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Published on April 13, 2015

Soft Enough to Kiss: Skin Care for Your Baby

April 13, 2015

baby with lipstick kisses on faceExperts agree: You don’t need to take many steps or use a lot of expensive products to keep your infant’s skin clean and healthy. In fact, less may be more.

Your baby’s skin is just…delectable. You want to burrow your face into her neck and savor her milky smell. You love to stroke her plump cheeks and caress the delicate fuzz on her head. Here’s how to care for your baby’s beautiful skin.

Bath Time

At bath time, lukewarm water and a soft cloth are the basics you need. Experts agree that a few baths a week are best for a young infant—daily baths can dry out skin. If your baby doesn’t smell dirty, clean water is fine. The rest of the time, use a mild, moisturizing baby soap or shampoo (they often come as a combined product). Avoid scented products and bubble baths. Pay attention to the creases between his toes, under his arms and around his neck.

After bathing your baby, dry his skin thoroughly to avoid chafing. Typically, there’s no need for baby oils or lotions. If his skin does seem dry, use a baby lotion without added colors or scents.

Diaper Changes

A baby’s diaper area definitely needs attention to keep the skin dry and free of rashes. The first line of defense: Change her diapers regularly.

Next: Choose the right products to keep her clean without irritating her skin. Dermatologists suggest soft cloths and warm water, rather than premoistened diaper wipes, as a gentle way to clean a baby’s bottom. Use mild baby soap if needed. Dry her skin thoroughly and cover chapped areas or rashes with a barrier-creating ointment containing zinc oxide. If you can, leave her bare for a while before diapering her again.

If she does develop diaper rash or dermatitis in the diaper area, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using nonprescription corticosteroid ointment. Consult your pediatrician if diaper-area irritations persist.

No Powder

The safety of ingredients in some baby skin products has been questioned. Talc, found in talcum powder, does not harm skin, but can result in breathing problems if inhaled. Long-term talc inhalation may cause poisoning. Since other baby powders can also be aspirated, too, it’s best not to use any powder on your baby.

Cradle Cap

Your baby may develop a scaly white or yellow crust on his or her scalp. Ranging from patchy and dandruff-like to thick and even oozing, cradle cap can be a challenge to treat.

Some physicians believe overactive skin oil glands and hair follicles cause cradle cap by producing too much oil. A yeast known as malassezia can grow in skin oils, contributing to the problem.

To get rid of cradle cap, massage your baby’s scalp gently while washing hair to loosen the patches (don’t scratch or pick them off). You may want to wash your baby’s hair every day for a while. Experts suggest rubbing a little mineral oil into a baby’s scalp to soften cradle cap. Be sure to shampoo afterward; don’t leave the oil on a baby’s skin.

If cradle cap persists, your pediatrician may prescribe a medicated shampoo. 


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