As a mother, baby dry skin on face and head is something you will have to contend with from time to time especially in the first four months. In some instances, the skin could get cracked or even peel off. What should you do to get rid of this common problem in new-born children? Read on to find out more.
Dry Skin on Baby Face
In the womb, a baby’s skin is protected by a waxy substance referred to as vernix which later on gets lost after birth with only a little of it remaining around the baby’s joints for a few days. With the vernix gone, the baby’s skin become exposed to the external environment and may become dry and sometimes develop some patches .
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Dry skin is particularly common among babies aged below four months, but babies born a bit too late are even more vulnerable to drying, peeling and irritation of the skin, especially the face.
Drying and other skin conditions are usually caused by numerous factors ranging from immature pores and inflammation to hormonal changes (normal) and sometimes, infection.
Dry skin can be a sign of a rare genetic condition referred to as ichthyosis. Ichthyosis is characterized by dry and scaly skin that is sometimes reddened. Babies suffering from ichthyosis will also have swollen palms and soles. The condition can however be treated by a dermatologist, so if you notice such symptoms, it is best to go and see your pediatrician immediately.
Dry Skin on Baby Face – How to Prevent and Manage it
While dry skin is usually not a cause of concern since the underlying skin is usually moist and soft, you may want to minimize the chance of its occurrence. There are as well several steps you can take to manage dry skin in babies.
Reduce the Bath Time
Bathing removes only dirt on the child’s skin but also the natural oils, thus drying the skin. You should thus avoid keeping your baby soaked in soapy water for long. Ideally, you should wash your baby in warm water (never hot) for 3 to 5 minutes. Soaping should be as sparingly as possible. Baby soaps are usually made to be gentle to the baby’s skin and are recommended instead of regular soaps.
An equally good choice is a mild, soap-free, pH-neutral, and fragrance-free cleanser as it is also less harsh to the baby’s skin compared to regular soaps. Nowadays, there are also some varieties of baby wipes that are safe to use for babies as young as one month old.
Use a Moisturizer for Baby Dry Skin
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After bathing your baby, you should then pat him dry using a towel before applying a baby moisturizing lotion. Johnson’s baby lotion is one classic choice for a skin moisturizer but there are many varieties on the market today from which you can choose
The skin moisturizing lotion should be applied right away when the skin is still wet. This seals in the water still contained in the baby’s skin pores. Instead of rubbing the lotion or body moisturizer dry, you should consider patting it dry.
However, if newborn dry skin appears persistent or is accompanied by some signs of infections such as a yellow discharge, or swelling around some of the facial cracks, you should consider seeking the advice of your pediatrician. This should also be the case if the skin appears excessively itchy .
“Weather-protect” Your Baby
You should also keep your baby protected from harsh weather conditions. In winter, applying gentle cream on your bay’s face especially on the cheeks and lips is recommended. And in summer, you should protect your baby from direct sunlight as this might lead to sunburn.
Use a Humidifier
Hot, dry air in your house can parch the skin and enhance its drying. You can however use a portable home humidifier to moisturize the air in your house. You should always keep the humidifier clean to prevent bacterial and fungal infection.
Baby Dry Skin Patches
With the skin exposed to new, harsher environment, newborn babies are susceptible to dry skin which is sometimes accompanied with small patches that make the skin look uneven. These dry skin patches could appear on the legs, back, face, or stomach. This is usually caused by loss of moisture from the baby’s skin especially in harsh weather conditions.
As with dry skin, dry skin patches can also be prevented by using mild soaps and cleansers to bath your baby your baby and moisturizing the baby’s skin with some lotion or oil.
Baby Dry Skin Treatment
Although the dry skin in babies typically heals itself after sometimes, it is both preventable and treatable. There are various products and skin care best practices that when applied regularly, can both prevent and treat dry skin in babies. Aquaphor ointment is one great product for baby dry skin treatment . Vaseline petroleum jelly (despite all the negative sentiments online) is also a good and cheap option to moisturize dry skin .
Baby Oil for Dry Skin
Giving your baby an oil massage and applying oil on the face immediately after bath when the skin is still moist are also great ways to prevent and treat dry skin in babies. Oil tends to keep the skin moisturized for longer than the ordinary moisturizers. Baby oil traps in the moisture present on the baby’s skin and prevents it evaporation, thus keeping it moisturized.
You should consider applying only one layer of light oil that is absorbed well since if not absorbed completely, oils can make the skin irritable particularly in hot and humid weather conditions during which the baby is subject to seating.
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Best Baby Oil for Dry Skin
Before buying any baby product, you should ensure it is safe for your baby. You should in particular check to see that the product doesn’t have parabens and phthalates as these two substances have been shown to be carcinogenic.
Below are some popular baby oils for dry skin
- Johnson’s Baby Oil
- Aura Cacia Organic Calming Baby Oil
- Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Baby Blossom Gentle Baby Oil
- Badger Calming Baby Oil
- Gourmet Body Treats GBT Baby Oil
- Erbaviva Organic Baby Oil
- Terressentials Organic Baby Massage Oil
- Natures Paradise Baby Organic Baby Oil Unscented
- Lavera Baby Neutral Skin Oil
- Natures Paradise Baby Organic Baby Oil Coconut
Best Lotion for Baby Dry Skin
A golden rule applies to baby’s products: the lesser the better. In other words, don’t go buying every baby care products you can see on the supermarket shelf. Instead use what is truly necessary to keep your baby healthy and comfortable, yet free of harmful and controversial substances. Some lotions you might consider are:
- Super soft lotion
- Baby balm
- Ultimate ointment
- Play-day sunscreen
Baby Dry Skin Rash
Newborn babies are also prone to rash which in most cases clears away on its own. They can however be avoided by exercising proper baby care practices such as using mild soaps and cleansers, avoiding too tight diapers and changing baby diapers regularly to avoid prolonged exposure to wetness. Your baby’s clothes, towels, blankets and all accessories should also be washed with a gentle detergent to avoid skin rash .