Bringing home a newborn from the hospital is one of the most memorable times in a parent’s life; however, it can also be one of the most intimidating. There are so many fears, questions, and uncertainties. One of the most common fears for parents is newborn skin care. When we daydream about our new bundles of joy, many of us picture their beautiful silky smooth skin. The reality is that most newborns have skin that is dry, blotchy, and bumpy. Being a pediatrician, I get tons of questions and concerns about newborn rashes and skin care. So, today I am going to answer some of the most common questions about newborn skin care for you, and think you will actually be surprised by some of the answers!
Is dry skin in babies particularly common? Should I be worried if my baby’s skin is dry? It is very common for newborns to have dry skin and develop areas of peeling. While you are pregnant, your baby’s skin is protected by a thick substance called vernix. After birth, the nurses will give your baby a bath and wash off this waxy substance that coats your newborn’s body. Within a week or two after birth, the top layer of your baby’s skin will begin to peel. If the peeling is minimal, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. It is important to use a great moisturizer that utilizes natural ingredients to put moisture back into the skin, especially after baths!
What is the best way to keep your baby’s skin soft? Most importantly, avoid harsh chemicals! Many parents make the mistake of trying to treat their baby’s common bumps, blotches, and peeling areas with an exfoliate or acne products. These brands contain harsh chemicals that can dry out your baby’s skin making the rash even worse. One of my favorite skin care lines to recommend to my patients is Mustela. Mustela skin products are formulated in France, where the cosmetic safety guidelines are the strictest in the world, so their products are free from the 1,400 ingredients that are banned by the European Union. Every Mustela product is derived from 95% natural ingredients and is 100% hypoallergenic. Remember, most of the time newborn rashes bothers us more than it bothers our baby. Use a moisturizer two to three times per day and give it time. Most dry skin will resolve on its own. Also, instead of washing your newborn’s sheets, blankets, and clothes in a normal detergent, look for a detergent that is designated for newborns. Finally, avoid shampoos and body soaps that have strong scents.
Can bathing cause dry skin? If so, why? Contrary to popular belief, bathing your infant every night is not only unnecessary, it can be bad for your baby’s skin. The skin of an infant is very sensitive and tends to be dry. As we delicately wash their little bodies, we are removing the skin’s natural oils and moisture. This makes a baby’s skin dry and can worsen certain conditions, such as cradle cap. My recommendation is that you bathe your infant three times per week for the first few months.
What kinds of moisturizers do you recommend? The skin of your newborn baby is thinner than your own. Therefore, they lose moisture much quicker and are prone to developing dry skin. It is important that if your baby does develop some dryness, that you use a hypoallergenic fragrance-free moisturizer. You want to find moisturizers that contain natural ingredients. In my studies to become a pediatrician, I learned that some of the best remedies for skin rashes are found in nature. That is why I love the Mustela! They have their own team of researchers that travel the globe to find the very best natural, yet safe and effective ingredients to protect and hydrate newborn skin. In fact, Mustela identified a rare molecule, within the heart of the Fuerte avocado, that met these criteria and eventually patented it under the name Avocado Perseose®. Mustela utilizes Avocado Perseose® in their moisturizers to reinforce the skin moisture barrier and maintain hydration. Make sure to apply moisturizer to your baby’s areas of dryness after bathing, and once or twice during the day. A great tip is to incorporate light massage with a moisturizer into their nighttime routine. A bedtime routine is also important for establishing good sleep hygiene for your infant. It serves as a cue that it is nighttime, and helps your baby differentiate between a nap and bedtime. A light massage with peaceful music is a great way to relax your infant and establish that it is time to go to sleep, while also maintaining the health of their skin!
What are the symptoms of baby eczema and when should you consult your pediatrician? It is important to identify your baby’s skin type. Mustela has an amazing diagnostic quiz that determines your newborn’s skin type, and make recommendations for skin products based upon the quiz results. Mustela uses four different skin types: normal, dry, eczema-prone, and very sensitive. The products for each skin type use a different natural active ingredient to address different skin needs. Please remember that although most cases of skin dry and peeling in a newborn are normal, there are certain conditions that cause persistent dryness and extreme peeling. Eczema can cause the skin to become red, inflamed, itchy, dry and rough. This condition does have a strong genetic component; however, it does not necessarily have to run in your family for your baby to be prone to eczema. There are certain detergents, foods, and other products that can cause eczema to flare up. If your baby develops persistent dryness and extreme peeling, it is important that you have him or her evaluated by their pediatrician.
This post is sponsored but the opinions are absolutely my own. I love the Mustela line and highly recommend it for all baby skin types, and especially if your baby suffers from dry skin or eczema. I hope this helps with your newborn journey!