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Dermatology Spotlight - Protecting delicate skin in the winter months

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

During winter the skin is particularly susceptible to the cold weather and the dry air. This can result in the skin showing signs of dryness, which in turn leads to the skin feeling uncomfortable and itchy.

Here are some tips to protecting children’s skin during the winter months:

  • When out and about breathable layers are best. Wear a hat and gloves in very cold weather

  • Keep room temperature about 20-22 °C and humidity above 30%

  • There are no problems with daily baths, they just need to be short lasting no longer than 10 minutes, using lukewarm water rather than hot water. Pat the skin dry with a soft cotton towel rather than rub

  • Use a gentle cleanser. If there is a history of eczema in the family a soap free cleanser is best. Avoid fragrances

  • Use a moisturiser, sometimes this requires trial and error as everyone responds differently. A cream or ointment is best and avoid fragrances and allergens. A barrier applied to face and lips can also be helpful in windy cold weather

  • Don’t forget sunscreen during the winter especially at high altitudes.

  • Consider Vitamin D supplementation in the winter months

  • Use detergent for sensitive skin and consider an extra rinse. If there is a history of eczema avoid using fabric conditioners

  • Avoid frequent use of baby wipes especially if scented

  • Keep children well hydrated

  • If the child has eczema the skin may well flare up so be prepared to use prescribed skin treatments

Consider visiting your doctor if the skin is persistently dry, itchy or inflamed.

Contributed by: Dr Bisola Laguda, Consultant Paediatric Dermatologist, The Portland Hospital

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