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New Baby Skincare 101

New Baby Skincare 101

When you finally get to meet your bundle of joy and take your baby home from the hospital, it can be an overwhelming -- and joyous -- experience. And with everything going on, it can be hard to feel like you’re getting things right. One common question that all new mama bears have? What should I do about baby skincare? 

After all, the last thing you want to do is irritate your baby’s skin or use products that they don’t really need. 

Here’s what you should know. 

Understanding Baby’s Skin 

First, it’s important to note that your baby’s skin won’t always be “baby soft.” In fact, most newborns have some kind of redness, flaking, sensitivity, or discoloration -- particularly during their first few months of life. 

More specifically, you can expect to see conditions like

  • Cradle cap: Otherwise known as baby dandruff, cradle cap is a type of dermatitis that can often occur on the scalp during baby’s first three months. 
  • Diaper rash: All babies wind up getting diaper rash at some point. Characterized by red patches or bumps on baby’s skin, diaper rash is often caused by fungus, moisture, or exposure to stool and urine. 
  • Erythema toxicum: A common condition that can affect babies in their first month, this is marked by yellowish papules surrounded by red skin on the face, trunk, arms, or thighs. 
  • Rashes: Babies also often get acne-type rashes or ‘flea bite’ spots all over their bodies. 
  • Eczema: Infants can also easily get eczema, which is marked by dry, itchy and scaly patches. 

  • Most of these conditions are benign and easily resolved, though you should keep an eye out for any signs of infection like boils, extreme redness, or cracked and bleeding skin. If you don’t see any of these signs, you can likely resolve the irritation yourself (and make baby much more comfortable) with gentle and soothing skincare products.

    Do You Need to Apply Skincare to Baby? 

    Even if your baby isn’t showing signs of rash or sensitivity, you should use some skincare (though it definitely shouldn’t be elaborate). 

    You’ll want to stick to a simple routine of gentle, non-toxic, hypoallergenic products that are free from irritating or harmful ingredients like dyes, deodorants, fragrance, and alcohol. 

    Look particularly for a:

    • Gentle shampoo and body wash with moisturizing and non-irritating natural ingredients like arnica extract and jojoba oil.
    • Lotion or baby oil with moisturizing jojoba and skin-soothing calendula. 
    • Diaper balm with a natural zinc oxide mineral base. 


    What to Use for Baby’s First Bath 

    As far as bath time is concerned, you’ll only want to bathe your baby two or three times a week to ensure that you don’t irritate their skin or strip it of its natural oils. A few tips and tricks: 

    • Make sure that the water is warm, not hot.
    • Only use two or three inches of water.
    • Pour cupfuls of water over baby’s shoulders to keep him/her from getting cold.
    • Gently wash their body and scalp using your shampoo and body wash and a warm washcloth. You can also use a cotton ball to gently clean the face. 
    • Apply baby oil immediately when they get out of the bath to seal in the moisture. 

    Other No-No Ingredients to Avoid 

    It may seem counterintuitive, but you should steer clear of baby powder. Your baby could inadvertently inhale it, and you definitely don’t want to deal with that. 

    What’s more, sunscreen isn’t recommended for babies under six months old. Instead, dress your baby in long sleeves and wide-brim hats to avoid overexposure. Then, once your baby hits six months, be sure to use sunscreens with inorganic filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. 

    Final Tips and Tricks 

    A couple more rules of thumb? Be mindful of moisture and the sun. When it comes to moisture, remember to keep the folds of your baby’s skin dry. Many rashes -- including diaper rash -- are often caused by moisture getting stuck in the folds of baby’s skin. This can lead to chafing, peeling, and redness -- so wiping away any extra dool, water, sweat, or urine from baby’s skin can make all the difference. 

    Happy skin, happy baby!