As the weather cools down and we move indoors and turn up the heat, the dry air can wreak havoc on sensitive skin. Here are a few tips to get your child through the winter more comfortably.
Applying a moisturizer helps to restore the barrier function of skin. Stick to an unscented product, and apply right after bath or shower time.
Avoid long, hot baths and showers
Keep these comfortably warm, and under 10 minutes. Use a gentle unscented wash for sensitive skin, such as Dove bar for sensitive skin. Body washes labeled “Baby” or “Kids” are often heavily scented and not the gentlest choice! Bars also have fewer preservatives than liquid washes. Only use soap on areas that need it- arms, legs, backs and tummies don’t need to be lathered up every day (unless they have been in the mud!).
Dress your child in soft, cotton clothing
Wool contains lanolin, a wool alcohol that can irritate sensitive skin, so is best avoided for kids with sensitive skin.
Diet is probably not the cause
The best scientific evidence to date suggests that diet rarely, if ever, plays a role in eczema or sensitive skin. So don’t worry about avoiding certain food groups. However, if there are foods that on repeated instances cause your child’s eczema to flare, it is only reasonable to avoid these.
Keep fingernails short
Eczema is sometimes called “the itch that rashes”- meaning that scratching worsens the rash. Short fingernails do the least damage so check these every few days.
For some eczema-prone children, these preventive measures are not enough. If this is the case, fear not- many children will outgrow their eczema by their teens. In the meantime, some prescription medications may be necessary. Speak to your doctor if this is the case for you.
This article is intended to provide general information and is not intended as a substitute for assessment and care from your doctor.
This article was written by our new resident Dermatologist, Dr. Alexandra Kuritzky. She will be contributing professional articles on all-things dermatology. Welcome Dr. Kuritzky!
What is a dermatologist?
There are a lot of “skin clinics” out there. Why chose a dermatologist?
A dermatologist is a medical doctor with specialty training. After an undergraduate degree and medical school we spend 5 years in an accredited dermatology residency program, learning everything there is to know about skin health and disease. Like all specialist physicians in Canada, we pass a rigorous examination process to earn the designation “FRCPC”, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada. This amounts to 12 or more years of post-secondary training.
Dermatology is an exciting field, in that we deal with the body’s largest and most visible organ. This means that a trained eye can make diagnoses by reading the skin, often without invasive testing. There is a tremendous amount of preventive health in what we do, from skin cancer prevention and early detection, to helping people age well, such that what they see in the mirror reflects how vibrant they feel on the inside.
As a medical and cosmetic dermatologist, I divide my time between general medical dermatology and cosmetic dermatology, and I am constantly reminded of how connected these two facets of my practice are. Unlike some medical conditions which patients can keep private, dermatologic disease is often in the public eye, thus presenting not just a health concern but an aesthetic concern as well. For the cosmetic consultation, the health of the individual and their skin always comes first, and we build upon this with our ability to rejuvenate and enhance.
Do all medical dermatologists perform cosmetic treatments?
Not necessarily. Most dermatologists will do some form of cosmetic treatments, such as removal of unwanted moles and skin tags, but not all perform the full range of injectable and laser procedures available. Similarly, not all cosmetic dermatologists have a full medical practice. This is the wonderful thing about our specialty- we treat such a wide range of conditions that we can each tailor our practice to our interests and skill set.
Stay tuned for more information about how to manage common skin problems and what is happening in the world of aesthetic medicine.
Image: Jav Con