Your toddler has cracked flaky skin and chapped lips. His itchy skin has him scratching incessantly and he may be surprised and scared to see his skin peel off. Or, he may feel irritation or a burning sensation, if red or flaky patches develop on his skin. His chapped lips may also bleed and the tightness of the dry skin can cause him great distress and discomfort. Of course, you’re worried. However, dry skin in children is quite common and can be tackled using simple home remedies.
What causes dry skin?
With their sensitive skin, toddlers are no strangers to dry skin symptoms. Cold weather, indoor heating or air-conditioning and the dry air outside makes the baby's skin loose moisture and this can cause dry skin. The blazing summer sun and chlorinated pool water may also cause skin problems in children.
You may use lotions and moisturisers prescribed by a dermatologist, if your child’s dry skin rashes and irritation are too bad. However, there are also some home remedies that will lubricate her skin and ease the discomfort.
Here is a look at five useful home remedies for dry skin in toddlers:
- Natural oils: One of the best home remedies for dry skin is the application of various natural oils. Coconut oil, due to its easy availability, can be used often on your child’s skin without any harmful side effects. It keeps the skin soft, moisturises it and helps it retain moisture. It also gives an added glow to the skin. You can apply the oil a few hours before giving your toddler a bath or apply a little wherever the skin is dry. Almond oil is rich in Vitamin E and helps to nourish as well moisturise the skin. Similarly, you can apply avocado oil or mashed avocado on the skin and rinse it off after a few minutes.
- Aloe vera: It is not at all difficult to grow an aloe vera plant at home. The gel extracted from its leaves is one of the best remedies for a number of ailments and is great for dry skin. Aloe vera has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, and though there are many ready-made aloe vera gel products in the market, it is always best to apply the gel fresh off the plant. Apply the gel once a day on your child’s skin, keep it on for a few minutes and then wash it off.
- Breast milk or cow’s milk: If you are breastfeeding your child, then breast milk is the best and possibly the safest remedy for dry skin. Apply the milk on the dry areas of your toddler's skin when you are feeding your child. If your child is older, then cow or buffalo milk can also be applied. Take a towel dipped in milk and gently apply it over the dry areas for a few minutes till they are covered in milk. Rinse or wipe off with a wet towel afterwards.
Trying to feed a baby with a bad cold could pose quite a challenge. So, what does one do in such a situation? Here are some foods that can make your little one feel better.
- Oats: It is a wonderful home remedy for your child’s dry skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is also a cleansing agent, which helps remove dead skin cells. To use oats on the skin, first grind it to a fine powder and add about 2 teaspoons of it to your child’s bath water. You can also add coconut oil or any other natural oil to the water for more effective results. Allow the water to stand for about 15 minutes before bathing your child in it. You can also put the whole oats in a muslin cloth and allow it soak in the water bucket for 15 to 20 minutes before using it on your child. However, be careful since oats can make the water slippery.
- Water: Is the ultimate remedy for dry skin. Ensure that your child drinks a lot of water to keep himself hydrated. Keep a bottle filled with water within easy reach and also keep a check on his water intake, especially when he is out playing in the hot sun. Bathing, on the other hand, generally leaves the skin dry because it washes off the natural oils. So, try and limit baths to 10 minutes and use mild soaps on your child’s skin to avoid aggravating the irritation or rashes.
Other home remedies for dry skin include the application of honey, ghee and virgin olive oil. Simple tricks such as getting your child to bathe in tap water after a swim in the pool and making her wear gloves and socks in cold weather can also help in treating dry skin. Using these remedies will, to a large extent, solve your toddler’s dry skin problem.
Avoid using over-the-counter moisturisers on your child’s delicate skin. If the symptoms worsen or refuse to subside, it is best to consult a dermatologist.
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