Aug 21 , 2020
The Dos and Don’ts of Baby Skin Care
A baby’s delicate skin requires more than the usual daily bath and lotion application. Since babies aren’t very exposed to the elements yet, their skin can get easily irritated by dirt, allergens, and unsafe skin care products. Parents need to be careful about finding out what products work for their babies and what steps they can take to keep their kids protected outdoors. Not practicing proper skin care results in painful rashes and severe irritation, as well as tons of grief for both the parent and child. Here are some basic baby skin care tips you should keep in mind.
Don’t: Bathe Your Baby Frequently
Babies don’t actually get very dirty since they spend most of their time relaxing indoors, so you don’t have to give frequent and thorough baths every day. In fact, too many baths may do more harm than good for your baby’s delicate skin. Bathing your baby more than three times a week strips away the natural oils that keep your baby’s skin moisturized and protected against dirt and sun.
Do: Give Your Baby A Gentle Massage
There’s nothing like a gentle massage to calm you down after a long day. Massaging your baby for at least a few minutes a day comes with plenty of great benefits: a more relaxed mood, improved immunity against disease, a stronger bond with you, and the chance to enjoy “happy hormones” like oxytocin. You don’t even need fancy equipment to give your baby a good massage—simply look for a flat, relaxing spot then give a gentle massage using warm, gentle hands.
Don’t: Use Products That Aren’t Baby-Friendly
Avoid trying to use your own soaps and shampoos on your baby. Bath products that aren’t made specifically for babies contain ingredients that can dry out and irritate delicate baby skin. Instead, stick to baby bath products that are labeled “non-toxic” and contain very little harmful ingredients, such as dyes and alcohols. It’s also best to look for baby bath products that are labeled “tear-free” since these won’t irritate your baby’s sensitive eyes during bath time. Remember that the best baby bath products to use aren’t those with strong scents or lots of lather, but those made with non-toxic and completely safe ingredients.
Do: Keep Your Baby Moisturized
You’ll need to use lots of moisturizer after baths since a baby’s delicate skin can dry out very easily. After every bath, gently pat your baby dry (don’t rub!) and apply as much moisturizer as needed. Your goal here isn’t to add additional moisture to sensitive skin, but to prevent your baby’s skin from drying out due to water exposure. Most baby moisturizers are safe, so you can use as much as your baby needs.
Do: Call the Pediatrician When Needed
Baby rashes normally go away on their own after a few days. However, some rashes can be signs of serious infection and skin problems. If small, discolored spots or bumps with fluid begin to form on your baby’s skin, call your pediatrician right away. Other skin problem symptoms to watch out for include sluggish or fussy behavior and a sudden fever.
Don’t: Wash Baby and Grown-Up Clothes Together
Washing your baby’s clothes together with everyone else’s laundry isn’t a great idea. Detergents and soaps meant for adult clothing contain ingredients that aren’t safe for a baby’s sensitive skin. It’s much better to wash your baby’s clothes and linen separately using only baby-safe detergents.
Don’t: Wait to Change A Dirty Diaper
Diaper rash often occurs when a baby’s skin is exposed to a soiled diaper for way too long. It can also occur when moisture isn’t removed properly after a bath. The best way to avoid a diaper rash is to change a baby’s soiled diaper right away as this will prevent bacteria from spreading and causing trouble for your baby’s delicate skin. You should also allow your baby’s skin to dry for a few minutes after every bath to get rid of any excess moisture.
Do: Keep Your Baby Well-Protected
Babies need lots of protection from sun, wind, and dust. Experts don’t recommend using sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months, so be sure to stock up on skin protection essentials. A brimmed baby hat, durable stroller sun covers, and light, loose-fitting clothing should provide your young baby with the protection he needs outdoors. Avoid using tight clothing since a baby’s sweat glands aren’t mature enough to handle excess heat yet. If your baby is older than six months, be sure to protect his exposed skin with SPF 30 sunscreen. As much as possible, hang out with your baby in a cool, shaded area instead of risking direct exposure to the sun.
You’ll also need to be vigilant during wintertime since UV rays can still reach your baby’s skin. Protect your baby from dry skin and sunburn with thick, comfy clothing, and moisturize their skin with lotion whenever possible.
Don’t: Use Baby Powder
It’s best to avoid baby powder altogether. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) doesn’t recommend it at all since it can cause choking, lung damage, and breathing problems in babies when inhaled. It’s best to stick to baby-friendly lotions and moisturizers since your baby isn’t likely to ingest them by accident.
Don’t: Use Hot Water
Unlike adults, babies can’t endure a hot shower or bath. Using hot water to bathe your baby will only result in painful scalds or burns. Cold water isn’t good to use either since it may result in chills and sickness. Always use bath water that’s around 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) to keep your baby’s skin safe. To avoid drowning, make sure your baby’s bath water doesn’t go above his chest.
Do: Clean Every Nook and Cranny
Every inch of your baby’s skin is prone to dryness, rashes, and irritation. Drool can reach into the folds of your baby’s neck, as well as his chin and chest, leading to itchy and irritated skin. As much as possible, gently wipe and clean off excess drool from your baby’s mouth. You can use a dry, soft washcloth to keep your baby’s skin clean and comfy, but water and wet cloth work just as well in the case of sticky milk or food debris. If rashes have already formed on your baby’s skin, consult your pediatrician and soothe discomfort with baby-friendly ointments.
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