Treatments for Dry Skin in Children
Dry skin is a common problem that often occurs during the winter season. Because of the low humidity, the skin loses water, causing dry, cracked skin. There is no long-term cure for dry skin, but there are some things you can do to relieve the dryness.
Use lukewarm water - avoid hot or cold water.
Do not vigorously scrub with a washcloth, sponge, or brush. The best soaps to use are:
Bar Soaps: Unscented Dove®, Cetaphil®, Oilatum®, Vanicream®
Liquid Soaps: Cetaphil® or Aquanil®
Reduce bathing time to 5-10 minutes, and apply a moisturizer within the first 3-5 minutes after bathing.
Do not use bubble bath. Apply moisturizing creams or ointments as soon as you finish your shower or bath, and apply the cream or ointment while skin is still damp. This helps seal in the moisture and prevents evaporation of the water. It isn’t as helpful to apply creams or ointments to dry skin.
2. Moisturizers to use
Lotions: Cetaphil®, Eucerin®, Nutraderm®, Lubriderm®, Moisturel®, Aveeno®
Creams: Eucerin®, Cetaphil®, Cerave®, Aveeno®, Vanicream®
Ointments: Aquaphor®, Vaseline®
Prescribed creams or ointments should be applied to areas of rash only. Moisturizers are applied to the whole body. If applied at the same time as prescribed ointments or creams, always apply the prescribed medicine first. In most cases, creams and ointments work better than lotion.
3. Do not use colognes, perfumes, sprays, powders, etc. on your skin or your child’s skin.
4. Use unscented laundry products such as Cheer-Free®, All®, Dreft®, Trend®, or Purex®. Double rinse clothes if you can after washing them. Avoid fabric softener.
5. Do not wear tight or rough clothing. Wool clothes and new clothes can be irritating.
6. For extreme dryness, a humidifier or vaporizer may help. Remember to keep it clean or mold may build up.
7. For cracked skin, apply Polysporin® or Bacitracin® Ointment at least two times a day until healed.
UW Dermatology Department
1 S. Park St 7th Floor
Madison, WI 53715
Clinic: 608 287-2450
American Family Children’s Hospital
Pediatric Dermatology Specialty Clinic
1675 Highland Ave.
Madison, WI 53792
Clinic: 608 263-6420
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 02/13/2013
Copyright © 02/13/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6459
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