Babies have more delicate and sensitive skin than adults, a reason their skin needs to be well moisturised and cared for particularly during winter. These are the areas of concern to look out for:

Chapped lips. Dry lips are a common problem for babies, especially if they drool a lot. When their lips and the skin around their lips are constantly wet from drool, the top skin layer can start to become irritated. This makes this area more likely to crack.

Use a gentle lip balm made with safe ingredients for your baby. If you’re breastfeeding a newborn with cracked lips, you can try applying few drops of breast milk. Lanolin is also safe for a newborn baby.

Rosy red cheeks. Those lovely baby cheeks can easily get irritated when exposed to cold air, especially on a windy day. Moisturising before and after going outside can help. If you’re outside a lot, consider getting a plastic stroller cover. This will shelter your baby on really windy days.

Dry, itchy skin. Dry winter air can cause baby’s skin to lose moisture and dry out. Dry skin, in turn, can cause itchy patches all over their body. These patches may appear red, irritated, and flaky. If your baby already has dry skin or a skin condition like Atopic Eczema, you’ll want to take extra care to protect it in cold weather. Don’t hesitate to seek advice from a dermatologist as needed.

What products to use or avoid

With so many baby skin care products in the market, it’s understandable if you feel overwhelmed when trying to choose the right one. Here are some tips for picking products for baby.

Moisturisers: When looking for a moisturiser for your little one, avoid products made with perfumes or alcohol. These ingredients can be irritating or drying.

Lotions are good for everyday moisturising, if needed. Creams or ointments are thicker than lotions and can be helpful for very dry skin patches.

Bath products: To minimise the drying effect of bath time during winter, avoid soaps and other bath products that have: fragrances, detergents and deodorants.

It may also help to use a soap-free cleanser. These tend to be less drying than soap-based products.

Sunscreen: Babies under 6 months old shouldn’t have sunscreen applied to their skin. For this age group, limit time spent in the sun when UV levels are highest or use a UV cover on their stroller or car seat.

For babies older than 6 months, a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is best, but time spent in the sun should still be limited.

Remedies

There are several things that can help protect your baby’s skin or relieve dry, itchy skin during the winter, including:

Moisturise: Use a small amount of creams or ointments if your baby is prone to dry skin. You can apply it to exposed areas before and after going outside.

Switch up bath time: Although a bath can be a nice part of the bedtime routine, babies don’t need to be bathed every day. Short baths in lukewarm water are best to reduce moisture loss. Exposure to water, especially hot water, can cause their skin to lose moisture.

Lock in moisture after baths: After bath time is another good time to moisturise. Within a few minutes of drying is best, when their skin is still damp. Be sure to pat their skin dry with a towel instead of rubbing.

Choose soft fabrics: Dress your little one in soft, breathable fabrics that won’t irritate their skin. Avoid clothing with rough seams or scratchy tags.

Use only scent-free products: It’s best to avoid anything that can irritate baby’s skin or make dry skin feel worse. Choose fragrance-free lotions, soaps, and laundry detergents.

Picking the best winter wear for sensitive skin

Winter is all about covering up. The typical winter outfit can vary from person to person as well as region to region depending on individual’s cold perception Ideally, winter clothing protects most of our skin but sometimes, people with fabric sensitivities find it difficult as the fabric could trigger an allergic reaction such as itchy skin, rashes or even hives.

Let’s explore some ways that you can pick better winter-wear when you have sensitive skin.

Why skin irritation occurs

Skin irritation from clothing, otherwise known as “Textile Dermatitis”, is what happens when your skin has a bad reaction to a type of fibre in your clothing, or even the dyes or chemicals used in the manufacturing process. Wool is a common cause of skin irritation, but there have been cases where people have sensitivities to anything from nylon or spandex to rubber. Skin irritation can also occur when your clothing is too tight and chafes against your skin. Bodies moist areas have plenty of contact with fabric, such as behind your knees, groins or the armpits and therefore are the most commonly irritated areas.

Points to keep in mind while selecting winter wear for sensitive skin

• First familiarise yourself with what your skin can handle. It’s different for everyone.

• Prevent skin irritation with soft clothing. Many people find dense fibrous wool to be extremely irritating. They should preferably look for soft clothing made of Merino Wool – a softer type of wool usually suitable for sensitive skin. Similarly, Al Paca and Cashmere are extremely soft and provide significant warmth to the body.

• Try to be watchful while wearing nylon- or polyester-made garments as cases of allergies to these fabrics have been reported. These allergic reactions have been believed to occur due to chemicals involved in the process of polyester and nylon production and dyes. Formaldehyde, resins which are used fabric to make wrinkle free or dirt repellant, can also lead to allergic problems.

• Avoid wearing tight-fitting garments made of polyester or nylon. These fabrics are not good at absorbing sweat and do not allow the skin to breathe. The sweat can further irritate the skin as the fabric rubs against it. This could cause a less common condition known as Irritant Dermatitis, which may look very similar to the Textile Dermatitis.

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