After-Bath Tips for Parents of Kids With Itchy, Dry, or Easily Irritated Skin
Your child’s skin is delicate, and even the smallest things seem to irritate it. Taking extra care during and after bathtime to lock in moisture can help care for their itchy, dry, irritated skin. Using gentle products specially formulated for sensitive skin can also keep your child’s skin healthy and hydrated.
What Causes Itchy, Dry, Red, or Irritated Skin in Kids After a Bath?
If your baby or child’s skin is red and dry after a bath, there may be a few causes1,2:
- Using hot water: Using water that’s too hot strips the natural oils off your child’s skin, making it itchy and dry
- Using non-gentle bath products: Some products advertise that they’re “moisturizing” or “nourishing,” but they may contain harsh dyes cleansers that may irritate the skin
- Using a rough towel to dry off skin: A rough towel may scratch and irritate your child’s skin when drying them off
- Having eczema: Eczema causes dry skin, which can become even more irritated and uncomfortable after using too-hot water and harsh bath products
After-Bath Tips to Help Soothe Your Child’s Sensitive Skin
Try these bathing tips for your child2,3:
- Skip bath night if your child isn’t overly dirty, as excessive bathing dries skin out faster
- Gently pat your child’s skin dry using a soft towel — don’t rub too hard and leave a little moisture
- Apply a gentle cream to their slightly damp skin within three minutes of drying to help lock in moisture
- Put them in clean, dry, cotton pajamas — polyester clothing may cause sweating, which can irritate the skin
How Often Should You Bathe Your Baby if They Have Eczema?
The National Eczema Association (NEA) recommends bathing babies with eczema at least once a day for five to 10 minutes in lukewarm water4. They also recommend a wet wrap after a bath to help lock in moisture. After you’ve applied moisturizer or medication to your baby’s skin, run a dressing under warm water to dampen it and place it over the affected area. Wrap the damp dressing with a dry one and put your baby’s pajamas on, taking care not to disturb the dressings5.
How to Prevent Dry, Itchy, or Irritated Skin in Kids
“When looking for products to use during your child’s bath, keep an eye out for any harsh ingredients. If not formulated properly for kids’ skin, they may irritate their delicate skin and make it itchy and dry. In children with eczema, these ingredients can also lead to flares. Look for gentle products that are free of harsh cleansers.
Aveeno® Kids Face & Body Wash and Aveeno® Kids 2-in-1 Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner is designed for kids with sensitive skin. Formulated with oat extract and formulated without dyes, sulfates, and other harsh cleansers, they gently remove dirt and germs without irritating your child’s sensitive scalp, face, and body.
When to See a Doctor
If you notice your child’s skin is extremely dry, cracking, or itchy, talk to their pediatrician. They can perform a physical examination and an eczema evaluation to find out what’s causing your child’s dry, itchy, irritated skin and how to best treat it6.
- University of Utah Health. Hot Showers Can Dry Out Your Skin. February 10, 2021. Accessed January 6, 2023. https://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_8qzmzdxl
- Moriarty C. Don’t Let Cold Weather Wreak Havoc on Your Child’s Sensitive Skin. Yale Medicine. June 13, 2018. Accessed January 6, 2023. https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/kids-eczema
- National Eczema Association. Eczema Treatment for Children. Accessed January 6, 2023. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/children/treatment/
- National Eczema Association. Eczema and Bathing. Accessed January 6, 2023. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment/bathing/
- National Eczema Association. Wet Wrap Therapy. Accessed January 6, 2023. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment/wet-wrap-therapy/
- Seattle Children’s. Dry Skin. January 5, 2023. Accessed January 6, 2023. https://www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/a-z/dry-skin/