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Experts say add moisturizer to your back to school checklist

FILE - Lotion

PORTLAND, Ore. - School is right around the corner, and that means summer will soon come to an end.

As families get ready to head back to school, there are some obvious “back to school” checklist items: backpack, pencils, pens, and notebooks.

But one often-missed item is moisturizer.

"If you look around the room at many first and second grade classrooms, a lot of them will have dry lips," Lara Clayton, a physician assistant with pediatric dermatology at OHSU, said.

For many, the cooler weather that comes with the transition out of summer brings chapped lips and crackled skin.

"The most important thing is moisturizing cremes," Clayton said.

Think about the transition from recess to class and from outdoor soccer practice to inside a warm car. It’s that transition, from cold to hot, that’s tough on the skin. In some cases, the transition to fall is so intense, it causes eczema.

One way to avoid uncomfortably dry skin is to reduce going from cold to hot too quickly.

"Sometimes we see the teenagers taking longer, hotter showers, and that can definitely dry out your skin," Clayton said.

Hot showers, although very nice after a cold soccer practice or late cross country race, aren’t as rewarding in the long run. The key here, if you can’t avoid hot showers, make sure you’re treating your skin after.

“A basic petrolatum jelly on the lips and thick, heavy moisturizing creams on the body can help,” Clayton said.

In this case, basic is better. Stay clear of items with alcohol on the ingredient list. Alcohol likely means there are unnecessary additives in the product.

"Definitely steer away from the very fragrant lip balms, the things that all children love," Clayton said.

Dry skin can be an easy fix, but if it's gets so bad your child is having trouble sleeping, that’s when you should contact a professional.

"I think that's a good time to come see one of us,” Clayton said.

Some good, clean products to try include CeraVe, Cetaphil, and plain petrolatum jelly.

  • Click here to see more KATU Back to School stories.

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