With winter now well and truly upon us, along with the influx of coughs, colds and general ‘lurgies’, you may be noticing that the cold weather is having an effect on your little one’s skin. Rashy cheeks, chapped lips and general dryness can all be a reaction to the cold weather and central heating. So what can you do to care for that supersoft skin and protect it from the elements? We asked Childs Farm founder, Joanna Jensen for her advice….
The outer layer of our skin is called the Epidermis, which makes new skin cells and protects everything beneath the surface of the skin from dehydration, stress and infection. The very top part of the epidermis – stratum corneaum – is in turn coated with a fine acid film (acid mantle) that is the first line of defence against viruses and other foreign invaders.
Healthy skin cells are plump because they are full of water and butt up against each other. Fats and oils produced by the skin help trap this water, keeping body temperature constant and keeping good bacteria in and bad bacteria out.
The effects of Winter
The drop in ambient temperature come the winter months brings challenges to skin as we move in and out of cold external wind and air, to very dry heated areas. Actively keeping skin hydrated becomes a necessity to prevent dry, flaky skin, or irritation from eczema. Moisturisation of all skin areas – even forgotten feet – is important to ensure that skin cells remain hydrated and plump keeping irritation out.
Battling the brrrrr!
- Apply a moisturizer all over yours and your little ones face, body and hands once or twice a day to keep skin in good order. Apply more to face and hands before going outside; red cheeks don’t only mean it’s cold, but that skin is getting dehydrated.
- Skin on hands is thinner than on other parts of your body, so be sure to have a good quality moisturiser in the office, play room, kitchen and loo. Reapply often, especially after getting hands wet. Teach little ones to do this – by teaching them young will mean this will become habit throughout their lives.
- For particularly sensitive skin, invest in a dehumidifier for the bedroom, which will add moisture to the air and bring irritation levels down at night, when rooms typically get a lot cooler.
- Hot baths are very dehydrating for skin, so keep them warm but not hot, and keep it short! Use a moisturizing bubble bath, and apply a moisturiser to skin within 5 minutes of getting out.
- Lips are very prone to dryness, so make sure they are well maintained too. We are big fans of Lanolips, but some eczema prone skin can be irritated by Lanolin, so, as with every new product used, patch test before use to check suitability.
- The scalp can be very prone to dryness at this time of year, so use a shampoo which is suitable for sensitive skin.
- Hair is also prone to static, so condition well each time that you wash hair, and use a detangling spray – which is the ultimate in conditioners – on static hair and tangles between washes. Minimise blow drying hair as this removes moisture from the scalp. A great alternative is the CuddleTwist by Cuddledry, a hair towel for kids. Great one for popping on when straight out of the bath.
- Nails are more prone to cracking and splitting, so keep them short.
- When it’s cold or windy, pop an SPF on little ones faces before they go outside.
- Be aware that little ones need to drink more water than you think in the cold, although this won’t prevent them from getting dry skin. Try warm herbal teas as an alternative to water.
- Give skin and health a natural boost by:
- Increasing Vitamin C intake which helps boost the production of Collagen.
- Keep up the intake of Omega -3 Fatty Acids, through walnuts, oily fish, avocado and olive oil.
- Whole grains are packed with selenium which gives our skin its elasticity.
- D-Lux do a Vitamin D spray for kids. Vitamin D is principally drawn from sunlight which we miss in the winter months
What products will help?
When selecting products to use on young skin always go for dermatological and pediatrician approved ranges: this means a skin doctor and a children’s doctor have reviewed the products through a clinical review.
Clinical claims – meaning independent clinical trials of the products on subjects prone to the skin conditions made in the claims – allow the products to make claims on their labels to say they are suitable for newborn, sensitive or eczema prone skin.
Avoid mineral oils (petrochemical derivatives), SLSs, parabens or artificial colours in the products. Ingredients should be as natural as possible. Products will always include preservatives; once opened a product will be susceptible to air born bacteria so preservatives ensure that they can’t thrive in to your tube of nappy cream.
If any product, and this includes nappies, cause irritation on babies skin, stop their use immediately.