Oh, those dry, chapped, cracked ― and sometimes painful ― hands.
You shouldn’t have to go through tubes of ointments and boxes of Band-Aids to get rid of one of the downsides of winter for you and your kids.
The Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Calif., reminds us that when the outside temperatures drop, the wind increases and the house heater gets cranked up, dry and cracked hands are an unfortunate and common side effect.
“The cold air is more drying and wind is also more drying. And then add forced-air heating, and that will dry skin out even more,” CHOC pediatrician Dr. Angela Dangvu said on the hospital’s website.
Although parents can’t control the weather, they can take the following steps to help protect their child’s hands against dryness, according to CHOC:
Choose soap carefully: Start by using a moisturizing hand soap. Frequent hand washing, which is crucial during the winter season to avoid colds and other viruses, worsens the problem by further dehydrating the skin, Dr. Dangvu says. Look for soaps that more resemble a lotion than a traditional soap and have words like “moisturizing” or “conditioning” on the label. Avoid antibacterial or deodorant soaps. Also, hand sanitizer gel is an effective way to clean hands that is less drying than a soap-and-water method. However, children with the onset of dry skin should avoid gel, because its alcohol content can sting.
Creams, not lotions: As a preventative measure, parents can apply moisturizer to their child’s hands after hand-washing or bath time. Look for products described as creams rather than as lotions. These are richer and have more staying power than thinner products such as baby lotions.
A three-step approach: If a child’s hands still become dry, Dr. Dangvu recommends the following three steps.
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