Treating extremely dry skin: can it improve or disappear?

Extremely dry skin, affects one child in five. If the signs are unpleasant (redness, itching sensations, dryness, etc.), they are not rare, nor contagious to other children, and not irreversible

Written in partnership with Dr. Clarence De BELILOVSKY, dermatologist & member of the Mustela experts' circle.

Different factors at stake The good thing about extremely dry skin is that it appears very early on and tends to abate with age and even disappear.

But when? It depends on the sensitivity of your child’s skin. It will also depend on regular daily care, and on your child’s environment and activities in periods of crisis as much as in periods of respite. These periods of respite will work in your favor.

They do not mean that the symptoms have disappeared, but caring for the skin on a day-to-day basis is essential, and prevention is crucial. You should put all the chances on your side. 

A few general observations: • The first signs of an extremely dry skin can appear from 2 months onwards, sometimes even before. Until the age of one, it will mostly appear on chubby areas: chin, cheeks, arms, belly, and so on. They can also be found on calves and feet. At this age, extremely dry skin can also show flare-ups, especially when your child starts teething and when nasopharynx infections appear.

• After the age of one, extremely dry skin may appear elsewhere on the body. It may disappear from chubby areas to surface in skin folds: elbows, legs, neck, back of the knees, wrists, etc., and even behind the ears, a particular site for rashes.

• By the age of three or four, it will continue to appear in skin folds but also on hands and face, around the mouth and on the eyelids. However, flare-ups may start to fade.

• By the age of five or six, it may have all vanished! It may disappear even if your child’s skin remains very dry, which is why it will still need to be treated with special care. Will you have to wait until your child reaches the age of reason? Who knows? Against all expectations, extremely dry skin may disappear much earlier, around the age of two, or after several months. On the other hand, it can endure until puberty or, more rarely, continue as an adult. Why? We don’t know yet. We just know that it will not be linked to the treatment used. One thing is sure, it eventually fades. One last piece of good news? Even if flare-ups are severe and regular, they won’t leave any marks on the skin!

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