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The Kid’s Doctor: Chapped cheeks are a seasonal hazard

The weather remains crazy, with chilly temps continuing past the official start of spring in many regions. This intensely cold and dry winter has been hard on everyone’s skin. I’ve seen more and more babies coming in with strangely “red cheeks.”

These precious little cheeks are just dry and chapped. The toddler set seems be particularly affected, as they’re always getting their faces wiped! Between those winter runny noses, which parents are constantly having to swab, and the scrubbing of faces after finger foods have been “smeared” from cheek to cheek, a toddler’s face gets a surprising amount of wear and tear.

While it would seem that water on the face from lots of washing would be hydrating, this is actually false. At this time of year, a little less face washing is beneficial. Also, counteracting all of the dryness calls for lots of hydration with moisturizers.

Right after washing or wiping your child’s face, you need to use a thick moisturizer. You cannot over moisturize your child’s skin this time of year.

I’m a fan of Cerave Cream and Aquaphor. I often use Cerave – the cream is thicker than the lotion – during the day, and then lather on Aquaphor at bedtime. The thick moisturizer helps hold the water into the skin. I was even known to rub Aquaphor on my own’s children’s faces once they were asleep so they weren’t tempted to rub it off!

Don’t worry, though. Once the weather finally warms up for good, you can turn the furnace off and the humidity begins to build again, those rosy little cheeks will fade away – unless, of course, you fail to use sunscreen – but that’s another story.

Dr. Sue Hubbard is a pediatrician, medical editor and media host.