Dry skin in babies and toddlers: how to keep children’s skin happy and healthy
Coping with skin that can be itchy, red and sore isn't the preserve of adults: babies can also have dry skin that needs a little extra looking after.All of us, from tiny babies to centenarians, have our own unique skin type.
Maybe you have a tendency towards dry lips or itchy eyes, or maybe your hands get very dehydrated with daily washing: whatever its particular challenges, it is crucial to find the right products to look after your precious skin. And nothing is more precious than the delicate skin of a baby.
Many babies develop patches of very dry skin that can look concerning to parents; it’s common to find flaky, reddened areas behind the knees, on the arms or on the face, particularly if the baby is teething and dribbling constantly. Dry skin in itself isn’t a medical condition and so shouldn’t necessarily need treating with medicinal products; it does need looking after though and daily moisturising with a gentle, natural, perfume-free moisturiser can go a long way to keeping severe dry skin in babies and children at bay. The trick is to never let the skin dry out so if your child is prone to dry, red or sore skin, apply moisturiser several times throughout the day and consider using a thicker natural ointment overnight for extra deep, nourishing treatment.
A good tip is to apply a natural plant or seed oil after bathing because despite what you might think baths can be very drying, especially for babies who might already have sensitive skin. Applying a good quality baby oil - like our lovely Chamomile Baby Oil - as soon as they come out of the bath can lock moisture in rather than dry skin out.
Avoid baby products that have a high content of synthetic chemicals and perfumes. Synthetic baby washes and shampoos in particular have now been proven to trigger eczema in babies and should be avoided if your child already has skin issues. Don’t be fooled by “contains natural ingredients” on the label; this can mean that only a tiny percentage of what’s actually in there is “natural” and the rest is filler. Read the listed ingredients carefully and make sure you know what each one is. Buying baby products from a health shop tends to be a safe bet as most health shops are keen to stock pure and natural products rather than those derived from petrochemicals.
Be aware of allergies in food and environment that can lead to dry skin. More on allergies here. Get your child allergy tested if you are struggling to identify specific triggers.
Lastly, diet and nutrition are so important for maintaining healthy skin. Many people who suffer with very dry skin lack essential fatty acids in their system. Make sure your child is getting enough of these in their diet by eating things like oily fish and hemp seeds. If you are breast feeding make sure you are eating enough of these things too so your baby is getting the benefit through your milk.