Dry & Sensitive Skin
NATURAL WAYS TO PREVENT DRY BABY SKIN
- Keep baths short and sweet (and fairly infrequent). As fun as bath time can be, cut off each sudsing session at around 10 minutes. Any longer can lead to dry skin. And limit baths to just two to three times a week — unless your little one really needs an extra scrub-down.
- Use lukewarm water. It's less drying (and just plain safer since it can't burn your baby) than hotter water.
- Shy away from soap. When buying a product, choose a gentle, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic cleanser instead of standard soap. Bubble baths are also off limits since they can cause dry baby skin (and irritate little vaginas).
- Don’t let your baby sit in sudsy water. Pure, out-of-the-faucet stuff isn’t as drying as soapy H2O. If your baby loves to splash, let her have at it before you break out the cleanser.
- Pat baby’s skin dry after a bath. Resist rubbing — too much towel friction can chap delicate skin.
- Don’t overheat your house. Warmer air wicks moisture out of babies’ skin, so set your thermostat as close to 68° F as you can.
- Cover your kid on cold-weather outings. Mittens and hats keep baby's skin from getting wind-whipped. A light layer of petroleum jelly or emollient cream can prevent your child's face from getting chapped on frosty days.
- Use a gentle laundry detergent. One made specifically for baby clothes should do the trick. Follow this baby care pointer past the newborn phase — it can prevent skin from getting dry and irritated through the first year and beyond.
NATURAL TREATMENTS FOR DRY BABY SKIN
- Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. After every bath, spread a gentle, hypoallergenic baby lotion or oil onto your baby’s slightly damp skin. Reapply every 12 hours, even on days you skip the bath.
- Use a cool-mist humidifier in the nursery, or add a humidifier to your furnace. Moisture in the air adds moisture to skin.
- Keep the drinks coming. If you can manage it, breastfeed more often or add a bit more formula to your baby’s bottles. Yep, it will mean changing more wet diapers, but keeping your little one hydrated is great for her skin.
- Add oatmeal to baths. A drop of colloidal oatmeal can be a super soother during tub time. You can also wrap a cup of oatmeal in a clean washcloth, twist it closed, soak it and then squeeze and drizzle the oatmeal-infused water over dry baby skin.
If dry patches crack, spread or seem to be a big bother to your baby, talk to your pediatrician, who may suggest some special treatment options for severely dry baby skin.