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Family bundled up outdoors during the winter.

Winter Skin Care Tips for Children

By Dr. Lea Thomas, Newport News Pediatrics

With winter’s colder temperatures, it’s pretty common for some children to complain that their skin feels itchy. That’s because chilly winter air does not hold much moisture.

Help your child avoid having dry, itchy skin with these health tips:

  • Make sure your child is drinking enough water every day to stay hydrated.
  • Keep your child’s skin moisturized. Use a moisturizer that doesn’t contain alcohol, fragrances, dyes, and other skin-irritating chemicals.
  • Use lukewarm water to bathe your child. Avoid long, hot baths. Apply lubricating ointments after bathing to help trap moisture in the skin.
  • If your child has a rash, encourage them not to scratch. Keep their fingernails trimmed.

If your child has a rash that doesn’t improve, make sure to ask your pediatrician for advice. Some children have eczema, a condition that makes the skin extremely itchy and can flare up in the winter when the air is dry. Scratching can lead to redness, blisters, and skin crusting.

Parents can also help prevent skin problems in the winter by making sure their child is dressed appropriately, whether they’re outside waiting for the school bus or playing with their friends in the yard. This is particularly important in extremely cold weather. Certain parts of the body are more susceptible to frostbite, which is when skin and the tissues underneath begin to freeze. Make sure your child has clothing to cover their nose, ears, toes, cheeks, chin, and fingers.

Always seek medical attention if you suspect your child has frostbite. The initial symptom of frostbite in any skin area may be redness or pain. Skin may be numb. It could also feel firm or waxy. And it may have a white or grayish-yellow appearance.

Children who have frostbite may not be able to feel their skin. You can help keep them prevent further injury with the following tips:

  • Bring them into a warm room and remove any wet clothing.
  • Use layers of blankets and clothing to help warm their body.
  • Place any affected skin areas in water that feels warm (not hot) to the touch.
  • Do not let your child walk on feet or toes that may have frostbite.
  • Never use a fireplace, heat lamp, radiator, or stove to warm your child’s skin. Heating pads or electric blankets should not be used for warming either.
  • Never rub or massage areas of the skin that may have frostbite.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.