May 29, 2022 ۰ 5 min read
Baby Skin Care
As a new mom, I am mindful of what I should do to take care of my baby’s skin. I have heard of many types of skin diseases that can affect newborns. This is in part because newborn skin is thinner and more fragile than adult skin.1,2 It, therefore, is more susceptible to water loss, injury from heat, irritants, and mechanical trauma.3 Newborn skin also has limited natural skin microbiome which can provide some protection to the skin.4
Some skin conditions that can appear but that are harmless and usually resolve with time include blue skin in response to cold, birthmarks that appear after birth, and baby acne.3 When exposed to cold, a baby’s skin may become discolored or bluish because the baby has immature neurologic and vascular regulation of the skin. It can happen on the hands and feet. It will resolve when the area is warmed again.
Birthmarks or “Congenital Dermal Melanocytosis” are gray or blue patches that commonly appear on the lower back of full-term infants. It usually resolves by 3 to 6 years of age but is good to have a pediatrician monitor.
Baby acne or “Sebaceous Hyperplasia” is very common in infants and appears as small yellow or white spots over the nose, cheeks, or scalp. It is caused by over-productive oil glands associated with hair follicles. However, it is usually nothing to worry about, it usually resolves by 6-months of age, and no treatment is needed.
While these skin reactions are common, because a baby’s skin is so sensitive, it is very critical to select your baby skin care products carefully.
Here are a few good tips I would use:
Go for doctor’s support first. Your baby’s doctor is your most important resource. Don’t be afraid to ask them about a skin condition you are concerned about. And don’t be afraid to ask them for their recommendation about optimal skin care products for your baby. If the physician recommends using or avoiding particular skin care ingredients, you can use the scIQ app to filter products by those ingredients.
- Check with other moms’ recommendations. We are here for each other. It is important to learn from other mom’s experiences.
- Test a product on a small, discrete patch of skin first. If you are concerned about a product reaction, try the product on yourself first or on a small spot of their skin in a discrete place like their heel. Avoid their face when you first apply the product.
- Do not mix different products on your baby. If skin reactions to skin care products is a possibility, it is important to only try one product at a time on baby’s skin to keep track of what works for them.
The American Academy of Dermatology5 recommends these skin care basics for baby:
- Bathe your baby two to three times a week with lukewarm water and mild, fragrance-free baby soap and shampoo, only to dirty areas.
- Change dirty diapers as soon as possible to prevent diaper rash.
- Trim your baby’s nails to prevent scratches.
- Wash baby blankets, sheets, and clothing using fragrance-free detergents.
- Protect your baby from the sun with shade and sun-protective clothing.
I will recommend some products that I found useful in the next blog! Stay tuned!
- Paller A, Mancini AJ, Hurwitz S. “Hurwitz Clinical Pediatric Dermatology.” 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011.
- Eichenfield LF, Frieden IJ, Mathes EF, Zaenglein AL. “Neonatal and Infant Dermatology.” 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2014.
- Goodzari. “Neonatal Dermatology: The Normal, the Common, and the Serious.” NeoReviews. 2021; 22(1): e40-e51.
- Schoch JJ, Monir RL, Satcher KG, Harris J, Triplett E, Neu J. “The infantile cutaneous microbiome: a review.” Pediatr Dermatol. 2019;36(5):574–580.
American Academy of Dermatology. How to care for your baby’s skin, hair, and nails. 2021.
Irene Wang is
Co-Founder, President, and
writer-contributor to Skin Care IQ.