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"What causes children to have dry feet?"


My toddler son's feet seem perpetually dry. It doesn't seem to bother him, but he just seems too young for dry skin. What could cause a child's feet to dry out? I've tried changing the type of shoes and socks he wears, but it doesn't seem to be helping.


Dry skin is a common problem for all age groups, especially in dry climates or during the winter, when heaters decrease air moisture indoors. The best way to prevent and treat dry skin is to avoid moisture loss, which often happens when skin is moist (such as after bathing, washing dishes, etc.).

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If your son has dry skin on his feet, you should try to lower his bath or shower temperature so that is warm, not hot. The cooler water will prevent penetration of the outer waxy and waterproof layers of his skin. Limit bathing to less than ten minutes. When he gets out of the water, immediately pat his skin dry (do not rub, rubbing causes more breaks in the skin surface) and cover any areas of dry skin with a thick cream-based moisturizer. It should be thick enough to come in a tub, not a pump dispenser. Examples include Cetaphil and Vanicream. Quickly coating his skin will prevent moisture loss. There are many foot rashes that are not just dry skin, including fungal infections and allergic reactions. If your sons feet continue to be dry or new symptoms develop, you should bring him in to be examined by a doctor, who can examine his feet and provide more specific recommendations.

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