Now that you have your newborn at home with you, you may be wondering what newborn skincare is all about. You may struggle with your own adult skincare, so you may be thinking how you’ll even start thinking about your newborn’s skincare. We want to help diminish some of that anxiety and share some newborn skincare secrets with you!
Before sharing our daily care secrets, here is the first important factoid to know about newborn skin. Yes, newborn skin is DIFFERENT from adult skin. One difference is that babies in general have a larger body surface area. This means that topical medicated preparations can have a systemic (i.e. in your bloodstream) effect rather than a localized effect on your baby. So, by knowing this important fact, be sure to reconsider applying medicated products like topical hydrocortisone cream all over your baby’s body. The next important difference in newborn versus adult skin is that newborns have a thinner outer layer (aka epidermis) of skin than adults. A thinner outer layer of skin means increased risk to irritation. Be cautious of using too much soap and fragranced products for this reason. Finally, baby skin has higher water content than adult skin. Because of this, baby skin has quicker absorption as well as quicker water loss. Keep this in mind when you give your baby a bath. Despite what you may think, longer bath times result in increased water loss and drier baby skin.
• When can a newborn have a bath? You should wait to put your baby in a baby bathtub of water until the umbilical cord falls off. This usually takes about 10 to 14 days to happen. Before that, only do a “sponge” bath by just wiping your baby clean.
• How hot should the water be? Use warm, soothing water. Test the water yourself to make sure the water temperature is not too hot. You yourself are the best tester of the water rather than a water temperature gadget.
• Can soap be used on your newborn skin? Yes, soap can be used but look for a 2-in-1 bathtime wash that has a tear-free formulation and can be used for both hair and skin. Don’t use too much soap! Remember, newborn skin is not that dirty so just use soap on the “dirty” areas such as the hands, feet, groin, and hair.
• Use a soft bristle brush with a pea-sized amount of cleanser to clean your baby’s head. Doing this helps to physically exfoliate away the excess skin and oil buildup to prevent cradle cap.
• Which are the best moisturizers for newborn skincare? Ointments are better than creams and creams are better than lotions at hydrating and locking in the natural moisture that our skin has. Choose a cream as your newborn’s daily moisturizer. If any irritation or redness develops, switch over to an ointment as the daily moisturizer.
• Can fragranced products be used? Use fragrance-FREE products since fragrance is one of the most common causes of allergic contact allergies. You don’t want to start getting your newborn’s skin sensitized too early. You can use products that are scented with an essential oil that has a low allergenic profile such as lavender, rosemary or thyme.
• When is the best time to put on a moisturizer? Right after bath! When your baby’s skin still feels damp after bath, apply the moisturizer all over baby’s skin. This helps to lock in the moisture and hydrate the skin.
We hope these simple tips and secrets help you with your newborn skincare. Check out Dr. Amy’s Daily 4 videos to learn more about how to Splash in the bath for the nightly bathtime routine and Slather on the cream at night to moisturize baby’s skin.