Children’s skin care in the cold season

College of DuPage Nursing Student Vikki Palshmitas shared with Healthy Lombard that as the green leaves start turning to beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow, it is time to don our comfiest fall sweaters. Autumn is outside our windows, which means it is time to change our skin care routines. During the cold season, the harsh outdoor air and dry air inside our warm, heated houses can cause skin dehydration, exacerbation of chronic diseases such as atopic dermatitis, or eczema. Here are a few tips to take care of your child’s skin to keep it healthy and strong during winter:

Reduce the time of bath procedures.

Water dries the skin, especially if your child enjoys the pleasures of the bath for too long. The longer your child spends time soaking in the bathtub, the more the water dries the skin of the body and face. Ceramides, fatty acids, and oils that help keep skin moisturized are washed off after a shower for more than 10 minutes. In addition, most doctor’s advice the water temperature should not exceed 100 degrees F.

Do not use soap.

Soap also dries the skin, it deprives your skin of natural moisture, causing further irritation. It is better to choose soap free cleansers, since they are made without a mixture of fats and alkaline additives.  Avoid bubble baths – the detergents they contain have the greatest potential to cause skin irritation and allergic skin reactions.

Moisturize the skin.

Use the emollient daily – apply it to the child no later than 3 minutes after bathing while the skin is still moist – this helps maintain the skin’s protective barrier. Moisturizers should be odorless for the whole family. If the skin is extremely dry, itchy, scaly – the process of applying the cream can be extremely unpleasant or even painful for the child. Generic petroleum jelly and mineral oils without additives are two of the safest, most effective moisturizing products. This measure has been tested and approved by the National Eczema Association.

When outdoors, wear a sunscreen.

For many parents, sunscreen is the last thing they think about putting on their children in the middle of winter. We often forget the risk of UV exposure is much more pronounced in snowy conditions due to rays bouncing off reflective, icy surfaces. Parents should be applying daily moisturizer or lotion containing a minimum of SPF 30 on their children’s exposed skin when they are playing outside, according to American Cancer Society.

Use a humidifier.

If your child is not sleeping well, has flaky skin, and is often ill, you will need to check and find out the humidity level in your home. The dry air at home can dry out and hurt the eyes, dry out the skin, and dry out the nasal mucosa, mouth, as well as affect the quality of sleep. When the air in your home is too dry, you and your children are much more susceptible to catching a cold or the flu. The moisture will less likely evaporate from your skin, because using a humidifier helps counteract the drying air.

Drink more water.

The youngest members of the family are extremely sensitive to changes in temperature. Remind your children to drink more water. Drinking water every day is a habit that is extremely important for the little ones. Parents often forget that the child’s skin condition is determined not only by the external factors, but also by a sufficient amount of fluids in the body. Drinking water in winter is especially important as it helps the skin retain its natural moisture.


Austin, A. (2020, February 6). Here’s why you need to go soap-free this winter. Sensitive Skin Care Solutions Recommended by Dermatologists.

Eczema Moisturizers & Skin Care. (n.d.). National Eczema Association. Retrieved October 29, 2020, from

How Do I Protect Myself from Ultraviolet (UV) Rays? (2018). Cancer.Org; American Cancer Society.

Stockhausen, A.L. (n.d.). Avoiding dry winter skin in babies and toddlers.


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