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I personally love everything about winter. I love to feel toasty and warm by the fire, make the kids hot chocolate to sip, and settle in with some cozy blankets. Unfortunately, winter also brings dry air, which can lead to uncomfortable itchy, winter skin. And as much as we love a weekend in the snow or waking up to a rainy morning, those drastic temperature changes take a toll on our skin. It happens to all of us, but my oldest child suffers the worst. Jackson has had eczema since birth. Every winter it seems to worsen, so we have to take measures to protect his skin once the temperature drops.

Certain areas of skin are more vulnerable to dryness because of a reduced ability to produce natural oils. While the back and face skin contains a significant amount of oil-producing glands, legs have far fewer and lips don’t have any at all.

baby in tub baby waving

Taking Care of Kids’ Dry Winter Skin (And Parents’ Too!)

Luckily, there’s great advice we can follow. Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson of Seattle Mama Doc refers to eczema as “the itch that rashes” and states that it is common to see an increased risk for eczema flare-ups in the winter. It is the “rash that itches” because a patch starts and a child can’t help but scratch it. Then it blooms from there. Her advice: “If your child suffers from eczema, talk to your pediatrician to create an action plan for combating these dry months and hopefully avoiding such severe tolls and trolls on everyday life.”

And take note, Swanson says that eczema primarily affects kids. According to the CDC, the United States is seeing an increase in eczema cases in children and a recent study suggests at least 10 percent of children in the U.S. suffer from this skin condition.

Whether it’s your child or you, dry skin is one of the most common winter challenges for everyone and it can be avoided.  If you take the following advice from, you can help prevent that unwanted dryness for both adults and kids too. Who wouldn’t want summer skin beneath the layers of sweaters and gloves?

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boy in scarf and earmuffsinfograph to prevent dry winter skin

Don’t Skip on Sunscreen

Living in Southern California means we can literally ski and surf, all within the same day. The close proximity between sand and snow gives all the kids bragging rights, rightfully so. But one thing they can’t brag about is the toll this outdoor lifestyle can play on your skin.

When I was a kid, sunscreen was used only in the summer months. Stowing sunscreen under the sink during the winter months is not an option anymore. Sunscreen is important throughout the year and the daily application of sunscreen on your face should never be forgotten. I keep an arsenal of sunscreen in plenty of places—in my purse, the car, the kids’ backpacks— ensuring our family will be protected from the sun’s harmful rays. (And as always, when using anything over the counter, read the drug facts label first before applying.)

Without protecting your eyes from UV rays in winter, you can get “sunburn of the eyes,” often known as “snow blindness.”

baby in tub dad and son ice skating

Prevent and Protect

Cold winter weather can certainly impact everyone’s skin. The good news is that most winter skin problems (including the more dangerous ones) can be prevented. Air humidifiers can improve the moisture levels in your home or work environment, while a good moisturizer can seal in moisture, keeping your skin feeling soft. Remember to keep hot showers and baths short, so you’re not dehydrating your skin even more!

Covering your skin with warm clothing and reducing your exposure to outdoor cold can help avoid the environmental assault on your skin. If you’re still feeling dry, make sure you’re drinking plenty of healthy fluids to keep yourself hydrated. And don’t neglect your lips! They can get so chapped in the winter! If you have tried the above tips and your skin still feels dry, it’s best you call your doctor.

For more information on how to keep your skin healthy during the winter months, please visit

Have you listened to my podcast? Check out The Mom Confidential!

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