Introduction: Dry Skin on Your Baby: What does it mean?
Similar to adults, your baby can develop very dry skin, depending on the conditions around where you live. Your baby’s skin is super sensitive and soft and sweet too. But actually, this delicateness puts it at risk of dryness, especially in cold or extreme weather. But dry skin isn’t something that should worry you. With the right information, you can keep your baby’s skin moisturized and also know when there is a more serious skin condition, like eczema, at play.
What is the cause of dry skin in your baby?
In adults, it is normal to experience dry, ashy and perhaps crocodilian skin from time to time. It is also the case with babies. The trick is that the conditions and circumstances that cause dry skin in adults also cause dry skin in babies.
People who are expose to harsh temperatures like cold weather and dry air could experience dry skin. It is usually the case during the winter periods. Dry skin results from the harsh weather conditions sapping your skin off some of the essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
If you are the type who spends long hours soaked in hot baths, as enjoyable as it may seem, you could experience the same effects of dry skin. If these hot baths are for babies, they could experience the same dryness of the skin. Their skin is delicate and thin, so, of course, it makes sense that they are more prone to such effects.
What does dry skin look like on your baby?
You will notice that your baby’s skin is rough, ashy or flaky. There may also appear cracks and fine lines all over its skin which is the clearest indication that your baby has developed dry skin and needs a little more moisture. Dry patches will likely appear on your baby’s hands, lips, face and feet. But you could also notice irritation and constant scratching as the skin gets itchier.
Can one differentiate between dry skin and other skin conditions like eczema?
Yes, you can. Eczema is an inflammation of the skin characterized by itchiness. Some babies will experience it in the early months of their lives. Generally, it carries symptoms that are very similar to dry skin, but there are still some ways you can find the difference:
– Distinct appearance: the patches that break out as a result of eczema are usually more distinct. You will notice an inflammation that is usually reddish or pinkish in children of lighter skin. With children that have darker skin pigmentation, this inflammation will likely be red-brownish, greyish or purplish.
Meanwhile, with dry skin, your baby’s skin will merely appear dry or scaly with occasional bouts of itchiness.
In eczema, too, your baby’s skin could also develop tiny pimples and that burst when scratched.
– Location: your baby’s face, hands, feet, and lips are common locations for both eczema and dry skin to appear. But, the difference with eczema is that it would sometimes pick unusual spots on the baby’s body to appear like behind the knees, or on the scalp, or even in patches of skin behind their ears and their elbows.
– Inflammation triggers: Generally, both eczema and dry skin could get worse when the weather is unusually dry or cold or when you spend long hours in warm baths. But eczema would sometimes cause inflammation in other conditions, like when your baby’s skin comes in contact with milk or dust or even saliva.
Other situations are where it comes in contact with detergents or itchy fabrics. What you should note, however, is that every baby experiences eczema differently.
How can you treat dry skin in your baby?
Avoid using ointments or moisturizers with a lot of fragrance as they are more likely to irritate your baby’s skin and cause dry skin.
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Hydrate: your baby needs the fluids, not just for its general physical and mental development but also for the sake of its skin and to avoid a case of dry skin. For babies below six months, this should exclusively be breast milk with no other foods or liquids. From six months, you can then consider adding water to its diet – in line with the medical advice of your paediatrician.
Look out for the air in your home: your baby is at more risk of developing dry skin if you keep them stuffed in hot air. Preferably, keep the air around 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cover them in the winter: cold, dry air will likely irritate your baby’s skin and cause dryness. Get some good winter clothing for your baby, especially if you intend to take them outdoors in the winter season.
Check your detergent: some detergents are more friendly to the sensitive skin of babies. When getting your detergents, watch out for those.
Saliva and runny nose: this is another aggravator of dry skin. You have to be on the watch to make sure your baby is not keeping lots of snot and drool and immediately wipe them away.
When should you see your doctor about a case of Baby dry skin?
Chances are some or all of the above remedies will be effective in overcoming a case of dry skin in your baby. But, where it doesn’t go away, or you notice that the dry patches are beginning to spread through the skin, or the skin is cracking, and it appears your baby is in pain due to itchiness, then consulting a pediatrician is a wise idea. They will most likely give recommendations of lotions, shampoos, or soaps that will help your baby.
A lot of satisfaction will come from seeing your baby with healthy skin and watching out for dry skin is one way.
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