Skip to main content
CNN.com CNN.com -- Health
ASK AN EXPERT
Got a question about a health story in the news or a health topic? Here's your chance to get an answer. Send us your questions about general health topics, diet and fitness and mental health. If your question is chosen, it could be featured on CNN.com's health page with an answer from one of our health experts, or by a participant in the CNNhealth community.




* CNN encourages you to contribute a question. By submitting a question, you agree to the following terms found below.
You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. By submitting your question, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your questions(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statment.
Thank you for your question!

It will be reviewed and considered for posting on CNNHealth.com. Questions and comments are moderated by CNN and will not appear until after they have been reviewed and approved. Unfortunately, because of the voume of questions we receive, not all can be posted.

Submit another question or Go back to CNNHealth.com

Read answers from our experts: Living Well | Diet & Fitness | Mental Health | Conditions

Expert Q&A

  • Share this on:
    Share
  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print

What can help kids' dry skin?

Asked by Maureen, Isanti, Minnesota

Open quote
Close quote

My daughter is 4 years old and has some dry patches on her skin. What is the best thing to do for children who have dry skin? Any suggestions for lotions or bathing?

Expert Bio Picture

Living Well Expert Dr. Jennifer Shu Pediatrician,
Children's Medical Group

Expert answer

Dry skin is a common problem in children, especially during the winter, when our bodies are exposed to dry air in the cold outdoors or heated indoor environments. It occurs when the skin lacks moisture and can be treated by returning moisture to the skin or preventing moisture from escaping the skin in the first place.

Maintain skin's moisture. To prevent dry skin, make sure children eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of unsweetened beverages such as milk and water. Try also to avoid prolonged exposure to sun, cold air (since cold air does not hold moisture as well as warm air) or harsh winds, which can scratch or irritate a child's delicate skin. Consider using moisturizing soaps or cleansers, and apply lotions, creams or ointments to keep the skin soft and hydrated.

For children who are prone to dry skin, the following practices may be helpful:

Limit baths or showers to 2 or 3 times a week. While frequent contact with water may seem like a good way to treat dry skin, too much washing and scrubbing may actually strip the skin of its naturally protective oils. Use warm rather than very hot water, limit bathing to 10 minutes or less, and gently pat the skin dry with a towel instead of rubbing vigorously.

Apply a thick moisturizer early and often. Thick ointments and creams may be a bit greasier than moisturizing lotions but tend to stay on the skin longer. Apply these within a few minutes after getting out of the tub to trap the water on the skin, and try to reapply frequently -- even before your child's skin appears dry, or as soon as you notice any dry patches.

Humidify your home. If your home is dry, such as with some heating systems, keeping the indoors at about 30 percent to 60 percent relative humidity can help moisturize the skin. Too high relative humidity may lead to mold growth, and lower relative humidity can cause dryness and itching of the eyes and nasal passages as well as the skin. As a point of reference, the Sahara Desert and Death Valley typically have a relative humidity of 20 to 25 percent, while a steam bath is around 100 percent.

See your doctor. If the skin is very red, cracked, peeling, bleeding or infected (for example, is swollen or has pus), your child may need special over-the-counter or prescription treatments. Sometimes, dry skin may be a sign of a condition that needs ongoing attention, such as eczema or psoriasis. Your child's doctor can help diagnose and treat such conditions or refer you to a dermatologist who specializes in children's skin if needed.

More Q&A

  • CNN's Medical UnitCNN's medical unit brings you the best experts available to answer your questions about current events and health issues that matter most to you.
What are the potential problems with ovarian cysts?asked by: Asked by Jane Coles; Virginia
Why do I no longer need an antibiotic before teeth cleaning?asked by: Asked by Janet; Leeds
How frequently should a man urinate daily?asked by: Asked by Brian; Canada
Quick Job Search
keyword(s):
enter city:

CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.

The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.

Home  |  World  |  U.S.  |  Politics  |  Crime  |  Entertainment  |  Health  |  Tech  |  Travel  |  Living  |  Money  |  Sports  |  Time.com
© 2014 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.