Brrrr, baby! Winter weather can be brutal on your little one’s delicate skin. Cool temperatures + low humidity = drier than dry air that can suck moisture from their skin and leave things feeling rough, patchy, irritated, and flaky. When it’s cold outside, adjust your habits and make a few tweaks to your baby’s skincare routine to help treat and prevent those common winter skin woes.
Here are 10 winter skin tips for babies.
#1 Bundle Up…but don’t overdo it.
When heading outside for wintertime fun, wrap your baby in lots of breathable layers paying extra attention to their fingers, feet, and face. While they may protest that adorably fuzzy pair of mittens, don’t give in! Those teeny tiny extremities are prone to heat loss and, if exposed to harsh weather, can lead to dehydrated, cracked skin.
And while bundling is best, here’s a word of warning: Babies can get heat rash in wintertime, especially if they’re dressed super snug and hanging out in an area with poor ventilation (like the car seat). Always keep an eye on the temperature and remove a layer if your little one starts to look and feel sweaty. If a bumpy, red rash crops up, cleanse their skin with a gentle body wash and let them air dry afterwards. Treat the rash with a thin layer of balm and dab some baby powder in those hard-to-reach skin folds, as those are the trickiest areas to keep clean and dry!
#2 Double Down on Drool.
A drooly baby in wintertime is a recipe for red, raw, rash-y skin. Keep a cotton bib, bandana, or burp cloth handy all winter-long so you can pat down their chin, lips, and cheeks as often as needed. And don’t wait for signs of redness to show up! Whether or not their skin looks distressed, smooth on a healing ointment every day (like our Everywhere Balm!) to create a preventative moisture barrier against all that saliva.
#3 Use a Gentle Touch.
Don’t rub or touch any sore spots too frequently. Instead, use your soft fingertips and apply moisturizer in a circular motion with gentle strokes. If your wee one’s skin is especially irritated (or the application process is turning into a wrestling match), try dabbing it on with a cotton pad. Some babies love the soft texture and it’s distracting enough to keep them still!
#4 Don’t Skip Sunscreen.
While we usually associate sunscreen with warm summer days, applying SPF is just as important during the winter season. We know – it’s tough enough wrangling your kiddo into their snow gear, but sunscreen (whether you prefer it in the form of a lotion, stick, manual spray, or continuous spray) should be part of your child’s skincare routine in every season.
Remember: Parents should avoid using sunscreen products on infants under 6 months old, so do your best to keep your little one out of direct sunlight (and don't forget that snow and ice can reflect 90% of UV rays) and protect them with a hat, baby sunglasses, or stroller canopy.
#5 Bath Time Best Practices.
When it's time to wash up, keep things short and simple this time of year. Use lukewarm water, apply shampoo and body wash with your hands (as opposed to a rough washcloth), and blot your baby dry with a soft cotton towel. And if they insist on a bubble bath, use a product that’s infused with moisturizing ingredients so it won’t strip their skin of natural oils.
Pro Tip: If baby’s skin is super dry and inflamed, put a few tablespoons of ground up oatmeal and/or a few drops of baby oil in their bath water. OR skip the mess entirely and use our line of fragrance-free products made with soothing oat extracts.
#6 Moisturize With The Right Products.
Regardless of the season, babies’ skin is thin, delicate, and ultra-sensitive to the products they absorb. So, look for brands that prioritize plant-based ingredients that are hypoallergenic and ph-balanced. To keep your baby’s skin nourished and protected during those dry winter days, apply lotion and baby oil at least once daily. Need an easy way to remember to moisturize? Incorporate a relaxing massage as part of their nighttime routine.
#7 Go Fragrance-Free.
If your kid’s skin is extra red, ruddy, or tender, plan to use only fragrance-free products during winter months to give that beautiful baby skin a chance to thrive. Be on the lookout for symptoms of eczema (crusty, flaky patches), which are often exacerbated by frigid weather, and contact your pediatrician if you have any concerns!
Pro Hack: Breastfeeding mamas take note! Breast milk is filled with antibacterial, antimicrobial, and moisturizing properties. It can be used topically on a variety of your baby’s (and your!) skin conditions including eczema, cradle cap, diaper rash, and scaly skin. For a natural treatment, soak a cotton ball in some breast milk and dab it on the affected area.
#8 Keep Them Hydrated.
Aside from using the right products, your baby’s skin requires hydration from the inside out. If their skin is parched, offer extra breastmilk or formula. And if they’re eating solids, add in some water-rich foods like applesauce, peaches, or cooked zucchini.
#9 Add Humidity.
Humidifiers are actual lifesavers during cold and flu season because they boost the moisture levels in the air and help alleviate stuffy noses and coughs. Your baby’s irritated winter skin can benefit from the added humidity, too! Just know that humidifiers need proper care and maintenance so they won't grow mold (ick!), so brush up on your user manual.
#10 Consider Your Detergent.
When your baby’s skin is already dry and itchy, using a detergent filled with artificial fragrances and dyes is like adding insult to injury. Always opt for a sulfate-free detergent with a plant-based fragrance OR a totally fragrance-free formula (which is what the National Eczema Association recommends!). You can also swap dryer balls for fabric softener and dryer sheets – two things that often contain harsh perfumes and chemicals. Who knew that treating sad winter skin could be as easy as washing their (adorable) baby clothes in the right product?
How do you care for your baby’s skin during the winter? Share your pro tips and hacks in the comments below!