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Dry Skin Season Continues

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

With the cooler weather hanging around, I have noticed a lot of parents bringing their children into the office for dry skin. Not all dry skin is the same. We all tend to have drier skin in the cooler drier weather and you may treat it with a myriad of lotions to help lubricate. Even babies get little dry areas on their cheeks or chest or back and these may be treated with a gentle moisturizer like Cetaphil or Lubriderm. Although baby lotions smell good, I don’t find it to be a very good moisturizer, but I have been know to put it on over the Cetaphil to get that great baby smell.

But some children will develop eczema or atopic dermatitis as winter approaches. These children often come in with inflamed, dry areas behind their knees, in the forearm above the elbow, or around the ankles and feet. These areas are extremely irritated and really itch and therefore are scratched and get more inflamed. It seems to be a vicious itch-scratch cycle. It is best to begin with a basic program of washing your child with a mild hypoallergenic soap and patting them dry after their bath. While just a “tad” damp, rub in your moisturizer but a thicker cream (over lotion) will be better for eczema.

Mothers all have their favorites, but some of the brands are Eucerin, Elta, and Aquaphor. You cannot over moisturize these kids, so lubricate them at least one or twice daily. If the skin continues to be inflamed try using an over-the-counter cortisone cream sparingly to help the redness and itching. Once improved stop the steroid cream and continue to moisturize. Eczema has good days and bad, so expect to be dealing with flairs off and on during the winter with dry air and heat running.

If your child continues to scratch – itch – scratch despite your best efforts it may be worth a trip to the Pedi to try some other prescription steroid creams and moisturizers. Get the lotions going!

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again soon!

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