorbs the UV energy from the sun and turns it into heat so the underlying skin cells don’t get damaged. Physical sunscreen it great at blocking the sun’s harmful rays, but for children, a physical sunscreen may be better tolerated.
- Physical sunscreen: Now if you’re envisioning a lifeguard with a white zinc coating on their nose, it’s not that bad. “Physical sunscreen includes micronized zinc particles – they’re very small particles so you can rub them on and you don’t get that pasty film on your skin,” Dr. Desmond says. “And because they sit on top of the skin instead of within the skin, they reflect the sun’s light and don’t cause as much allergy in kids with eczema or other sensitivities.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises to apply a minimal amount of at least SPF 15 sunscreen to exposed areas of an infant’s body, such as hands and face if protective clothing is not available. But always try to keep newborns out of direct sunlight and dress them in clothing that shields the sun, such as a hat and/or long-sleeved clothing.
Apply sunscreen to all areas of the body but take caution around the eyes. If baby happens to rub sunscreen into his or her eyes, use a damp cloth to wipe the eyes and hands. If irritation occurs, look for a brand of sunscreen that includes titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. And if a rash occurs, talk with your pediatrician or dermatologist.
There are two different types of sunscreen: chemical sunscreen and physical sunscreen.
Remedies to prevent dry chapped cheeks and skin
In the winter and early spring, cold, dry air can deplete your child’s skin of its natural moisture causing chapped skin. And it’s important to note that chapped skin is nothing more than dry skin that has become irritated. If you see dry patches, flaking, redness or scaly skin and wonder what’s up. Here are a few tips:
- Cover up: To avoid exposure to the wind and dry air, cover as much of your child’s skin as possible when going outside.
- Limit bath/shower time: If your child shows signs of dry, chapped skin, try cutting back on bath/shower time and frequency. “The more we wash them, the more their natural oils are stripped away, and that’s exactly what they need is more oil and moisture,” Dr. Desmond says. And avoid using steamy hot water as it can remove natural oils from the skin. When toweling off your little one, pat the skin dry rather than rubbing. This will lock in moisture. And for best results, apply a moisturizer within two minutes of bath/shower time.
- Moisturize: Applying a thick moisturizer such as Eucerin, Aquaphor or petroleum jelly on your child’s skin – especially on problem areas such as cheeks and chin – helps relieve dry or chapped skin and it serves as a barrier to additional exposure to the elements. Avoid moisturizers that contain fragrance or alcohol; however, as they can cause further agitation.
- Use a humidifier: Utah’s dry air can be brutal for a child’s delicate skin, but you can keep the air in your home moist by using a humidifier.
Protecting your child’s delicate skin from the elements can be challenging, but with some planning and preparation, you can help your child get back to what he or she does best – being a kid.