Winter is coming and so is dry skin! Yep, don’t we all love winters but hate the loading of moisturizers. Here, at our house we prefer to use home remedies for dry skin over commercial chemical filled lotions.
Winter winds tend to make our skin dry. Being adults we are able to take care of it but for children it is a major problem. Some kids have dry skin even in summers too. Mostly it can be healed with moisturizers and oils but sometimes when it becomes rough and flaky. White patches on the skin and chapped lips can also cause itching.
If not taken care of it can become worse, you can see dry patches on the cheeks with little cracked squares on the skin. It looks awful and destroys that cute little face of your munchkin, doesn’t it? Generally taking a few precautions can help in dry skin, especially for newborns and babies below one year.
Tips to avoid dry skin in children in winters.
- Long showers tend to wash off the natural oil in the skin therefore limit your child’s shower time to 5 minutes max. Use warm water or lukewarm water as extremely hot water makes the skin dry.
- A lot of soap on the skin also creates problems. Avoid bathing daily in winters.
- Do not rub the child’s skin after shower, gently pat dry it and apply a natural moisturizer right after shower.
- If the child likes to swim make sure it is chlorine free water, as chlorine makes the skin dry and burn it.
- Buy cotton clothes for the baby, synthetic fibers irritate the skin and it develops rashes that itch.
- Use mild or natural detergents to wash the baby clothes. Harsh soap can cause itchy and dry skin.
- Change your baby’s cloth diaper every 3 to 4 hours to avoid rash and dry skin.
- Avoid using any kind of mosquito repellents on the baby’s skin. They are loaded with chemicals and harm the baby’s skin. The best way to keep your baby safe from mosquitoes is a mosquito net.
- Avoid shampooing your baby daily. Wash the head with lukewarm water.
Being a mother when you see your baby in pain or irritated the first instinct is to comfort the child as soon as possible, which leads to the parents running to the doctors every other day. There are tons of ways to comfort your child without using chemicals or antibiotics which are not permanent solutions.
Home remedies for dry skin in children
In India, traditionally it had been our second nature to adopt home remedies as the first aid for any health issue, but that has slowly changed. We need to go back to the basics, no? My child and I both suffer from extreme dry skin and I have tried many home remedies on both of us to be relieved. Hope they help you too.
#1. Natural bath oils
Oil is the best home remedy for dry skin. Lots of moms have this question that “What can I put in a bath for dry skin?” Well, mommies, the answer is pure cold pressed sunflower oil as it works wonders for dry skin. Add a spoon full of sunflower oil to the water. Make sure the water is lukewarm. Hot water feels good on the skin during winters but it dries the skin. Avoid using any kind of fragrant soaps on the child’s skin as they have chemicals that make the dry skin worse.
#2. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is easily available everywhere. They have anti fungal and antibacterial properties which treats your skin gently. You can plant one in your home or they are many products available in the market form of gels although I recommend using fresh aloe vera plant. Simply take a piece of the plant, peel it and squeeze its gel on your palm. Rub it gently on the affected area till it is absorbed into the skin. It has great moisturizing properties which will soothe the irritated skin of your baby.
#3. Virgin Olive oil
Virgin Olive oil or VCO is another oil which is great for you and your baby’s skin. Take a palm full of olive oil and rub it gently over the child’s body after shower to trap the moisture in.
#4. Coconut oil
Extra virgin coconut oil is not only good for cooking food but also serves as a great moisturizer. It moisturizes the skin without giving that greasy feel. You can use coconut oil in two ways. Apply it on the body right after bathing or apply a generous amount of it an hour before the bath and wash it off with water. It retains the moisture and makes the skin soft and supple. If you have ever asked the question “Which oil is best for baby dry skin?” then it is this – coconut oil!
#5. Almond oil
Almonds are good for your mind, body and skin. They are packed with Vitamin E and antioxidants that nourishes the skin. Make sure you use pure almond oil on the skin as the perfumed once have added ingredients in it which can cause discomfort.
Honey has been used for skin infections since decades all over the world. It helps heel those square patches on your baby’s soft cheeks. Let them lick it if they like, it tastes good.
Dry skin is usually an external skin problem but sometimes deficiency of vitamins also causes dry skin in babies. If your child is indulging lots of sugary treat, it may be a cause of dry and flaky skin. Avoid too much sugar and include vitamin rich food in your child’s daily diet. You will see the difference soon.
There is nothing better than water. Water reverses the dry skin symptom. Make sure your child is drinking ample amount of water. Keep them hydrated and watch their skin glow.
#9. Breast milk
You must notice how I mention breast milk in almost all of my posts. Breast milk is a gift from God. It is a natural way of keeping your child healthy including the dry skin issue. If you are breast feeding, apply it on your baby’s cheek as many times as you can. You will see a great difference soon.
Cow’s or buffalo’s milk have anti-inflammatory and provide a soothing effect to dry and itchy skin. Lactic acid present in milk helps to exfoliates dead skin cells. Milk also increases our skin’s ability to retain moisture and lighten complexion as well.
Use a small hand towel soaked in cold milk and put it on your dry skin for five to ten minutes. Once you feel the milk has dried then gently wash off the milk with another wet towel. You can do this every other day for your baby. Try to do this in the sunshine so that your baby doesn’t catch a cold. You can also try adding little bit of rosewater.
I did not believe my friend when she told me to use oats on the dry skin but she insisted and I decided to give it a try. To my amazement, it worked. Oats have an anti inflammatory property and it’s good for sensitive skin as well. It works as a cleaning agent as it removes the dead cells from the skin.
To use oats as a remedy for dry skin, grind it into powder and add 2 tsp on the powder in a bucket. You can try adding a spoon of olive oil or coconut oil as well for extra effect. Leave it for 20 minutes and then bathe your child with this water. It will leave the skin soft and supple.
#11. Desi Ghee
It’s my grandmother’s favorite. She loved to cover our faces with desi ghee right before bed. She even put some ghee in our navel saying it seeps in to our system and makes the skin glow. I have tried that on my baby’s face and lip and it does make it softer. There can be absolutely no side effects in using desi ghee so feel free and try it.
#12. Calendula soap
Calendula soap is an anti bacterial soap and it is good for a baby’s skin. Its best to not use soap every day but if you want, use calendula soap to avoid irritated and dry skin.
#13. Homemade lotion
You can try and make homemade lotions or moisturizers at home. Mixing honey, olive oil and aloe vera makes a great mixture for a hydrated skin. If you want to buy a good chemical and paraben free lotion for your baby as it will be more helpful than the chemical ones.
#14. Shea Butter
Shea butter is as revered by Africans as much as we Indians revere Ghee. The Shea tree is called the “Tree of Life” and the butter extracted from the nuts of the tree have many medicinal and practical uses.
I have been using Shea Butter for last 2 years for my son and I couldn’t be happier. Raw Shea Butter has a delicious aroma and is extremely moisturizing. In fact the smell is even more appealing than that of ghee. The only down side is that it is too moisturizing and sticky to be used as is.
You can mix shea butter with some aloe vera and it becomes an amazing body butter cum salve. Aloe Vera reduces it stickiness drastically and makes the shea butter change colour from yellow to white. You will not be able to tell the difference between a store bought body butter and a homemade one!
Using home remedies for dry skin in children is fairly easy and you can use simple steps to avoid them. However, if you see redness on the skin with cracks and there is a severe burning sensation. Get it checked with a doctor. It may be a serious skin infection which could need medical