Most of us grew up seeing a certain multinational brand’s baby skin care products ad where chubby babies with flawless skin were placed in the arms of rather confused and scared looking mothers. And many of us have – from that day – dreamt of a moment like that! However, when you have a baby in reality, the scene does not always involve thin pink and white curtains flying in light morning breeze and a quiet content baby who only coos. And supple and flawless skin? Forget about it. It’s wrinkly, red, dry and flaky, or full of baby acne!
Why Is It Important To Take Care Of Newborn Skin?
Skin is the largest organ, and newborn skin is a shield that protects them from the outside world, which is full of irritants, toxins and infections. It is through skin that a baby explores the sense of touch, and it helps in keeping the baby warm. Now that we know how crucial skin is, it is essential to understand that newborn skin is not like adults, because:
- It is thinner than adult skin
- It gets dry easily and often
- Is sensitive and so reactive to irritants
- It loses water faster than it absorbs
- It is delicate and regulates the body temperature
The above points emphasizes how crucial it is to be careful when using products on newborns. A rash, a cradle cap, or any other skin condition in newborns is enough to send parents in a panic mode. However, a careful approach to baby skin care can rest your worries and keep the baby happy.
Top 10 Baby Skincare Tips
Whether your newborn baby has modelling-worthy skin or problematic skin, it is important to care for it from the initial days. Read on to get our top 10 infant skin care tips:
- Do not expose her skin to chemicals: Your infant’s skin is very sensitive and delicate. It can react to chemicals in perfumes, detergents, cloth dyes and even baby products. This reaction can result in itchy dry skin or rashes. So keep away any skin irritants
- Do touch her often: While your baby’s skin sensitivity makes her more vulnerable to elements around her, it also makes her skin respond to your touch. When you touch your baby softly, it not only soothes her spirits, it also soothes her skin and gives it a nurturing effect. Your touch makes her feel secure and safe, and is important for your little one’s development. So touch her more and often
- Do not rub/peel off her dry skin: You might notice that your baby is shedding skin in the initial days. This is actually vernix, a protective layer formed on her skin while she was inside the womb. There is not no need to “treat” this peeling skin. Let it come off naturally
- Do wash all her new clothes: All baby clothes look super soft because the manufacturer has added softeners to it. These softener residues can react with your baby’s skin causing allergies. So ensure that you wash all your baby’s new clothes in a gentle fragrance-free detergent before its first worn
- Do not bathe her too many times: Experts say that if you bath the baby too frequently (everyday bathing is too frequent!), then it will strip her skin off natural oils. Clean her diaper area that she soils often. Clean her face where she drools a lot. You can give her a bath 2-3 times a week; rest of the days just give her a sponge bath. So should you bathe your baby with soap? Find here. Read more about baby’s bathing routine here
- Do not use too many baby skin products on her: Your baby’s skin can more often than not take care of itself. While it is tempting to dab their dry-looking skin with sweet “baby-smelling” moisturizers, remember you might be doing more harm than help. If there are patches of excessively dry skin, then you can put a small amount of fragrance free moisturizer specially made for sensitive baby skin (e.g. Cetaphil) topically in that area. Excessive use of baby skin products, coupled with frequent bathing, can result in very dry skin and even Eczema. Read more about newborn eczema here
- Do try to prevent diaper rash: Diaper rash occurs when the diaper is not changed frequently and the resulting wetness causes irritation in baby’s bum area. It can also be caused by not drying her bottom properly after a bath. One way to prevent diaper rash is to ensure dryness in baby’s bottom. Despite your precautions, if your baby does get diaper rashes, clean the area with water and a mild cleanser and pat dry with a soft cloth. Diaper rashes does not usually require medical intervention, and goes on its own. But talk to your doctor if you are concerned. Read more about it here and here
- Do keep her away from direct sunlight: You should keep her away from direct sunlight until she is 6 months old. This is because the UV rays from sun can very quickly damage her tender skin. If you have to take her out in sun, ensure to cover her in protective clothing and hat. Use an umbrella, pick shades to walk or use a stroller that has sun block guard
- Do not cover her any body part in baby powder: Don’t use baby powder. At all. Throw away the ones you got as part of baby kits. Your baby just don’t need it. It has basically no benefits and has couple of damaging side effects – for instance, if your baby inhales the powder it can cause lungs damage or if she has something like diaper rash, then the powder will result in retaining more wetness in the bottom and closing the pores causing the rashes to aggravate
- Do massage her skin with oil: This is a quintessential part of Indian baby bathing. Massaging your baby with oil has benefits other than skincare too. It stimulates the baby and presents a great bonding time for the mother and baby. Read more about this here
With careful attention, your baby’s skin can be healthy and your baby will be happy.