Dry Skin in Children
Just like an adult, a child can experience dry skin. Although it is quite common, dry skin can be irritating and bothersome to both child and parent--especially when it is associated with other painful symptoms. Causes range from environmental to medical factors, most that can be remedied with simple lifestyle changes. But occasionally, a doctor's treatment may be required. Therefore, it is important to understand what is triggering a child's dry skin and how it can be treated.
Dry skin can appear on various parts of a child's body. The About Kids Health website explains that dry skin can develop on the arms, face, feet, lips, hands and fingers. Dryness may also be associated with roughness, bumpy skin or cracks. Skin may also be itchy, scaly and irritated. This is especially true if the dryness is due to a medical condition.
A child's dry skin may be due to environmental factors like the weather or sun. In addition, the Babycenter website says that air conditioning, chlorinated water and salt water can be irritating to a child's skin. Over-bathing a child can also rob the skin of moisture, resulting in dryness. In addition, a medical condition called eczema is fairly common in young children. The Ask Dr. Sears website states that eczema affects 10 percent of children.
According to the About Kids Health website, a child's dry skin can usually be treated at home. If dryness is bathing related, allow him to bathe only in plain water, without soap. Apply a lubricating lotion or cream to any dry areas immediately after a bath. Weather-related dryness can be treated by wearing gloves and running a humidifier in cold weather. The Ask Dr. Sears website also recommends a diphenhydramine medication such as Benadryl.
A child's dry skin can typically be prevented. Because bathing can rob the skin of its natural oils, the Babycenter website suggests cutting back bath time. If a child usually takes a 1/2 hour bath, cut it to 10 minutes. Dry skin lacks moisture. Therefore, it is important to keep a child hydrated by offering fluids often, no matter the time of year.
The About Kids Health website warns that a doctor should be consulted if a child's dry skin does not improve after two weeks. In addition, seek medical attention if the skin cracks and begins to discharge a yellow pus. If eczema is the cause for a child's dryness, a pediatrician may prescribe a non-sedating prescription like Allegra or Claritin. Or he may elect to prescribe a topical steroid cream that can control and prevent eczema.
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