How to Care for Baby Skin
Learn how to care for your newborn's skin, and subsequently protect your baby from rashes and skin diseases.
Bath Time 101
Babies need two to three baths a week in warm -- not hot -- water to stay clean. The first step to a great baby bath is to find the perfect temperature and then fill the bathtub with no more than 2-3 inches of water. To prevent Baby from getting cold while you bathe him, regularly pour cupfuls of water over his little shoulders.
Dip a washcloth in the soapy water and use it to gently wash Baby's scalp with baby shampoo. To clean his face, moisten a cotton ball and gently dab.
To lift Baby out of the tub, place one hand on his neck to support his head and the other supporting his bottom, with your fingers around one thigh. Wrap him in a hooded towel. Once dry, apply baby lotion immediately to seal in moisture and prevent dry skin.
Don't let your diaper-changing routine turn into a nightmare for you and a painful experience for Baby. Stick to these simple tips and everything will go smoothly.
Change your child's diaper frequently, wiping gently but thoroughly each time with baby wipes. Dab diaper cream or put warm water from a squirt bottle on Baby's bottom; gently pat dry. Wait a few moments to air-dry so moisture doesn't lead to an irritating diaper rash.
Make sure to purchase fragrance-free diapers in a size that doesn't fit too snugly and cause chafing.
Be Mindful of Products
It's best to use skin-care products made especially for babies, such as fragrance-free and tear-free shampoos, bath gels, and lotions. With each one you use, be watchful of Baby's reaction in case he is allergic.
It's important to keep Baby's skin moisturized, so always have a supply of lotions around. Ointments, which have a thicker consistency, are even better at keeping your little one's skin soft. Contrary to popular belief, baby powders aren't a necessary step if you allow a little time for Baby to air-dry. If you want to use them anyway, lightly sprinkle a small amount of powder on Baby's bottom. Avoid perfumed, antibacterial, and deodorant soaps -- they might be too harsh until your child is a toddler. Baby soaps are the best for your little one.
Watch Out for the Weather
Babies can be exposed to sunlight once they are 6 months old, but apply sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 all over exposed skin. Apply the sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside for the best protection. With underdeveloped sweat glands, babies are very susceptible to heat rash. To prevent this, dress them in loose clothing and a hat to shield the sun.
- Related: Treating Heat Rash
In the winter, dry weather can harm Baby's skin, so place a cool mist humidifier in your nursery to keep the air moist. Just be sure to clean the humidifier regularly or it will develop mold. Also give your baby lots of water to stay hydrated during the cold, dry months.
It's a good idea to dress Baby in layers year-round so you can easily change him into the proper clothing to shield from the sunlight, heat, or cold. But skip fragranced laundry detergent that might irritate his skin.