The baby’s skin is extra-sensitive, so proper care is essential.
“Babies’ skin is thinner and more prone to irritation, but it’s very resilient,” says Bruce Brod, MD, a dermatologist in Philadelphia.
Choose Few Ingredients:
Cleanser: Soap-free liquids are a good choice. “It doesn’t need to lather to be clean,” says New York City-based dermatologist Bruce Robinson, MD.
Diaper cream: Use petroleum jelly or a zinc oxide cream.
Wipes: Go alcohol-free or skip them altogether. Wipes can sometimes irritate a baby’s skin. “The safest option is water and a washcloth,” Tollefson says.
Laundry detergent: The kinds made for babies are fine but not necessary for most kids. But try to go fragrance-free. Liquid rinses out better than flakes.
Shampoo: Tearless is best.
Bathe Just What’s Necessary
To avoid irritation and dryness, your baby only needs three baths per week. But more often is fine to clean away dirt and bacteria, depending on the season, humidity, and how active they are, Brod adds.
Change Diapers Often
Most diaper rash happens when babies sit in dirty diapers for too long. “When babies eat, they poop soon after. Stay on the lookout after you feed, and change them right away,” Robinson says.
A moisturizer may not be necessary for babies with normal skin, though most experts still recommend using it every day. Opt for one without fragrances or dyes.
Dress With Care
Wool, including cashmere, can be irritating. “Soft cottons are the way to go,” Robinson says. Be sure to wash anything that will touch your baby’s skin before she wears it.
Shield Skin From Spit
When babies teethe and eat, they drool. And saliva has enzymes that can irritate their skin. The problem gets worse when skin gets wet and dry over and over. So before you feed your baby, try coating his face with petroleum jelly. Wipe it off with a soft cotton washcloth when mealtime is over and reapply moisturizer.