Fragile, sensitive baby skin is much more vulnerable to cold temperatures and harsh weather. In fact, you might be surprised to see just how much your baby’s skin changes in winter. Don’t be alarmed, though. There are plenty of practical steps you can take at home to protect your baby’s skin during the winter months. Here are some things you can do to protect your infant — from using a lip balm to properly layering baby girl clothes.
Slather them in moisturizer.
Lotions and creams are your baby’s best friend during winter (and all seasons, to be honest). These products soothe their skin while providing a protective layer between them and the elements. Apply moisturizer right after every bath, while their skin is slightly damp, to lock in that hydration. You can re-apply moisturizer throughout the day or as needed. It’s a good idea to apply a layer both before and after taking your baby outside. Use a thicker cream or ointment to protect dry and irritated patches. Many parents like using petroleum-based products such as Vaseline for extremely dry skin.
Bathe them the smart way.
Speaking of bath time, water is actually very drying for our skin, and this is especially true for babies. Infants don’t need to be bathed every day – three times a week is usually plenty. Keep the water lukewarm, as hot water is more drying and irritating to the skin. You should also keep bathtime short, no longer than 10 minutes. As soon as they are done, pat them dry and slather them in moisturizer.
Don’t forget their lips.
Baby’s lips are prone to getting chapped, especially in the winter. Drool is very drying, as is snotty run-off from their noses. Furthermore, lips experience a lot of friction due to feeding and teething, chapping them even further. Applying a thick, fragrance-free lip balm throughout the day will create a physical barrier between these irritants and your baby’s lips. This lip balm will also prevent moisture loss that will exacerbate dryness. Look for a product that is specifically formulated for babies. Ones that contain petrolatum will offer the most protection.
Avoid certain skincare ingredients.
Certain skincare ingredients are known for being more irritating and drying, and this is especially true for babies’ sensitive skin. Some ingredients to avoid include fragrance, harsh soaps and detergents and deodorants.
This logic applies not just to your babies’ soaps and lotions, but also to laundry detergent and any other item that comes in contact with their skin. Instead, choose gentle, non-irritating products that will soothe and protect your baby’s skin instead of irritating it.
Consider getting a humidifier.
If you live in a very dry climate, then your skin likely contains more moisture than the environment, which means the air is constantly sucking water out of your skin. You can help mitigate this by getting humidifiers for your house, which help put moisture back into the air via a fine water mist. Look specifically for a cool mist humidifier, which is thought to reduce the possibility of the device harboring mold and bacteria due to the cooler temperatures.
Dress them correctly.
Under-dressing your child can expose them to elements and compromise their already dry skin, while over-dressing them can trap sweat and lead to skin irritation such as heat rash. To remedy this, dress your child in layers that can easily be added or removed, such as cute baby girl bodysuits and cute baby boy clothes. As a general rule, most babies don’t need more than one extra layer compared to adults, so if you’ve got them swaddled in a lot of layers, it might be time to take off some of their clothes.
Cover up against windburn and frostnip.
Exposed skin is vulnerable to both windburn and frostnip (the precursor to frostbite). Cover your baby up in the appropriate outerwear and keep time outside to a minimum to help prevent these conditions from developing. Windburn looks like dry, red, chapped patches and can usually be soothed with lotions and creams. Frostnip looks like ashen or whitish patches, but the skin will return to its normal color soon after being warmed with your hands, warm towels or a lukewarm bath. If these techniques don’t work, then take her to the hospital right away.
Don’t forget sun protection.
We mostly associate sun protection with summer, but it’s important to protect your baby’s skin all year round. This is especially true for places where it snows a lot. The snow reflects the sunlight and makes it even more intense. Limit your child’s time in the sun, especially during the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If they are older than six months, you can apply a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 to any exposed skin. If they are younger than six months, keep them out of the sun and use a UV cover on their stroller to create shade on the go.
Get a stroller shield.
Stroller shields aren’t just helpful for protecting your child from UV rays. They also block the wind and cold. If you must take your child outside often during the winter, and you live somewhere with harsh winters, then consider getting a stroller shield for your stroller. Remember that a clear shield will still let the sun through, potentially giving your child a sunburn, so it’s best to choose an opaque shield instead.
Follow these tips to keep your baby’s skin happy, healthy and hydrated even during the harsh winter months. Don’t be afraid to call your doctor if your baby’s skin condition does not improve with these at-home treatments. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your little one!