In wintertime, baby skin can go from perfectly sweet smoothness to painfully red and crackling dryness in a flash. Between the drying heat inside and freezing cold weather outside, skin can quickly get chapped, dry and red. Here are seven ways to keep your kiddo’s cheeks soft and smooth, even in the winter.

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Photo: Mike Carter via Flickr

Skip Bath Time

Here’s one tip that lets you cross something off of your to-do list: don’t give that baby a bath. It’s counter-intuitive, but bathing your little one every night dries out her skin. Too many baths wash off natural oils that keep your little one’s skin smooth and moisturized. Instead, especially in the winter, bathe her every few days. When you do bathe your little one, keep bath time short and sweet.

If a bath is a crucial part of your nighttime routine, skip the soap most nights as it adds to the drying effect. When your little one is especially dirty and soap is a must, use a mild liquid soap and skip scented bubble baths. If she misses the bubbles, bring a container of bubble solution in the bathroom and blow a few – adorable baby smiles are guaranteed!

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

As soon as you take your baby out of the tub, pat him dry with a cozy towel. Then, slather him head-to-toe with oil or lotion to lock in moisture. The thicker the better: thick, lubricating creams are more moisturizing than lotions. This is one time when grease is good. Whether you’re giving your baby a bath or not, lather up babies with dry skin at least twice a day.

Stay Away from Scents

Avoid any scented products, from lotions to detergents. Babies with extra-sensitive skin might find winter itchies kicked up a notch from perfumes. Use detergent that’s free of dyes and scents whenever you wash your baby’s clothes or sheets.

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Photo: Fraser Mummery via Flickr

Tackling Rashes and Allergies

If your baby has major eczema – a scaly, pink or red patchy rash that’s itchy – he may have food allergies. If you think allergies might be a cause of your baby’s skin troubles, talk with your pediatrician and check out this information to learn more.

Humidifiers Are Your Friend

There is one place you need water: in the humidifier. Run one indoors whenever possible to fight the dry heat in the house. Bonus: in your kiddo’s room, humidifiers can make white noise that helps him snooze.

Layer Up

Stick with soft clothing and layers to keep baby warm and dry. Light pieces that don’t itch or scratch are best. Some kids find wool to be super scratchy, so consider organic cottons and soft fleece. Now’s the time to break out the adorable bear hat and sweet baby booties when you head outside.

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Photo: Bertram Nudelbach via Flickr

Protect Baby from the Elements

Wind, snow, cold weather: all of those can make baby’s skin hurt. Protect your little one from with the right clothes or with stroller coverings. And, even though it’s cold out there, lather up exposed skin (for babies six months and up) with sunscreen. Use a physical rather than chemical sunscreen (one with zinc oxide) to be extra gentle on skin. Also, wipe those runny noses and trails of drool: wet skin can get extra cranky.

If you’re wondering what products to use to protect and moisturize that sweet baby skin, check out our guide to the best skincare options for the winter.

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What’s your number one tip for keeping baby’s skin happy in the winter? Tell us in the comments!

-Oz Spies