While the soft, silky skin of all children tends to be a bit more sensitive than that of their adult counterparts, some kids’ skin is so sensitive that caring for it can feel like a full-time job. Kids have thinner, more delicate skin that’s more prone to irritation and even skin infections, so it’s important to make sure that you’re taking every possible precaution to protect them from discomfort or pain. These ten tips can help you to minimize the number of reactions your child has to environmental factors, and to increase her comfort level.
- Switch Her Laundry Detergent – If your child’s sensitive skin is becoming more uncomfortable or sensitivity is a relatively new issue, you should immediately replace your laundry detergent with one that’s free from fragrances, dyes and other additives. These chemicals can be very irritating to a child’s skin, and may be the root of a problem that’s just beginning to surface.
- Wash All New Clothing and Bedding – Kids with sensitive skin may experience flare-ups if they wear new clothing or use new bedding that hasn’t yet been washed. Many textiles are coated in chemicals that retard wrinkling and creasing that will disperse with the first washing. Until then, they lurk on the surface of those fabrics and cause your child pain. No matter how excited she is about a new outfit or new sheets, make sure that she understands why you have to wash new things before she can sue them.
- Read the Labels of Toiletries – The best shampoos, soaps and lotions to use on children with sensitive skin contain no fragrances or dyes. Before you invest in a new product, even one that claims to be designed for sensitive skin, check for any hint of scents or coloring that could be problematic for your sensitive child.
- Do Patch Tests for New Products – When you’re looking for a body wash or lotion that won’t ravage your little one’s sensitive skin, you may introduce a new product with each bath after the previous one fails the test. One way to keep the irritation to a minimum is to do a patch test with new products, applying them to a small area of skin and waiting to see if there’s a reaction. If the product doesn’t agree with your little one’s skin, at least the irritation is confined to a small area, rather than spread over her entire body.
- Keep Skin Moisturized – Dry skin feels tighter and is more uncomfortable. Once you’ve found a moisturizer that doesn’t cause your child’s skin to react negatively, be sure that you apply it liberally. This is especially important in the cold winter months, when dry heat and harsh winds can wreak havoc on everyone’s skin.
- Lower Bath Temperature – You don’t want to bathe a child in hot water to begin with, but it’s especially important to lower the temperature for particularly sensitive youngsters. Hot water strips the skin of surface oils, leaving it drier and more prone to irritation.
- Invest in a Humidifier – Dry air can be a major problem for kids with sensitive skin, especially if that dryness increases sensitivity and discomfort. Investing in a humidifier will introduce moisture into the air of your home, making it less harsh on your child’s sensitive skin.
- Don’t Forget the Sunscreen – Sunburns are no fun for anybody, but they’re especially painful for little ones with extraordinarily sensitive skin. Make sure that you never send your child outdoors without a liberal coating of sunscreen.
- Limit Exposure to Household Chemicals – Some of the most common household substances, including scented fabric sprays and aerosol air fresheners can contain chemicals that irritate your child’s skin. Make sure that her exposure to these chemicals is limited, and that she never manages to spray them directly on her skin.
- Know Your Child’s Triggers – Every child is different, and will have different triggers that set off a sensitive skin flare-up. Figuring out your child’s triggers may require a lot of observation over a lengthy period of time, but will make it easier to avoid those triggers in the future.
In cases of severely sensitive skin, it’s wise to work with your pediatrician or even a dermatologist to find the best possible solutions for your little one’s skin. She may need prescription-strength treatments and the supervision of a physician in order to properly manage the sensitivity and minimize flare-ups.