Your baby’s skin, so soft, smooth and silky, that you just can’t help but touch it. As a mom, you have the joy of nuzzling those chubby little cheeks, dimpled thighs, tiny fingers and toes. You also have the responsibility of caring for and protecting your baby’s delicate skin from irritation, chemicals, allergies and the environment, just to name a few. Skincare can seem complicated with the plethora of products, medical studies and opinions in the marketplace – so we’ve compiled some basic, easy-to-follow skincare basics to give you the confidence and knowledge to nourish and soothe your baby’s skin.
Baby Skin Care Basic #1: Cleanse. We know that babies are not that dirty, but you still want to follow a regular, nighttime bath routine. Not only is this calming for your baby, but you also wash away oils and excess dry skin that can lead to cradle cap and other skin conditions. Using warm water in most areas is more than sufficient. Save your fragrance-free, ph-balanced soap for the areas that need it, like baby bottoms and chubby folds of skin. For step-by-step instructions on how to give a slippery newborn a bath, read and watch our bath time video: Tub Time Tips.
Baby Skin Care Basic #2: Moisturize. Moisture replenishes what your baby’s skin loses and gives your child a protective barrier, so you want to do this on a regular basis, usually morning and evening. What type of moisturizer should you choose? Creams are good choices because they contain more oil, go on smoothly, and contain humectants, which help the skin retain moisture. Lotions can also work and are very easy to apply, but may dry out sensitive skin. Ointments provide the best moisture but are rather greasy and don’t absorb well. You may want to vary the use of these, depending on whether it’s after bath, applied to dry skin or at bedtime. Regardless of which you use, always choose fragrance-free as fragrances are one of the leading allergens today. Additionally, while preservatives are necessary to prevent bacterial and fungal growth, avoid harmful ones like parabens and phthalates.
Baby Skin Care Basic #3: Prevent. As moms, we’re taught to watch for certain skin conditions – baby acne, cradle cap, diaper rash and even eczema – and there are steps you can take to help prevent these. For example, you always want to apply a good emollient (moisturizer that prevents water loss) in the diaper area every day and especially at night. Gentle soaps, creams and ointments – not simply lotions – are great tools for eczema prevention, and may be especially prudent for families where food and respiratory allergies (a common link with eczema) are present. (For more information on eczema prevention and treatment, read The “Did You Knows” of Eczema.) Also, a regular baby bath, complete with a soft-bristle brush for the head and scalp, can help in the fight against cradle cap and baby acne. Finally, everyone should avoid sun exposure, but it’s especially important for your child. Always ensure your child is properly clothed and protected from the sun. Avoid openly exposing a newborn to the sun’s most harmful rays between the hours of 10am–4pm. For babies six months and older, you should apply – and reapply – sunscreen from head-to-toe at least 15 minutes before you go out into the sun. These are all simple but powerful steps when used in a daily regimen.
Baby Skin Care Basic #4: Treat. Your baby’s skin is sensitive and delicate so when unwanted conditions and irritations occur, know your treatment options.
- Diaper Rash: Typically, an over-the-counter anti-yeast cream – applied two to three times a day over the course of two to three days – will take care of diaper rash.
- Eczema: For the early signs, eliminate any creams and step up the moisture with ointments. If a rash develops, you should treat it with an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream (1-2%). Again, do this regularly, 2-3 times a day for two to three days.
- Cradle Cap: Using a soft bristle brush over your baby’s head and scalp and a warm wet wash cloth around the face and eyes will help to prevent cradle cap. If faced with cradle cap, combine this routine with a medicated shampoo containing salicylic acid and a 1% hydrocortisone cream 1-2 times a day. Do not use the shampoo on the baby’s face – just on the scalp.
- Sunburn: If your baby’s skin does become red after sun exposure (typically 6-8 hours after being outside), use a soothing cream like Baby Pibu™’s Rash Relief that contains the appropriate amount of hydrocortisone. Cool compresses can also help soothe and relieve the irritation.
Finally, use the 2-3 day rule of thumb. If you’re not seeing improvement in this time frame (for any of the above skin conditions), consult a dermatologist for additional help.
With these baby skincare basics, you can rest assured that you’re doing the right things for your baby’s health and skin, and keeping those cheeks soft and kissable for years to come!
~Happy Monday from the Baby Pibu™ team!