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Our top tips on how to handle your baby’s delicate skin with care

Kiindred

Kiindred

Brought to you by the Kiindred Editors. Our team are committed to researching and writing on all the things we know you will want to know about, at each stage of your pregnancy and parenthood journey.
Created on Apr 08, 2024 · 8 mins read
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The moment you first meet your little one, you want to press a “fragile, handle with care” sticker against their forehead.


Crammed with cuteness, every tiny inch of them makes your heart swell. Just like they also make your worries spin into catastrophising. 

As far as you’re concerned, you’ve never held something this valuable before. For that reason, you’re not taking chances. Not even when it comes to their skin. 

Just one glance at your newborn baby’s body (squishy cheeks, soft skin folds, and teensy toes) tells you that it needs to be handled with care. But you’ve become so used to lathering up your face in exfoliating cleansers, hyaluronic serums, and (likely placebo) anti-aging moisturisers that at this point, you wouldn’t recognise gentle skin care if it hit you in the face.

Maybe, though, you’d start to grasp the hang of it if we ran through a handful of our favourite tips on caring for your baby’s skin.

Tips on caring for your baby’s skin



Bathe without soapy bubbles


Babies and bubble baths seem like they’d go hand in hand, seeing as both make for an adorably entertaining time. Alas, your little one’s delicate skin isn’t ready for sparkly, soap-infused bubbles just yet. The only bath time solution your baby needs is the occasional mild, soap-free cleanser to clean without irritation. 

In fact, bathing your baby doesn’t have to happen more than 2-3 times a week. 

Due to its thinness and weak barrier, baby skin often experiences what’s called “transepidermal water loss.” A fancy way of saying that your baby’s skin absorbs moisture quickly, but it also loses that hydration speedily. This makes it prone to drying out. The more frequently you bathe your newborn, the more stripped and unbalanced your newborn’s skin might become. 

For the first few weeks, they’ll only need a light sponge bath. From there, a gentle bath every couple of days will suffice.


The thicker the cream, the better


With the delicate state of newborn skin, your baby has little defense against the bacteria, irritants and allergens that might creep up on them and cause reactions. Mingled with the aforementioned transepidermal water loss, dry skin will become a common sight. 

Effective baby skin care for this involves a thick, fragrance-free moisturiser which will help nourish parched patches and recover the moisture in their skin. Do this at least once every day, moisturising top to toe, as well as after the bath. Again, opt for fragrance-free skin solutions that don’t use plant extracts in case of skin irritation.

Change their nappy often (and pick a good one)


Wriggling around in a wet nappy for more than a couple of hours would irritate anybody’s skin. That’s why much of your baby’s skin struggles originate in the nappy area.

Changing their nappies at least every three hours prevents inflammation and rough skin, whilst keeping them comfy. When changing, wipe their skin gently with a cotton ball and warm water to clean and hydrate. Don’t use talcum or baby powder (ironic name, we know) in case it dries out their skin.

Just as important as changing their nappy is, the nappy material itself can promote newborn skin care. 

Zinc Oxide is a protective, reparative and anti-inflammatory ingredient that forms a barrier on the skin to protect it from irritants and allergen-enticing moisture. It’s a principal feature in nappy creams, as well as the Huggies Newborn nappies

These nappies are made with a protective layer of Zinc Oxide so that they care for infant skin with every use. Alongside an ultra-soft outer cover, stretchy waistband and breathability through innovative BREATHE DRY® technology, the Huggies Newborn nappies elevate your baby’s comfort and skin health. 

With high-absorbency through the patented DRYTOUCH® layer and up to 12 hours of leakage protection, any irritants from their nappy contents can be soaked up away from delicate skin.

Easy on the cord cleaning


A newborn baby’s umbilical cord stump isn’t something you even knew existed pre-parenthood. And now you have to think about cleaning it.

By now you’ve probably realised that less is more when it comes to your baby’s skin care. Well, that applies to their cord stump too. All that it needs is the occasional wash with plain water (no soaps or creams needed), and then pat baby dry with a towel or soft cloth. 

Once their cord falls off, there will be a short period of time where the belly button wound is healing. It might look a bit mucky, have a sticky ooze, or feature a red spot where the chord used to be. This is part of the normal healing process, even if it makes you want to fire up Dr Google and check obscure symptoms lists. 

You can clean any ooze by dampening a cotton bud with warm water and gently dabbing the area.

Find shade, or make your own


It’s recommended that babies under 12 months are not exposed to direct sunlight because of their thin skin barrier. The tricky part is that for babies under 12 months, sunscreen is not advised. 

This leaves you with the following sun-dodging strategies: shade, clothing, and hats. 

If the sun won’t let you out of its sight, make your own shade by pulling out an umbrella, canopy, or stroller hood. Clothing is your next best bet, so cover as much of your baby’s skin as possible with cool, loose-fitting outfits. And as the final cherry on top, a cute and high coverage hat will tuck your baby’s face right out of sunlight, protecting those soft, sweet cheeks.

Soothe heat rash safely


Newborn babies are still developing their sweat ducts, which might trigger heat rash.

This will develop as bumps or blisters on the skin as the sweat ducts or glands become blocked, causing your baby’s sweat to struggle escaping the skin. It’s also referred to as “Millaria.”

Heat rash typically comes and goes within a few days without need for parental intervention. But your baby might be experiencing some itchiness and discomfort, in which case you can move through the following steps:

  • Apply a cool compress to the affected area
  • Rinse sweat with cool water before patting the area dry
  • Regularly clean skin folds to get sweat away from the rash
  • Let them waddle around bare bummed to cool the skin
  • Pop on the aircon or fans

Don’t apply any creams or lotions without consulting a doctor first. If the heat rash does persist, they might be prescribed a steroid cream to encourage healing.

Wrapping it up


You’ll be forgiven for wanting to bundle your baby up in bubble wrap to protect them from every irritant and allergen. But let’s leave that as an absolute last resort. Gentle and protective skin care practices can nourish, nurture, and defend your baby’s delicate skin when used fittingly. Overdo it, and your baby’s skin won’t be happy either. Think light washes, thick moisturisers, sun protection, and nappies that care for newborn skin.

Some extra information….


  • How can parents determine if a moisturiser is fragrance-free and suitable for their baby’s delicate skin? 

Parents can determine if a moisturiser is fragrance-free and suitable for their baby’s delicate skin by carefully reading the product labels. Look for keywords like “fragrance-free,” “hypoallergenic,” or “gentle for baby’s sensitive skin.” Additionally, checking the ingredient list can help identify potential irritants or allergens. Opting for products specifically formulated for babies or those recommended by pediatricians can also be a safer choice.

  • What should parents look out for to indicate that their baby’s skin is experiencing a reaction to products? 

Signs of adverse reactions to skincare products in babies may include redness, rash, itching, swelling, or dryness. If parents notice any of these symptoms after using a new product, they should discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional. It’s essential to patch test new products on a small area of the baby’s skin before applying them more widely to ensure compatibility.

  • What are the prolonged risks of sun exposure for babies and why sunscreen is not recommended for this age group?

Prolonged exposure to sunlight for babies under 12 months can increase the risk of sunburn, skin damage, and long-term health issues like skin cancer. Sunscreen is not recommended for this age group due to the potential for skin irritation and absorption of chemicals into the bloodstream. Instead, parents should prioritise shade, protective clothing, and hats to shield their baby from direct sunlight


Sources:

https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Skincare_for_babies/#:~:text=Bath%20your%20baby%20in%20warm,as%20these%20can%20be%20irritating.

https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/care/baby-care-skin-hair-nails

https://www.childrens.health.qld.gov.au/health-a-to-z/caring-for-your-babys-umbilical-cord-stump-and-belly-button 

https://www.sunsmart.com.au/downloads/resources/info-sheets/sun-protection-babies-toddlers-info-sheet.pdf

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