Taking Care of Your Baby’s Delicate Skin
There is much to worry about when it comes to keeping your newborn baby safe and healthy. Not only do you have to pay close attention to their eating and sleeping habits, but their skin as well. Babies have very sensitive and delicate skin which is prone to dryness and rashes. Because of this, proper skincare for your baby is important.
Your baby’s skin can be affected by all kinds of fragrances and chemicals that you might not realize can be harmful. Thankfully there are many ways you can keep your newborn from experiencing uncomfortable skin issues.
Skin Problems Your Baby Might Experience
Some rashes for newborns are normal. After his first week of life, your baby’s skin will peel off. This peeling will occur naturally. There’s no need to try to rush the removal of it with creams or lotions.
There are several common skin conditions that most babies will experience in their first months of life, such as cradle cap and diaper rash. Some, like cradle cap, are harmless and mostly unpreventable, while others, like diaper rash, could result from a multitude of reasons, like unchanged diapers or antibiotics.
The key to treating any of your baby’s skin problems, from normal rashes to infections, is patience. It can be tricky to figure out what exactly is causing your baby to have such flare-ups. Keep in contact with your baby’s doctor to learn if your little one might be experiencing an allergy or something common and treatable.
Keeping Your Baby’s Skin Protected
While some skin irritations are unpredictable, here are a few tips to keep your baby’s skin safe and healthy.
- Try not to use scented baby products like lotions and creams. Fragrances can irritate the skin.
- Don’t bathe your baby too frequently. Though bath time is wonderful for parents and their babies because of the bonding it allows, too many baths can cause your baby to have dry skin. Experts recommend bathing your baby no more than three times per week in his first year. Between baths, just use water and a gentle cleanser to keep his face and bottom clean.
- Wash all of your baby’s new clothes before he wears them. Use baby-specific laundry detergent, which is dye and fragrance-free.
- Keep your little one out of direct sunlight for her first few months of life. UV rays can be harmful to anyone, but especially to that delicate baby skin. Use protective clothing like a hat and socks as well as a dab of sunscreen to prevent any sunburns to your newborn’s delicate skin. Sunscreen can safely be used on babies older than six months.
Recognizing and Treating Newborn Skin Conditions
Some common baby skin conditions include diaper rash, milia, eczema, and cradle cap. Anytime you’re uncertain about the type or cause for your baby’s skin problems, reach out to a doctor, but here are a few tips for treating more mild cases of these conditions.
Cause: Prolonged exposure to feces or urine in the diaper, allergies to diaper material or other products used on the skin, or antibiotics.
Symptoms: Irritated, red skin around the diaper area or bumps, sores, and blisters in more severe cases.
Treatment: Make sure your baby’s diapers fit properly and that they are changed frequently; spread a thick layer of diaper rash cream, witch hazel, or hydrocortisone cream around the affected area.
Cause: Dead skin flakes being trapped under the skin.
Symptoms: Small, white bumps on a baby’s nose, chin, or cheeks.
Treatment: Typically will go away on its own after a couple of weeks, but you can still wash your baby’s face with a gentle cleanser and avoid using oils and lotions around the affected area.
Cause: Dryer-than-normal skin or exposure to allergens such as household products or pet dander.
Symptoms: A rash that is red, itchy, and sometimes painful that can appear on the face or the arms and legs.
Treatment: Baby-safe moisturizers, gentle baths, or doctor-prescribed ointments.
Cause: Mostly unknown by doctors.
Symptoms: Yellow, scaly patches on a baby’s head, though it’s not at all harmful, and can also sometimes appear on the neck and shoulders.
Treatment: Avoid washing your baby’s hair too often, but when you do, brush off the scales with a soft brush and use baby oil on the affected area.
Moms Share Their Baby Skin Care Tips and Routines
“We rarely used soap and never lotion. There was no need for it. Our guy is 16 months, and we only use soap once a week during bath time. He gets baths about every two days.” – Tasha March
“Less is more. We didn’t use any soap for months. He wears all-cotton clothing, and we only did baths every 2-3 days. Used only free and clear detergent. Check folds for wetness and try to keep them as dry as possible. Naked time and diaper-free time is great. Most of the baby skin issues are just about waiting for it to pass (like baby acne).” –Greta Wren
“We use The Honest Co. bath products and love it! I was deciding between that and Tubby Todd but Honest was available to me immediately at Target, so that’s what I tried. If you’re breastfeeding I’ve heard moms swear by milk baths but we haven’t tried it yet!” –Courtney Matthews
“We only use soap when needed — and nothing with fragrances. In the beginning, when she had some dry patches I mixed coconut oil with breast milk. Now she’s six months old and gets a bit broken out with eczema I use Aveno fragrance-free, which works pretty well.” –Jessie Martin
“I have always used coconut oil. My little guy bathes every other day (he’s 3). But that’s always been the routine. I use soap twice a week. Other times he sits in the bubble bath and plays. I use a leave-in conditioner for his hair to help the texture. Since he’s multiracial I try to be mindful of his hair.” –Marlene Atkins
“My daughter gets baths every couple of days. She’s 22 months and is immobile, so she doesn’t get dirty enough to need a lot of baths. I use Burt’s Bees wash and it’s corresponding BB oil. I give her a lot of naked baby time, and she wears mostly all cotton.” –Shawna Bradley
“We still limit the showers my 7 year old daughter takes. If she takes a daily shower, her eczema acts up. Coconut oil was just the best for her cradle crap.” – Abrah Zion, Miss Z Photography
Abrah, aka “Miss Z”, aka “The Baby Whisperer”, is a multi award winning and internationally published maternity, newborn, baby, child and family photographer. She offers business heads shots and teaches camera and editing classes as well. Her clients come to her from all over New England including Boston, Providence, Cape Cod as well as all over the Southcoast – New Bedford, Dartmouth, Acushnet, Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, Rochester, Marion, Middleboro, Wareham, Westport, Fall River, Somerset, Swansea, Berkley, Freetown, Taunton, Raynham and beyond. When she’s not capturing gorgeous images for her clients, she’s enjoying chasing after her two daughters and tabby cats, Sunny and Stormy. Abrah also enjoys listening to and dancing to 70’s and 80’s music and running (slowly) 5Ks.