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Caring for your child’s skin this harmattan

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia Nigeria
18 December 2021   |   2:07 am
Harmattan is a cool dry wind that blows from the northeast or east in the western Sahara and is strongest from late November to mid-March. Harmattan may be taking it’s time this year, which gives us ample opportunity...

Harmattan is a cool dry wind that blows from the northeast or east in the western Sahara and is strongest from late November to mid-March. Harmattan may be taking it’s time this year, which gives us ample opportunity to prepare and manage dry skin, especially in children, says parenting enthusiast and public health educator, Folayemi Adeyanju.

“Many children have inherited the tendency for dry skin making care of their skin very challenging, especially with the extra dryness that comes with the harmattan period. The skin looks dry, whitish or ashy and sometimes flaky when not properly taken care of.

“Humidity drop during harmattan in Nigeria results in a drastic reduction of moisture levels in our environment and body. This is what causes dry skin during harmattan and worsens for people with dry skin type.”

She noted, however, that taking care of dry skin during harmattan could be a walk in the park when necessary lifestyle and habit modifications are made and the right products are used.

Some care instructions for your child at home include: keeping your child’s baths or showers short. Only use warm or cold water. Do not be tempted to use hot water no matter how cold the weather is, as it takes off more of the skin’s natural oils causing more dryness.

Choose a mild cleanser; it must be gentle and have oils listed in the ingredients for extra moisturisation during bath time. Apply skin moisturiser or cream right after the bath or shower (prefereably within three minutes). Use a moisturiser as often as your child needs it.

“During this weather, creams are better than lotions as they have higher oil content which the skin needs. The use of body oils and butters also comes highly recommended during the harmattan period. Sunflower oil, oatmeal, aloe vera gel are examples of ingredients that greatly benefit dry skin.”

Adeyanju stressed that these practices guarantee that your child’s skin has sufficient moisture to avoid dryness and is well taken care of. It is of vital importance to take care of your child’s skin holistically. Each child is different, what works with one child may not suit another, so you’ll have to try an array of approaches to find what works.

Some additional practices that help to hydrate the skin include consuming foods high in water such as avocadoes and watermelon. Add a humidifier to your home. Also, humidifiers help to add extra humidity into the air, which can prevent the air from causing your children’s skin to dry out. This can be an incredibly beneficial step to take when they suffer from particularly dry skin. It also purifies the air and limits occurrence of cough and catarrh.

Use Sunscreen as it sunscreen to protect your skin can go a long way toward allowing it to stay hydrated. Without sunscreen, it is easy for skin to become damaged due to exposure to the sun. When this occurs, it is likely that your skin will have a difficult time retaining moisture. While struggling with dry skin, ensure that you stay hydrated and your children are drinking enough water every day.

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