How To Protect Your Babies Soft Skin
If you believe all babies have perfect skin, you are among good company. You may be surprised to learn this is not true. During your baby's first year, skin blemishes are common. Both the skin and immune system of your newborn is delicate.
The most common newborn rashes are from dyes in baby clothing, fragrances and chemicals. The result is often rashes, chafing and dry skin. There is a lot you can do to protect the soft, delicate skin of your baby.
If you bathe your baby daily, you should use soaps and shampoos created to avoid allergic reactions. Use a gentle soap and lukewarm water when you wash your baby. Turn off all fans and air conditioners before you bathe your baby and make certain the room is warm. The following tips are also helpful.
- Use lukewarm water on baby skin, not hot
- After the bath, pat your baby dry before putting on a diaper or clothes
- Keep the bath to five to 10 minutes
- Do not use baby soap with dye
- Bathe your baby in a warm room
- Only use water when bathing your baby's face and eyes
Keeping Your Baby Away From the Sun
Your baby should spend as little time in the sun as possible. When your baby is outside, keep them out of the sun. This is true even in the winter. According to the FDA, if your baby is not a minimum of six months old, you should not use sunscreen. You should use the following recommendations instead.
- Keep your baby in a shady area whenever possible
- Use lightweight and loose-fitting clothes covering both your baby's legs and arms
- Put a hat on your baby to cover their ears and neck
- Keep your baby out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. since this is when UV rays are the most powerful
If you take your baby outside for any length of time, keeping them hydrated is important. You can use either formula or breastmilk. If your baby is at least six months of age, you should use sunscreen. The recommendation is a minimum of 15 SPF.
Avoiding Diaper Rash
If you see red skin in the area where your baby's diaper is, it is called diaper rash. This generally occurs from skin irritations including:
- A wet diaper has been left on your baby for too long
- Your baby is reacting to a specific brand of baby wipes, diapers or detergent
- You need to purchase larger diapers
Diaper rash can usually be avoided by:
- Allow the air covered by the diaper to remain in the open air
- When you realize your baby has a wet diaper, change it immediately
- If you see diaper rash, use a warm cloth to clean the area, then use zinc oxide cream
Baby skin is fragile and tender. Once your baby is born, their skin needs time to get used to the consistent changes of a new environment. To be safe, use organic, natural and hypoallergenic baby products without any chemicals. Hypoallergenic products do not contain perfumes or chemicals that can cause dryness and rashes.
Even if you test a new product on your baby's skin, they can still have a reaction. The recommendation is to use products specifically designed for baby skin such as gentle lotion, tear-free shampoo and mild baby soap. If your baby has a reaction to any of the products you use, consult with your pediatrician.
If your baby has an allergic reaction on their skin, it is called contact dermatitis. The appearance varies and can include peeling, dry, swollen or cracked skin. The most common allergens and irritants responsible for contact dermatitis include:
- Detergents and soaps
- Certain metals
Preventing Heat Rash
If your baby is overheated, a heat rash is possible. This generally appears where your baby's clothing is rubbing against their skin or near folds of skin. Look for tiny red spots appearing on the skin. If your baby has a light skin tone, heat rash is more noticeable.
If there is a blockage in the sweat glands, heat rash is likely. Sweat glands can become blocked or overworked due to ointments, oils or humid and hot weather. To treat the rash, keep your baby's skin cool and do not use any products with an oil base. You can often clear up the rash and itchiness with a washcloth or cool bath.
If the rash persists for more than three days, your baby has a minimum fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or it looks like there is an infection, contact your pediatrician as soon as possible.
Eczema is a red, itchy rash. This is a common condition if your family history includes atopic dermatitis, allergies or asthma. Eczema sometimes appears on the face and looks like a weepy rash. As time passes, it becomes scaly, dry and thick. Eczema can also appear on the arms, elbows, back of the knees and chest.
You need to identify the triggers and avoid them for treatment. Use gentle, organic or hypoallergenic detergent and soaps and use moisturizer in moderate amounts. If the eczema is severe, your baby may need a prescription medication.
One of the most common skin conditions is cradle cap. Your baby can develop it between three weeks and three months of age. Look for greasy, yellowish patches on the crown of the head and the scalp. These are called plaques. Your baby can also develop cradle cap around their ears and on the eyebrows and forehead.
Cradle cap generally disappears on its own. It can be helpful to use a little emollient like mineral oil on the area affected before bathing your baby. Use gentle shampoo when you wash your baby's head and scalp. If there is no improvement after washing the area several times, talk to your pediatrician about other treatments.
If your newborn has dry, peeling skin, there is usually no reason to be concerned. This is common with babies born a bit late. The skin beneath is most likely moist, soft and healthy. If the dryness persists, speak with your pediatrician.
You should be extra careful when you decide which talcum powder you want to use. Select products created just for babies. Do not use any product with chemicals or fragrances since they can potentially irritate sensitive baby skin. Avoid powers containing grains. Consider using herbal powders for the diaper area.
The general rule is to avoid using powders on the diaper area since this can cause infections or complications in the future.
You may not realize the diapers you are using for your baby can help keep them fresh and clean. Be aware, some diapers can cause your baby's skin to become irritated, infected or result in a rash. As soon as the diaper has become soiled, you should change your baby as quickly as possible.
If you see any irritation in the diaper area, select a different brand or type of diaper to help prevent diaper rash. If a diaper remains on your baby for too long after being soiled, the result can be an infection.