Winter Maladies: Sensitive, Dry, Itchy Skin and Rashes

| January 2, 2013 | 51 Comments

Girl holding her earMost of the country is in the midst of heating season, and with the dry heat coming from fireplaces, radiators and space heaters comes dry skin. It’s a discomfort of the season that many of us have simply learned to deal with, but if you have a child who has sensitive skin or sensory issues to begin with, the increased dryness can cause a whole host of problems, from itchiness, to eczema, to infections from scratching. If you or your child has been suffering with dry, itchy, uncomfortable skin, here’s what you need to know to get it under control:

  • You can try to prevent dry skin by slathering your child with a cream or moisturizing ointment after his bath. Take him out and pat him with a towel, but leave his skin damp, then rub it on. This will help to seal in some of the moisture. Read the ingredients to make sure that there’s no alcohol in the cream; if there is, it will burn and sting when you put it on skin that’s already irritated. Also, ointments and creams are better than lotions.
  • Reapply cream two or three times per day, particularly on your child’s hands, feet, elbows and other areas that are already dry.
  • Consider running a humidifier in your child’s bedroom to make the air less dry. Make sure it’s the cool mist type to prevent burns, and follow the directions carefully when it comes to cleaning it, as humidifiers can build up mold if they’re not kept clean.
  • Dress your child in soft cotton clothing, especially in the layers right next to her skin. Synthetic fabrics and wool can be itchy and scratchy against rough, dry skin.
  • If your baby is itchy, keep his nails clipped short and put socks or mittens on his hands when he sleeps. This will help avoid damage to his skin from scratching.
  • Protect your child’s skin from the winter weather elements. Tuck her shirt into her pants to avoid letting wind get to her back and tummy. Also, make sure she’s wearing a scarf to protect her sensitive facial skin, and tuck pant legs into her socks inside of her boots.
  • Talk to your child’s pediatrician about using a hydrocortisone cream on red, itchy spots. These can help soothe the itch.

If your child is really red, itchy or has raw skin from scratching, take her to see the pediatrician. Some kids also develop eczema, which can be exacerbated by dry air. If the itchy spots are raised, rough and weeping a clear or yellowish liquid, see the pediatrician or a pediatric dermatologist. Also, if your child scratches and the area looks weepy or really red, take him in to be seen, as it could be infected.

Winter weather can wreak havoc on everyone’s skin, but it’s especially uncomfortable for little ones. Taking a few steps to protect your child’s skin from dryness and eczema can keep everyone in the household happier!

Do you have any great tips for making winter more comfortable for those with dry skin?

Comments (51)

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  1. Jennie Hawkins says:

    I have a very hard time with my skin in the Winter time. It does not help that I have Psoriasis. The last two days I have developed a rash it started on the outside of my wrist and inside of my ankles. Well now it has moved up to my elbows and on the top of my feet. This worst is it ITCHES!!!!!! I have tried everything to calm it down. So far only alcohal has given a little relief on my arms. If you have any suggestions Please let me know. Thanks for your article.

  2. Maria Delgado says:

    My husbands really struggles with dry skin issues. It’s bad. 🙁 Poor guy.

  3. Rosie says:

    these are good suggestions – I notice u included a humidifer – which many ppl do not think of. As a real estate agent, some home inspectors and newer furnaces have or recommend a humidifier for the sake of the wood in the home!

  4. Ashima Gupta says:

    Thanks for sharing all these tips with us 🙂

  5. Noor Unnahar says:

    Great tips 🙂 I use vaseline all the time 🙂

  6. Adriana G says:

    I got Rhino-Skin on my legs and arms – itchy also. Tried many lotions… but I always go back to applying Coconut oil after my shower. It is starting to work.

  7. Anne Ayers says:

    Thanks for all the good tips 🙂

  8. tammy saylor says:

    My skin is so bad in the winter.

  9. Jennifer Kreisler says:

    My kiddo keeps getting chapped skin on his face. It looks aweful. But if I put vasceline or the Aquaphor type on it, then it cools down so quickly. It also protects if we know we are going outside.

  10. juli guthrie says:

    Great tips! I am suffering from this greatly this year.

  11. Megan says:

    The older I get, the drier I get in the winter – it wasn’t as bad when I was younger, so I feel for kids that already suffer that much now – I can only imagine what it will be like for them in 30 years!

  12. Julie Wood says:

    This is so true about Winter maladies because I have them. My skin is so dry! I am putting on heavy dry skin cream right after getting out to the shower so my skin does not have severe dry skin! It is so terrible! And we can get dry skin in the most unexpected places!

  13. Gloria Walshver says:

    I have dry skin it doesn’t really affect me and I don’t really do anything for it.

  14. Wendy Mastin says:

    thanks for all the ways to help with dry skin. Happens every winter.

  15. Jennifer Johansen says:

    We’ve been using CJ’s Butter on our kids. It’s technically a diaper cream, but it’s great for eczema, and safe to use all over.

  16. Christina M Kelbel says:

    great tips! I get dry skin this time of year real bad.

  17. Too funny I was just scratching behind my ear before I clicked on this. My back is super itchy since I can’t reach it to put lotion on. Lotion seems to work for most of the day.

  18. Richard Hicks says:

    I have dry skin year round but winter it is brutal. Use lotion at least twice a day

  19. Ben says:

    i hate when i have dry cracking skin happens on my feet in the winter.

  20. I have read and tried many things about dry skin. I have really bad heels. I know this post is about children, but what I have read can pertain to anyone. 1st – skin can only absorb so much lotion at a time so don’t keep on caking it on. 2nd – cover the affected area after lotion applied. ie, put on socks. This will allow for maximum absorption of the lotion. As you said too, know what is in your lotion. Many scented lotions contain alcohol or essential oils that cause allergic reactions. I personally only use cocoa butter.

  21. Lanie says:

    Thanks for sharing this. My skin gets really dry and itchy in the winter especially at night time. Its a pain when I am trying to sleep! These are great tips for the whole family.

  22. Jenn says:

    My daughter and I suffer from excema in the winter

  23. Brandon Ruiz says:

    Recently since returning from university, I’ve noticed that my skin on my upper back was slightly dry and was starting to itch. I tried everything, and it wasn’t until I remember about my family’s history of excema and the skin disease saratosispylaris, that I realized how dangerous and sensitive our skin really is!

  24. Brittney jones says:

    Great product

  25. deena vanbergen says:

    I have extremely dry skin, both winter and summer, thanks for the tips.

  26. Andrea Brown says:

    Thanks for the great tips. Im always looking for new things to try for our dry skin.

  27. Cindy Merrill says:

    I have to keep an eye on my macho hubby-he thinks skin lotions are for the ladies. He gets dry chapped skin on his hands alot in the winter.

  28. Amber says:

    Great Tips and Ideas!

  29. Wendy O. says:

    Thanks for the tips! Winter is so tough on skin. And my psoriasis just makes everything 10 times worse.


  31. Sandy McFadden says:

    Thank you for all the useful tips I put lotion on or baby oil in a sprayer as soon as I get out of the shower seems to work for my skin.

  32. nichole says:

    My daughter and I both suffer from chronic dry skin, ugh.


    wow this is really helpful thank you!

  34. Beth says:

    Thanks for sharing these useful tips!

  35. Wendy T says:

    I like coconut oil the best for myself.

  36. jenny says:

    great info

  37. June says:

    I use cocoa butter in the winter months, really helps with the dry skin.

  38. Katrina says:

    Thank you for the info. Esp the info about what to do for kids.

  39. Rama says:

    I use facial lotion & natural moisturizing body wash in the colder seasons, I also take warm but not hot showers & drink plenty fluids!!!
    another way to keep your skin naturally moisturize is to work up a sweat! Great Post & Tips

  40. latisha m. says:

    very informative, thanks

  41. denise smith says:

    i have problems with my skin to thanks for the tips

  42. Jo-Ann Brightman says:

    During the winter months my skin always suffers more. I try to apply moer cream and sopmetimes use a humdidifier. Thank you for all your tips.

  43. Constance King says:

    Thanks for the info! Very insightful and helpful!

  44. Stephanie from CT says:

    watch what soap you use, they can be very dryiong

  45. Huguette English says:

    My son who works on car has a hard time with the knuckle part of his hands. For me it’s my feet and lips that get the driest.

  46. Thank you for the great tips! Dry skin is not fun to deal with in the first place, but the winter makes it even worse.

  47. Jeanine says:

    I love Eucerin cream for winter skin. My whole family uses it!

  48. Clara says:

    great tips!

  49. tami s says:

    I use a humidifier all the time in the winter and it really does help with the dry skin and also keeps my sinuses from drying out

  50. Kathy Smith says:

    I have very dry skin in the winter, always moisturizing, my hands are the worst. Does anyone know of a good hand lotion? I have tried everything. Thanks

  51. Angie says:

    I like Nexcare Advanced Hand Cream.

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