There are many factors that can affect your child’s skin, including weather, environment, allergies, skin conditions, and even certain medications. Dry skin is a very common condition that is more common in younger children than it is in older teens and adults. Keep reading to learn more about the causes and treatment of dry skin in children.
Causes of Dry Skin in Children
The most common causes of dry skin in children include:
- Eczema – Eczema is a very common skin condition that causes flare-ups of inflamed, scaly patches on the skin. It can occur in babies and children of all ages. Eczema most often presents in the folds of the skin, such as inside the elbows and the backs of the knees. It is also commonly seen on the face. Eczema patches can spread, become painful, bleed, and even get infected. Flare-ups can be managed by avoiding skin irritants and allergens, applying moisturizer regularly, and avoiding sweat/overheating.
- Environment – Cold weather and other environmental factors can lead to a higher prevalence of dry skin in children and adults alike. Wind, extreme heat, low humidity, and too much time indoors with a heater can also cause dry skin.
- Medications – Some medications can result in dry skin as a side effect. For example, if your teen is taking isotretinoin for acne.
Genetics can also play a role in whether your child suffers from eczema or other causes of dry skin.
Treatment of Dry Skin in Children
The most common way to treat most cases of dry skin in children is by using a lotion or moisturizing cream. Moisturizer works best when applied directly to your child’s skin immediately following a bath while their skin is still warm and damp.
Other ways to manage dry skin include avoiding long showers or baths, avoiding the use of soaps and fragrances which can dry out the skin, and using a humidifier indoors.
Ointments, creams, and skin barrier creams are more effective at hydrating the skin than lotion. Some of the best products for treating dry skin in children are those that contain ingredients such as petrolatum and glycerin. Some of the most popular and effective creams for kids with dry skin include Aquaphor, Cetaphil, and CeraVe. Eczema may require treatment with a topical corticosteroid ointment such as Hydrocortisone.
A dermatologist can help prescribe other treatment options if the steps above aren’t enough to help alleviate your child’s dry skin.
Dry skin, especially in the case of eczema, can even become infected and may require treatment with antibiotics. Watch for patches of dry skin that are extremely painful, red, inflamed, crusted, oozing, or yellow, as these may be signs of infection. Your child can even develop a fever from a skin infection.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s dry skin, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our friendly board-certified pediatricians in Arvada.