Children have thinner and more delicate skin than adults, so it's more sensitive to irritation. Here are the top 5 tips to help parents care for a child's sensitive skin:
- Choose child-friendly products that are free of dyes and perfumes. Many products, such as laundry detergent, fabric softeners, and many kinds of soap, contain dyes and perfumes that can irritate your child's sensitive skin. Choose products that are sensitive-skin-friendly. Check the product label to make sure the product is dye free, perfume free, specially designed for sensitive skin, and dermatologist tested. The same goes for other personal care products such as soap, shampoo, cream, or lotion.
- Protect your child's skin from the sun. Sun exposure can burn and irritate your child's delicate skin, and too much sun in the early years is especially important to prevent skin cancer later on in life. Encourage your child to stay out of the sun when its rays are at their strongest, from around 10 am to 4 pm. Cover your child up with protective clothing and apply sunscreen to exposed skin. Choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of at least 30. Avoid products that contain PABA, as these can irritate the skin. And don't forget the lips - apply a sunscreen lip balm to your child's lips. Sunscreen is not recommended for babies under 6 months of age. Instead, they should be covered up and shaded from the sun. There is also UVA/UVB-blocking clothing available that will stop your child from burning through their clothes, as T-shirts tend to provide little protection.
- Keep your child's skin well moisturized. Choose a moisturizer that's made for children and dermatologist tested, and apply it to your child's body and face right after every bath (within 2 or 3 minutes) to seal in the moisture. Proper moisturizing can help protect sensitive skin from irritation.
- Limit your child's exposure to other household irritants. Aerosol products such as furniture polish or air-freshening sprays, pet hair and dander, and wool or synthetic clothing can irritate your child's skin. Avoid using aerosol products around children, vacuum weekly, keep pets out of the bedroom, and choose mainly cotton or cotton blend clothing for your child. Before your child wears new clothing, wash all of it new clothing with a sensitive-skin-friendly laundry detergent that is free of dyes and perfumes.
- Get help for seriously irritated skin. If your child's skin is very irritated and itchy, or if they have frequent rashes, consult a doctor. Some children have skin conditions such as eczema that may require special treatment.
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