How do you take care of a baby’s skin?

A newborn’s skin is fragile and extremely thin. It requires special attention. Here are five answers to frequently asked questions about caring for a baby’s skin.

Why is a newborn’s skin so fragile?

There are many reasons why a baby’s skin is so delicate. Here are the main ones:

  • Their skin is five times thinner than an adult’s skin.
  • Their sweat glands don’t work yet. Their skin has yet to develop its ability to sweat and cool down.
  • Their skin is more permeable.
  • Their sebaceous glands are not active yet. The newborn does not yet have an oily film that protects their skin.
  • Their skin does not produce melanin. That’s why it so important to avoid sun exposure, even in the winter.
  • Their hydrolipidic film has not yet formed. It protects the cells from the harmful effects of the environment and germs.
  • Their skin’s pH is neutral. After six weeks, the skin will become more acid and therefore more resistant.

Should you moisturize
their skin?

It is essential that a baby’s skin remain moisturized. A dry epidermis is a common problem among newborns. Applying a moisturizer on their skin, after their bath or when you change their diaper for instance, can be very beneficial to them. To reduce the risk of irritating their skin or provoking an allergic reaction, choose a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic product that does not contain any unnecessary agents.

How often should you
give them a bath?

Avoid giving daily baths because that could dry out their skin. For the first few weeks, two or three baths a week will suffice. On non-bath days, you can simply use a washcloth and warm water.

When it’s time for a bath, use a gentle soap that is pH balanced and specifically designed for babies. Make sure to rinse their skin thoroughly because soap residue may cause itchiness. Finish by delicately drying your little one and their folds by gently dabbing their skin, not rubbing.

How do you protect them from the sun?

A newborn’s inability to produce melanin makes them particularly sensitive to the sun’s rays (UVA and UVB). Until they turn one, it is recommended you avoid exposing them to sunlight, even if it’s indirect. However, if you cannot avoid bringing your baby to a sunlit area, you need to take a few precautions. To find out more about how to protect your little one and what to look for when buying a sunscreen for babies, consult our guide How to adequately protect babies from the sun.

What are the most frequent skin problems?

Milia (baby acne)

These tiny white bumps are caused by an accumulation of oil in the baby’s pores. There’s nothing you can do. The bumps should disappear after a month or two.

Diaper rash

This is a skin irritation that is generally harmless and will appear where the diaper is in contact with the skin. It can be caused by several factors, including: sensitive skin, humidity, contact with urine or feces, friction, etc. To relieve this irritation, make sure to thoroughly clean your newborn’s skin every time you change their diaper and then apply a product containing zinc oxide which will protect the skin and prevent friction.

NOTE: The best way to prevent diaper rash is to frequently change your baby’s diaper, especially if they have diarrhea.

Seborrheic dermatitis (cradle cap)

This is a common condition that causes rough, dry scales that appear when the skin overproduces oil or when shampoo residues remain on the skin. Even though this condition is harmless, it can still cause your baby’s skin to itch. To get rid of it, you can apply olive, mineral or baby oil on their scalp and wait a few hours before removing the scales with a fine-tooth comb or small brush.

Dry skin

If your baby’s skin dries, flakes or cracks, make sure the ambient air is not too dry and try to avoid using soap during bath time. Wash your newborn using only water and then apply a moisturizing cream or lotion on dry patches. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Heat rash

These bumps – which are red, round and raised – often appear on the forehead, neck or skin folds of your baby during heat waves or when they have a fever. They are harmless and will disappear on their own.

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How do you take care of a baby’s skin?

A newborn’s skin is fragile and extremely thin. It requires special attention. Here are five answers to frequently asked questions about caring for a baby’s skin.
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