We’ve all heard that babies have soft, perfect skin, so often it comes as a surprise to new parents when they find out that this isn’t necessarily the case. Babies are often prone to blemishes and skin irritation in the first year of life, making them irritable and presenting a challenge to tired parents. Most of the time, skin irritation is nothing to worry about, but below are some tips to help keep your baby’s skin smooth, healthy and free of discomfort.
- Keep Your Baby Out of the Sun
Your baby’s skin is sensitive, so it’s vital to protect them from the sun. Babies less than six months old should be kept out of direct sunlight altogether, as their skin doesn’t contain enough melanin to offer them sufficient protection. Older babies should have their time in the sun limited as much as possible — if you go out while it’s hot, have your little one wear a sunhat and make sure you attach a parasol or sunshade to their pushchair to keep them protected from the sun’s harsh rays.
You should also apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to your baby’s skin. Try a product that’s been specially formulated for babies, as these typically avoid using ingredients that may irritate the skin. Reapply sunscreen regularly to ensure proper protection.
- Use Natural Skincare Products
When looking for baby skincare products, less is more. Natural cosmetic ingredients are less likely to cause skin irritation on an infant’s tender and fragile skin, as they are formulated without perfumes or harsh chemicals. Centuries-old ingredients such as coconut oil and shea butter have stood the test of time and are great choices for your little one.
- Look Out for Nappy Rash
If your baby has red skin around the nappy area, this is most likely what’s known as nappy rash. This type of skin irritation is widespread among babies and could be down to a nappy that’s too tight, a wet nappy that’s been left on for too long, or a particular brand of nappies or baby wipes that don’t agree with your baby’s skin.
In 2018, a study of 698 mothers and babies compared three brands of baby wipes to determine if there was any difference in the incidence of nappy rash. It was found that wipe formulation is a significant factor in preventing or reducing this condition during the first eight weeks of life, with the brand containing the fewest ingredients linked to fewer incidents of rash. Try using more gentle wipes and experiment with different nappies, but be sure to consult your doctor if the problem persists.
- Don’t Stress Over Dry Skin
Dry, peeling skin may seem like a cause for concern, but this is especially common among babies born a little late. Keep an eye on dry skin and use a soothing baby moisturiser if necessary, but don’t panic, as this is very normal. If your infant’s dry skin doesn’t go away, ask your health visitor for advice.
- Use a Gentle Detergent
As your baby’s skin is so delicate, it’s best to use a gentle detergent to wash everything that touches their skin. This includes their clothes, bedding and towels, but also your clothes, too.
- Limit Baby’s Bath Time
To avoid skin irritation and dehydration, you should bathe your baby for only three to five minutes and ensure that the water is warm but not hot. Once they’re clean, apply a soothing baby lotion or moisturiser and pat them dry with a towel.
- Try Baby Massage
If your baby becomes irritable from rashes or other skin conditions, try a gentle baby massage to calm them down — it may just be the thing that helps them relax and get some sleep.
- Remember, Baby Acne Is Common
Any “acne” that may appear on your baby’s skin differs from the kind you experienced as a teenager and is most likely related to yeast rather than oil. Pimples usually clear up by themselves within a few weeks.
- If in Doubt, Ask Your Doctor or Health Visitor
Most baby skin problems aren’t serious, but you should pay close attention to your little one’s skin and look out for any signs of infection. If you’re unsure about something, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor or health visitor — they’re here to help and are used to answering all kinds of questions from parents.