Is Newborn Skin Peeling Normal?
As a new parent, you’re experiencing a range of emotions all at once. While you’re elated your newborn is finally here, you have a hundred questions and concerns going through your mind from eating schedules to flaky skin.
You may be wondering if it is normal for your newborn’s skin to peel? The good news is that it is perfectly normal.
Keep reading to learn more about what can cause newborn skin to peel and what you can do to help keep your baby’s skin healthy and soft.
What Causes Newborn Skin Peeling?
All newborns go through a skin-peeling process during their first few weeks of life outside of the womb. While this is completely normal, there may be other factors that cause your newborn’s skin to peel.
While still in the womb, a protective covering is formed on your baby’s skin around the 20th week. This protective layer is called vernix or vernix caseosa.
While most of the vernix is washed off during a newborn’s first bath, some may remain in creviced skin peeling off on its own in the weeks to follow. This is normal and the vernix should not be intentionally washed off as it will continue to protect your newborn’s skin against harsh elements.
Once the vernix is completely gone, your newborn becomes more susceptible to conditions that may irritate their delicate skin easily.
Newborns that are born at or after 40 weeks gestation have less vernix than those born before 40 weeks gestation. This may cause full-term newborns to have more skin peeling.
Not only will a bath wash away the vernix, but a bath will also strip away the natural oils in your newborn’s skin. And the longer the bath, the more oil and moisture is washed away. This may result in dry, flaky skin that is prone to peeling.
Your newborn’s environment plays a big role in the health of their skin. A newborn’s skin is thin and sensitive so any change in their environment may cause their skin to dry more easily resulting in peeling skin.
If your newborn has been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis or eczema, it may be more prone to dry or peeling skin beyond the first few weeks. Eczema is not contagious. It is, however, an ongoing skin condition that may not go away until your newborn hits its toddler years.
Common symptoms of eczema include:
- Dry, flaky, or peeling skin
- Red or chafed skin
- Itchy skin
- Rash on the neck, face, and creviced areas such as knees and elbows
While there is no cure for eczema, there are ways to manage these symptoms and keep your baby comfortable.
How to Manage Your Newborn's Peeling Skin
The process of your newborn’s skin peeling off may take several weeks. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help soothe your newborn’s skin.
Postpone Baby's Firth Bath
Babies are born covered in a protective covering of vernix. Keeping the vernix on for a while after birth may help to keep your newborn’s skin stay moisturized and protected from the elements of dry air. After all, they’ve been floating in amniotic fluids for 9 months.
Keep Baths Short
Your newborn’s skin is thin and delicate so long baths can easily remove oil and moisture. Try to keep bath time to under 10 minutes.
Additionally, newborns don’t need to bathe more than once per day. Most likely three to four baths per week is enough to keep your newborn clean without drying out their skin too much.
However, always make sure to pat your newborn completely dry after a bath, especially in creviced areas such as their elbows. Trapped moisture could lead to a rash.
Use Lukewarm Water During Bath Time
Hot water can easily irritate and dry your newborn’s skin. Instead, use lukewarm water testing out the water before placing your newborn in the water.
Use Cleansers Specially Made for Babies
Soaps and cleansers made for adults may be too harsh for your newborn’s sensitive skin. Instead, use a gentle cleanser specially formulated for babies that is hypoallergenic and made with natural ingredients, like our Baby Shampoo + Body Wash.
Apply Baby Moisturizer
Always follow bath time with an all-over moisturizer formulated for babies. For extra dry areas that need a little TLC, apply a layer of our fragrance-free nourishing Baby Cream.
Use a Humidifier
Consider using a humidifier especially in rooms that are drying or in harsh weather conditions such as wintertime. While you may be fine, your newborn’s skin is much more sensitive to dry air.
Use a Gentle Detergent
Avoid detergents that are filled with fragrances or dyes. Look for gentle “free and clear” laundry detergents.
Make sure to wash all materials including clothes and blankets with a gentle detergent before using them on your newborn.
Dress Your Baby in Gentle Clothing
It’s also important to make sure your newborn is dressed in breathable, loose clothing made with gentle fabric such as cotton. This also applies to blankets, swaddles, and bibs.
Keep Your Baby Under the Shade
With thin sensitive skin, your newborn can get sunburned easily. That doesn’t mean you can’t leave the house with your newborn.
It just means whenever you’re out and about, keep your newborn shaded away from the sun preferably under their stroller’s canopy or in long-sleeved clothing with a wide-brimmed hat.
The Bottom Line
Newborn skin peeling is completely normal and expected for the first few weeks. And while newborn skin care might seem daunting as a new parent, once you get the hang of it it’ll be a breeze.
Even after your newborn’s skin stops peeling, its skin still remains sensitive. Make sure to keep their skin protected and moisturized such as with our Baby Cream to prevent dryness.
Before you know it, your baby’s skin will be adjusted to life outside the womb and be as soft and supple as ever.