Wipe out dryness: The combination of colder outdoor temperatures and dry indoor heat makes dry skin (and the annoying itching it causes) almost inevitable.
- Try a gentle soap: Most soaps, especially deodorant ones, are drying. (If you cannot find a moisturizing soap, try keeping a container of moisturizing lotion by the sink to rub on after handwashing.)
- Be liberal with lotion: After bathing, slather on the moisturizer. Make sure you hit the most common trouble spots: the face, flanks, stomach and backs of knees.
- Pick snug PJs: Loose-fitting pajamas can actually cause more rubbing and irritation to the skin than snug ones.
- Select soft clothes: Coarse fabrics like wool, polyester, or denim can irritate skin.
- Change your laundry routine: Use a mild detergent or double-rinse children’s clothes if detergent residue seems to be irritating skin.
- Apply oil after a bath: Instead of adding it to bathwater, rub bath oil (or some vegetable oil) afterwards to keep moisture next to skin. Don’t use baby oil
- that just sits on the skin.
- If your child has extremely red and itchy patches that look thicker than nearby skin, he may have eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis).
Handle hangnails: If your child’s hands are dry, chances are he’ll have hangnails just begging to be chewed on or torn off.
- Keep hands clean: Washing hands regularly reduces the risk of infection.
- Lubricate the cuticles: Teach your child to rub a dab of moisturizer into his cuticles after handwashing.
- Nip it the right way: That is, close to the skin using a nail clipper. Rinse the clipper first with alcohol. Infection in this area can easily spread to the skin under the nail and cause a more complex problem.
Beat chapped lips: Dry, flaky lips aren’t just annoying; in some cases, they can lead to cold sores.
- Wet that kisser: Lip balms or even petroleum jelly treat and prevent chapped lips. But skip the flavored lip balms; the more delicious the flavor, the more a child will be tempted to lick it off, causing even more drying and chapping.
- Soothe before sleep: If your child drools in her sleep, protect her lips and the skin around her mouth with petroleum jelly.
Conquer cold sores: Once a kid has been exposed to the herpes virus, cold sores may recur.
- Block that blast: On windy days, have your child wear a ski mask, or cover his mouth with a scarf.
- Shade from the sun: Even in winter, sunlight can trigger an outbreak. Have your child wear a lip balm that contains a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 percent.
- Try tannic: Over-the-counter drops containing tannic acid (such as Zilactin-L) can, if applied soon enough, reduce the size of a cold sore.
- Bandage it up: If your child scratches the sore then touches his eye, he could get a herpes infection of the eye, a very serious situation.