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Dr. Z’s Sensitive Skin Tips for Kids and Parents

Sensitive Skin Spotlight: Managing Eczema

Did you know that nearly 54% of children have sensitive skin? That means sensitive skin is an everyday part of life for many families.

If you’re wondering what sensitive skin is, how it affects children, and how you can help support your child’s sensitive skin, board-certified dermatologist and all® free clear partner Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky is here to answer common questions and offer some helpful tips.

How is children’s skin different than adults?

Children often experience sensitive skin partially because their skin is built differently than adults.

In infants, the stratum corneum, or the outermost layer of skin, is thinner. The skin’s ability to produce oil and fat, which have moisturizing and protective qualities, is reduced. Infant skin also has an increased rate of water loss compared to adult skin. Combined, these developmental differences can make children’s skin dryer and more prone to irritation and inflammation.


How do I know if my child has sensitive skin?

If you’re wondering whether your child has sensitive skin, here are some common sensitive skin symptoms in children:

  • Redness
  • Dryness
  • Flaking
  • Peeling
  • Textured skin, like bumps
  • Hives

If your child complains about burning, stinging, or itchiness, these can also be signs of sensitive skin. 

What causes sensitive skin?

According to Dr. Z., sensitive skin is not a medical diagnosis, but there are often triggers that cause skin to become sensitive.

You may already know that certain soaps and cosmetics can be irritating to skin. That’s because some soaps contain harsh, drying ingredients and some cosmetics, especially waterproof makeup, can clog pores and cause breakouts.  

Physical factors like hot or cold weather, friction, and prolonged sun exposure can cause skin to become sensitive. Certain foods like spicy food or alcohol can be irritating to skin as well.

Does your child have a big test coming up and they’re itchy all over? Some people, including children, experience sensitive skin when they are under extreme stress.

Even though sensitive skin is not considered a medical diagnosis, there are some medical conditions that cause skin sensitivities. For example, atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema that affects more than 9.6 million children. Itching is a common symptom along with rashes and dryness.1 Another common medical condition is contact dermatitis which happens when the skin comes into contact with an irritating substance that triggers an allergic reaction such as an itchy rash.2

Other common sensitive-skin medical conditions include dry skin, hives and rosacea.

What can I do to address my child’s sensitive skin?

Nobody likes to see their child suffer from sensitive skin. Whether your child has a medical diagnosis or their skin is simply more reactive to certain triggers, Dr. Z offers these tips to support your child’s sensitive skin.

  1. Be thoughtful at bath time – use lukewarm water, keep bath time to 5-10 minutes, and no bubble baths since the soap can contain harsh, drying ingredients. Don’t scrub skin and only wash the “dirty areas” during flareups since cleansers can irritate vulnerable skin.
  2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize – apply moisturizer on damp skin right after bath time and don’t be afraid to reapply throughout the day for extra-dry skin.
  3. Use sunscreen – protect delicate skin from harsh UV rays with mineral-based, broad-spectrum SPF 30+. Be sure to look for fragrance-free, moisturizing sunscreens. And reapply every 2 hours or more if your child is sweating or swimming!
  4. Limit exposure to allergens – vacuum weekly, keep pets out of the bedroom, and avoid aerosols like furniture polish or air-freshening sprays.
  5. Use a mild sensitive-skin laundry detergent for clothes, bedding, and towelsall® free clear is the #1 recommended detergent brand by dermatologists, pediatricians, and allergists for sensitive skin. It’s 100% free of dyes and perfumes and uses hypoallergenic ingredients so you can trust that it will be gentle on sensitive skin. 
  6. Choose the right fabric – cotton, linen, cashmere, and silk are soft and wick away moisture while wool, polyester, acrylics, and other fabrics can be irritating and trap moisture against the skin.
  7. Wash all new clothing and bedding – fabrics straight from the store or factory can have irritants, allergens, toxins, and dyes in them. Wash fabrics with a sensitive-skin laundry detergent before your child wears new clothes or sleeps in new bedding.
  8. Patch test new products – apply the new product to a small section of your child’s skin at least two times a day for 7-10 days. If no irritation occurs, it’s probably good to use.
  9. Keep it humid – indoor air can be drying to skin which causes certain skin conditions like eczema to flare. Invest in a humidifier to restore humidity levels to the air in your home which helps increase skin’s moisture content. Look for cool mist humidifiers which are the safest option. And be sure to regularly clean your humidifier to prevent mold, fungi, and bacteria growth.
  10. Talk with the pediatrician – explain what your child’s sensitive-skin symptoms are and any steps you’ve taken to help them. If all else fails, your pediatrician can refer you to a dermatologist to get your child the help they need. 

Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky is a board-certified dermatologist and a partner of all® free clear. You can find her on TikTok and Instagram at @dermguru.



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  • all® free clear dryer sheets