Dry Skin In Babies: Causes, Symptoms And Ways To Prevent

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Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Dry Skin In Babies Causes, Symptoms And Ways To Prevent

As delicate as babies look, their skin is 3 times more delicate, soft, tender, and prone to various skin conditions and dryness. Your baby is prone to skin irritation, rashes, and skin dryness. Read on to find more on dry skin in babies’ causes, symptoms, and treatment.

This is a very normal phenomenon, and most babies experience these conditions during the initial months. Babies are born with a white substance-like coating called vernix caseosa. Once the baby is born, the doctor wipes off this creamy layer, thereby exposing the baby’s skin to the natural environment, for the first time ever. This is majorly why your baby’s skin might get dry. Read on to find more on dry skin in babies’ causes, symptoms, and treatment. pregnancy pillow

In This Article

What Are the Causes of Dry Skin in Babies?

The major reason for skin dryness is when the skin loses its moisture. The skin might suffer irritation, rashes or pimples depending on the severity of moisture loss. The dryness of the skin causes the epidermis (the upper most layer of the skin) to shed. Here’re some factors that are responsible for this:

1. Weather Conditions

Different weather affects the skin differently. As we already know that a baby’s skin is 3x more sensitive to that of an adult and therefore the loss in humidity can cause the skin to dry, and vice versa.

2. Long Baths

If you bathe your baby for long durations, it can wash away the natural skin oils. This leaves the skin unprotected, and exposed to dryness.

3. Soaps

Using harsh soaps, or other harsh bathing products for your baby can way away your baby’s natural protective skin oils.

4. Chlorinated Water

Bathing baby in chemically-treated or chlorinated water ( On big cities you have no choice but rely on this) can bring about dry skin in babies.

5. Room Temperature

If your centralised heating mechanism makes the baby’s room too hot or if the air condition makes the room too cold, the moisture level in the air in the room will reduce and in due course dries out the baby’s skin.

What are the Symptoms of Dry Skin in Babies?

peel off skin in babies

These are the most common signs that will help you decode skin dryness in your infant:

  • White layers that peel off
  • Flaky skin, which gets worse when you wipe
  • Dry Patches
  • Itchy red patches
  • Texture of the skin becomes rough and scaly
  • Cracked and rough skin

When to Seek Medical Advice?

If you see that the fine cracks in your baby’s skin are getting deeper, or even bleeding now and then, you should consult your doctor immediately. Here are some other symptoms that might want you to take your baby to a doctor:

  • Dry skin causing solic outbreaks
  • Dry skin and fever
  • Yellowish pus
  • Swelling of the skin

How to Treat Dry Skin in Babies?

As mentioned earlier, skin dryness is caused due to various reasons, and the treatment totally relies on the cause. Here are a few simple methods to treat skin dryness in your little one:

Moisturising Lotion

Apply baby skin lotion to your infant. Ensure that the skin is moisturised after a bath, and at equal intervals.

Topical Ointment

These ointments target the core problems of skin and provide relied.

Could Dry Skin be a Sign of Some Other Skin Condition?

red patch on baby face

Yes. Dry skin can be an indication of several skin issues as well. Here are four common skin issues that cause dry skin in babies:


This is an allergic skin condition that causes itchy red patches mainly on the cheeks and forehead of the baby. Skin dryness is one of the primary symptoms of eczema.

Pityriasis Alba

This is a skin condition that is associated with eczema. Here, itchy red patches appear only on the face, neck, arms, or belly.


Even though looks like eczema, it is a more serious autoimmune disease. It is not common among the babies but dry skin is one of the primary symptom of this skin condition.

Cradle Cap

Cradle cap is quite common and zero serious. These dry flakes appear on the scalp of the newborns and will resolve on its own.

Therefore, if your child feels irritable and the patches don’t fade in spite of regular moisturizing, you might want to see a doctor.

9 Natural Ways to Treat Dry Skin in Babies

9 Natural Ways to Treat Dry Skin in Babies

The following are the natural ways to deal with dry skin in babies:

1. Limit Bath Time

Cut down the bathing hours of your baby. As discussed above, long hours in water can aggravate the dryness.

2. Avoid Harsh Bathing Products

Avoid harsh soaps and toiletries for your baby. Use mild products that go easy on your little one’s skin.

3. Use Moisturisers

Use lotions, head-to-toe ointments, or creams to drive away the dryness. Applying it within three minutes after a baby’s bath is more effective in dealing with dry skin. This will lock moisture in the baby’s skin.

4. Use Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly helps to combat the skin dryness of your baby by locking in the moisture of the skin. Apply a thin layer to the dry patches of the baby’s skin.

5. Chose Clothes Wisely

Use clothes which have a soft fabric. Always switch to gentle and breathable cotton clothes once the baby shows signs of dry skin. Completely avoid clothes made from synthetic fiber as synthetic clothes aggravate irritation and itching of the dry skin.

6. Keep Baby Well Hydrated

Keep your baby hydrated, regardless of the weather. A hydrated baby leads to hydrated skin. This is the most natural and efficient way to avoid skin dryness.

7. Oil Massage

Oil massage not only helps to combat the skin dryness of the baby, it also increases the blood flow towards the skin.

8. Use Baby Friendly Detergent

Wash your baby’s clothes separately, in baby detergent. Regular detergents are harsh, and some particles may stay back in the clothes even after drying. This might affect your baby’s clothes and irritates their dry skin eventually.

9. Use Humidifiers

Use indoor air agents and humidifiers to protect your baby’s skin. Indoor humidifiers maintain the levels of humidity in the air, thus protecting the baby’s skin.

Five Amazing Home Remedies for Dry Skin in Babies

baby oil

Try these easy home remedies for your baby’s dry skin:

1. Coconut Oil

This is the most natural and easily available moisturiser. Apply a thin layer of coconut oil on your baby’s skin post bath. You can even apply if a couple of hours before the bath and then wash it off completely.

2. Almond Oil

It is said to be rich in Vitamin E and antioxidants which help in nourishing your baby’s skin. Use plain almond oil and massage your baby with it.

3. Breast Milk

If you’re breastfeeding your infant, you can apply a thin layer of your breast-milk all over your baby’s skin. Breast-milk is said to be a effective for almost all baby health issues.

4. Avocado

Mash avocado and apply it all over your baby’s skin. Leave for approximately 10 minutes and then wash off. It provides multiple nutrients and aids in skin dryness.

5. Aloe Vera

Rich in antifungal and antibacterial properties, aloe vera can be a great healing agent. Cut a small piece of Aloe vera, squeeze the gel on your fingers and gently apply it on your baby’s skin. Let it soak into the skin completely. You can either wash it off or let it be. Repeat it twice to thrice a week and see it work like magic!

How to Prevent Your Baby From Getting Dry Skin?

Prevention is better than cure. Several skin conditions are hereditary and we can do nothing in that case. However, by following these tips you can prevent common skin dryness in babies:

  • Use lukewarm water to bathe the baby.
  • Pat dry instead of wiping.
  • Avoid frequent bathing.
  • Make oil massaging the baby a practice before bathing.
  • When taking the baby outside, make sure he or she is well covered.
  • Use the right baby soap that is devoid of chemicals. Avoid soaps with a strong fragrances.
  • Wash baby’s clothes in baby friendly detergents.

It is always advised to consult your doctor before you try any new product on your baby so that you would, as a parent, know exactly what works better.


1. My Baby Won’t Stop Scratching. How Can I Help?

Dry skin can be itchy. If applying creams doesn’t help, cover your baby’s hands with mittens. This will protect them from bad scratches.

2. How do I Know if it’s Just Dry Skin or Something More Serious?

If your baby shows only the above-mentioned symptoms, it could be just dry skin. Unless it is accompanied by rashes and other symptoms, you need not worry. The best person to answer this will be your doctor, after physically examining your baby.

3. Can Dry Skin Be Hereditary?

Yes, it can be a genetic issue passed down to your baby. Though it cannot be stopped, it can be controlled. Catch it early and you can adopt a good skincare routine for your baby.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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