Babies have the softest and sweetest-smelling skin, but, just like mommy, babies can get dry and peeling skin. Your little one’s skin is super sensitive, which is why they’re prone to dryness, especially during the colder months. Seeing your newborn’s skin peeling might cause some concern, but often there’s no real reason for worry. Your baby’s dry skin is perfectly normal and, better yet, it’s easy to treat and soothe. If you have questions about your baby’s dry skin and your newborn’s skin peeling, here’s what you need to know and what you can do to help moisturize their thirsty skin.
What causes baby dry skin?
What causes your dry skin is similar to how your baby’s skin can become irritated and parched. Exposure to cold weather and dry air, especially in the wintertime, can parch your baby’s skin. However, your baby’s skin is much more sensitive than yours. They’re brand-spankin’ new humans, which means — in addition to having delicate and paper-thin skin— their skin produces fewer oils than yours. So, no wonder they get super dry really quickly!
What are some baby dry skin remedies?
Simple is best for your little nugget’s naturally delicate skin. When looking for products to help soothe your baby, look for creams and lotions that aren’t made with harsh ingredients like alcohol, which can be particularly drying. It’s also a good idea to avoid products that contain fragrances, preservatives, parabens, and sulfates.
A few consistently mom-recommended lotions for infant dry skin are:
- Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment: A clear ointment that acts as the perfect multipurpose “spot treatment” for irritated and dry skin.
- Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy: A fast-absorbing and non-greasy cream that’s fragrance-free and so soothing great for those babies with eczema.
- The Honest Company Organic All-Purpose Balm: Made with certified organic and plant-based ingredients (including organic sunflower, olive, and coconut oils) and created without petroleum jelly, mineral oil, lanolin, parabens, synthetic fragrances, and dyes.
- Cetaphil Baby Daily Lotion: A gentle formula made with extract from the calendula flower — a natural anti-inflammatory and calming agent — that’s so comforting for your baby’s skin.
- Eucerin Baby Eczema Relief Body Creme: Parents rave about how well ingredients like soothing natural oatmeal work to minimize discomfort and improve irritated little faces and bodies. And you can rest assured it’s fragrance, dye, and steroid-free. But keep in mind: Unlike Aveeno’s eczema lotion, Eucerin shouldn’t be used with babies under three months old.
- Coconut oil: This natural oil has been proven to treat eczema, reduce redness and keep skin moisturized throughout the day. It can prevent flaky skin and is an anti-germ mineral oil that can help treat minor infections. Some people even use it in their soaps and conditioner to keep their skin and hair clean and hydrated.
2. Keep Baths Short and Sweet
Long, warm baths can strip the moisture from your baby’s skin, so make sure bathtime is kept to a minimum with lukewarm water. Opt for a moisturizing, gentle, and brief bubble bath. Go gentle on the toweling off to avoid irritation and, if skin is particularly irritated, bathe your little one every other day.
3. Hydrate, Hydrate!
Like adults, babies need to keep hydrated for their skin to remain supple and glowing. But unlike grownups, you want to hydrate your babe with formula and/or breast milk and save the water until they’re at least six months old.
4. Consider a Humidifier
A humidifier helps keep the moisture in your baby’s room. Also, check the thermostat in your baby’s room — nothing too warm or toasty. Room temperature around 68 degrees Fahrenheit is just about right.
5. Bundle That Baby Up
You know how we mentioned cold, dry air can lead to your baby’s skin being dry? Well, it makes sense then that you want to shield your little one from the elements as much as possible. If it’s chilly outside, the air is probably pretty dry. So, before you head out with your cutie on a cold day, make sure you have plenty of layers for them: coat, hat, mittens, socks, etc.
What should I know about baby eczema?
It’s pretty normal for babies to have dry skin on their faces and have dry skin patches. But it’s important to know the difference between dry skin and eczema. Eczema is usually considered as a baby dry skin rash. It shows up as red, itchy, and rough patches on your baby’s skin, and usually rears its head during the first few months of a newborn’s life. Eczema occurs when the body makes too few fatty cells called ceramides. Without enough of these cells, your skin becomes dehydrated and dry. It can run in families, so if you or your partner had eczema, chances are your little one might have it too.
The good news is it’s totally normal and most infants outgrow it by school-age if not sooner.
Baby eczema is different than cradle’s cap, which is just a cute term to describe a baby with dry skin on their head. Cradle cap is normal for newborns to have and is characterized by rough, crusty bumps that sit on top of your baby’s scalp. It isn’t painful or itchy, though, and usually goes away within a few weeks to a few months with the help of a mild shampoo.
What causes your newborn’s skin peeling?
Your newborn’s skin peeling might be different than their dry skin. Typically, a baby’s skin starts to peel within weeks after birth. This is due to the various fluids that cover a baby’s skin when they are born. This includes amniotic fluid, blood, and vernix. Vernix is a thick coating that covers the fetus’s skin to protect it from the amniotic fluid. After birth, the fluids are wiped off your baby, and once the vernix is gone, your baby will begin to shed the outer layer of their skin within their first few weeks. This process is completely normal, and the amount of peeling depends on when your baby was born. Premature babies will have more vernix compared to overdue babies who have less.
It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before using one, or any of the above ideas, and if you have any concerns about your baby’s skin, talk to your doctor.