If you enjoy winter activities like I do, you know Jack Frost nips at much more than noses. In fact, chapped faces are among a parent’s top complaints when trying to get their kids out of the house once in a while.
Are there any ways to treat or even prevent chapped skin naturally? Of course! Over the years I’ve learned what works—and what doesn’t—for protecting little chins, cheeks, and noses from the dry winter air. Here are the best ways to prevent, and in some cases treat, irritated facial skin in winter.
Hydrate from the Inside Out
Require a glass of water the morning before anyone heads outdoors. Hydrating young bodies supplies their largest organ (the skin) with the necessary fluids needed to withstand the elements as they perspire. A dehydrated epidermis is more susceptible to irritation than the skin cells of someone who has had plenty to drink, so encourage little ones to have an extra glass with breakfast or take a few swigs after brushing their teeth.
Serve a Vitamin-Rich Diet
According to Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute, nutrients are vital to your skin’s ability to block environmental elements from harming the sensitive tissues inside. That’s why nutritional antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E are so essential; they can help protect and heal chapped face and neck skin simultaneously. Keep a steady supply of spinach, almonds, and citrus fruits in your family’s diet, even in winter. That way, when a spontaneous cold weather outing presents itself, you can say “yes” without reservation.
Butter Late than Never
It’s common to enjoy a successful snowshoeing or hiking trip only to come home and find your child’s face chaps hours later. Often this is the immune system’s response to the dry conditions, and it can be treated naturally. Lotions like the Baby Moisturizing Lotion from Tom’s of Maine carry natural moisturizers like shea butter that work after the first application, offering quick and lasting relief.
It’s surprising to hear sunburn is a common injury in winter since you deal with this environmental assault more commonly in the summer months. But UV rays are always present—even on cloudy days—and young cheeks, noses, and chins serve as a reminder of the sun’s power year round.
When lips are dry, instinct says licking them will provide a quick shot of moisture. Adults can self-regulate because they know it’s counterproductive, and instead reach for their favorite natural lip balm. Because kids don’t have the same self-control yet, they lick every time. Nonetheless, saliva irritates the skin around the lips, spreading quickly to chins and cheeks. Break the cycle before it starts by arming your kids with a stick of lip balm to keep in his or her jacket pocket so it’s never out of reach. Then, in the same way you make everyone use the restroom before heading outside, make it a habit to “balm up” together.
Wipe Noses Promptly
Snot happens. Luckily the clear mucus that appears (almost) the instant your kids step outdoors is harmless, unless you let it dry there. Keep multiple tissues with you so you’re always ready to dab clean the inevitable drips that can create irritation later.
Take a Page from the Diaper Diaries
Zinc oxide, the active ingredient in most diaper-rash ointments, is an all-natural mineral that does not absorb into the skin; it stays right on the skin’s surface, deflecting UVA rays. Plus, some natural ointments have sunflower oil and the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, which both work to repair damaged skin cells and protect against further irritation. Am I suggesting you lather your kids’ faces with bottom cream? You bet I am. For my family, nothing has been as effective for both prevention and treatment.
Recognize the Difference
Your kids’ skin is, by nature, more sensitive than your own. This knowledge alone will make you more vigilant, which is the first step toward prevention. Watch for signs of discomfort before irritation appears. Scratching, rubbing, or nose-stretching are all indications of environmental threats that can be thwarted early.
Don’t let chapped skin threaten your family’s outdoor fun. Equip yourself with some insight and a few simple natural supplies before heading out. What would you add to this list? Have you found a surprising source for natural chapping prevention or treatment? Tweet your tips to @TomsofMaine.
Image source: Bethany Johnson
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.
Why It’s Good
It feels good knowing that despite the dry, cold air, you can prevent and treat chapped skin on your kids' sensitive faces. Natural products that protect and nourish skin's outer layers strengthen the body's defenses so you can enjoy more outdoor time together all year round.