What does a new mom need to know about baby skincare treatments for cold-weather climates?
While spring has officially arrived, some parts of the country are still experiencing the final blasts of cold weather, so here are some tips for new moms to bear in mind for keeping baby's skin smooth and soft.
Your baby's skin is affected by the cold weather much like our adult skin is. When the air is dry inside and cold outside, the combined conditions can affect your baby's skin with redness, irritation, chapping and even eczema. Many of these tips will be helpful when you are grooming your baby every day.
First, do not have your baby or toddler spend too much time in bathwater: Skin tends to get drier the longer it is in the water. No more than 10 minutes is the general rule. Pat his skin dry (don't rub) with a clean towel. Try to avoid using soap if you can; it is very drying to the skin, as are shampoos that contain fragrances or alcohol.
Not all babies or toddlers need to be moisturized. Even though babies, like adults, need to be protected against cold weather, they can develop different degrees of skin dryness and have different skin sensitivities. While most babies do not need to be moisturized, if yours does, look for moisturizers that are thicker, like creams or ointments. Vaseline is popular and acceptable if moisturizing is needed. Avoid products that contain spices. They may be very natural, but they may not be very good for your baby's skin. Don't forget to moisturize the diaper area to avoid irritation. And don't forget the sunscreen. (Yes, even in cold-weather climates, your little one still needs protection from UV rays.) An SPF of 30 or higher is best.
Cold weather sometimes means runny noses. Vaseline is a great solution to help keep the sensitive nose area moisturized. Apply a few times a day under the nose. Whenever possible, be sure to use a tissue made with a moisturizing lotion. Drooling little mouths and runny noses sometimes mean dry, chapped lips, so be sure to apply some lip balm; even a layer of petroleum jelly will do the trick.
Dressing your baby or toddler in layers for outdoors is very important. Babies that are too bundled up tend to overheat, causing irritated skin, heat rash and a breakout of itchy little red bumps. Breathable fabrics such as cotton are best for layering. If your baby does end up with a rash, an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream may help to soothe and relieve the discomfort, but it's always best to check with your pediatrician.
Lastly, don't forget to consider coats, hats and mittens, depending on how brisk and chilly the climate is. Any part of the skin that is exposed to cold weather can become dry, chapped or irritated. If you notice any scabs on dry skin, raw and chafed areas of skin that seem broken down or the beginning signs of an infection, call your pediatrician. You may need a prescription for an oral treatment or a topical ointment to heal and soothe the sensitive areas.