Not too many layers
While we need to keep our babies warm during the winter months, it’s important that they not get too hot. Heat and sweat can aggravate soft skin, and can even lead to a case of heat rash. As a rule of thumb, babies should wear one more layer than you are wearing. When in doubt, put your hand under their shirt on their back or chest to make sure they are not sweating.
Avoid hot baths
While it’s tempting to pop a cold little one into a nice, hot bath, it’s not great for their skin. Instead, make water temperatures warm. It’s also important that babies do not sit in the tub for long periods of time as sitting in water can dry your baby’s skin out. Keep baths short – ideally less than 5 minutes and stick to an irritant-free hair and body cleanser.
The cold, dry air of wintertime can really do a number on delicate baby skin. Moisturizing can be the difference maker. The best time to apply a moisturizer is right after a bath. After they get out pat them dry – don’t rub – and immediately slather on a thick cream or ointment. Our own Baby Butter is a staff favorite. Try not to use a lotion as they are composed mostly of water and don’t moisturize as well. Be sure to avoid fragrance in baby products as it is one of the leading causes of contact allergies. If you want your baby to have that oh-so-sweet-just-after-bath smell, look for products with essential oils such as lavender. If your baby has any dryness, you can continue to moisturize in the morning and throughout the day.
Tackle eczema head on
Even babies that typically don’t deal with eczema may find that the cold, dry winter months can bring it on. Eczema typically impacts babies on their cheeks, the outer parts of their arms and legs, and their trunk. When you first spot a red rash in those areas, continue with short bath times and non-irritating hair and body wash, but switch to using an ointment after bath. Ointments have the highest composition of oil in them so they provide the most hydration. When looking for an ointment, check the packaging for the National Eczema Association seal, which will let you know that it has been tested to be irritant-free and hypoallergenic. Baby Pibu Hydrating Ointment is a good one to try. You can also use an over-the-counter cortisone cream to relieve any discomfort. Just be sure to use only a pea-size amount for 1-3 days. If you don’t see improvement during that time, talk with your pediatrician or dermatologist.
Protect little cheeks and lips
Winter is prime time for irritation around the lips and chin with drooling and runny noses. Keep this area protected with an ointment like Baby Pibu Hydrating Ointment or even Vaseline. As far as little lips go, you can use the same protection that you use on yourself. Chapstick, Vaseline or another ointment will help to keep them soft.
Use sun protection
Just because it’s not warm and sunny doesn’t mean we don’t need sun protection. Look for chemical-free sunscreens that use non-micronized zinc oxide or titanium oxide as their active ingredients. They provide a physical barrier to the sun and are less irritating to little ones. You can tell that a sunscreen uses non-micronized particles if it leaves a slight whitish film on the skin after application. Try our own Baby Sunscreen SPF 30+ for a nice, daily use sunscreen.
Add a humidifier
When it’s cold and you’re heating your house the air can drop to less than 5% humidity. This dryness pulls the moisture right out of skin. Keeping the humidity to 20-30% is ideal for skin. While both warm and cold humidifiers can be beneficial for hydrating the skin and for breathing, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only using cool humidifiers since warm ones can present a scalding hazard.
Call in the reinforcements
Sometimes it’s hard to know when you need help. In general, if what you’re doing doesn’t improve your baby’s skin condition over the course of two to three days, or if your baby seems bothered by the skin condition due to itching or pain, or if they have a fever, see your pediatrician or dermatologist.
By implementing our top tips, you can keep that luscious baby skin soft and healthy all winter long.