Baby Skin Care Guide

Baby Skin Care Guide

Most parents are worried about the appearance of your baby’s skin. What are those marks on his skin?” “Why does she have pimples?”

Here are some things you may discover about your baby’s skin:

• Skin color: 

Skin color in newborns can vary greatly from a brown and white or yellowish tone to the typical redness. Skin color can vary depending on the activity level of the baby. Of course, family characteristics and racial factors will also influence the color of your baby’s skin. At birth, the skin of the normal newborn is brownish or reddish-purple in color and turns bright red when the baby cries. (During the first few days of life, the skin gradually loses this redness.) In addition, the newborn’s hands and feet may be cool and blue. By the third day, he may also appear slightly yellow. This condition is called jaundice. It is common in newborns, and only occasionally requires special treatment.

• Rash: 

Your infant’s tender and sensitive skin commonly reacts to his new environment. Scattered, pinhead-sized, or somewhat larger papules (pimples) surrounded by a mild red zone may appear in various areas of the body when your baby is about 2 days old. These will disappear over time. The cause is unknown, and the rash requires no treatment.

• Acrocyanosis: 

A blue color of the hands and feet is called acrocyanosis. It is caused by a decrease in the circulation of blood to the skin of the hands and feet. This condition frequently occurs during the early hours of life. However, a baby should never be blue around the face and lips. If you notice that your baby’s face and lips have a blue color, or if she has dusky or blue skin, this may indicate a serious problem and requires immediate medical attention.

• Mottling: 

A new baby’s skin can also look blotchy or mottled. This is especially noticeable if the baby is uncovered or cold. Mottling can also occur if your baby is ill. If your baby’s skin color becomes pale or mottled, take her temperature. If it is higher or lower than the normal range, call your baby’s doctor.

• Cradle cap: 

Cradle cap is a scaly patch of skin that develops on the scalp. Brushing your baby’s hair daily and washing it frequently every time you bathe him, or 2-3 times per week may help prevent cradle cap. If cradle cap occurs, call your baby’s doctor.

• Milia: 

The whitish, pinhead-size spots, mainly on and around the nose or the newborn’s chin are called milia. Although they appear as tiny pimples, it is important not to disturb or break them, or put acne medicine on them. Doing so could produce a rash or cause the skin to scar. Milia are a normal occurrence in newborns and usually disappear within a few weeks.

• Stork bite marks: 

This is a fanciful term for the areas of pink or red often present in the newborn on the upper eyelids, forehead, and back of the neck. These marks are caused by blood vessels that are close to the surface of the skin. They usually fade by the end of the baby’s second year. These “birthmarks” occur in as many as half of all newborns, especially in those with fair complexions.

• Infant Acne: 

Usually occurs around 2-4 weeks of age and resembles the acne common in adolescents. It is typically caused by the maternal hormones passed during pregnancy. It is a self-limited condition and no treatment required and resolves by 3 months of age when the mother’s hormones have waned.

• Eczema: 

Infant eczema is a topical skin rash, most frequently showing up any time after birth on the face, arms and legs but rarely in the diaper area. The rash can look like chapped, scaly skin or tiny red bumps that can blister or ooze, and are incredibly itchy. Eczema patches can be spread by scratching so it’s important to keep scratching to a minimum.

• Chafing: 

Sometimes chafing can occur when there is friction between skin and clothing or where skin rubs together. Avoid tight clothing to prevent this problem.

• Heat Rash: 

You may notice some small pink spots all over the body of your baby. A lot of humidity and heat can cause this. Keep your baby in loose clothing and avoid keeping them in areas that are too warm to help with this problem.

Here are a few skin care tips to consider:

  • You don’t have to bathe your baby daily with soap. Newborns especially have delicate skin and a full bath each day may be too drying. A little sponge bath can do the trick in between baths. Ensure that you wash your baby’s skin under the appropriate water temperature.

  • Clean and Dry All Baby Skin Folds – You really need to ensure that you clean and dry all baby skin folds. Those folds, such as behind the ears and in the creases of the neck can dry out or they can retain moisture and cause skin problems.

  • Watch Out for Diaper Rash. Whenever you change your baby’s diaper, make sure you keep an eye out for diaper rash. If you notice a rash at all, make sure you carefully clean the bottom. You can use a Zinc and Castor diaper cream to protect the diaper area.

  • Be Careful When Choosing Clothing and Bedding. Some materials may be harsh on your baby’s sensitive skin. Look for soft materials, such as cotton, that will be easy on their skin. Also be careful when washing your baby’s clothes and bedding. Never use harsh detergents, which could irritate their skin.

Note this before using any baby skin care products

Since newborn baby skin care is a delicate matter, it is important to use dye-free, fragrance-free baby skin care products. Do note the following:

  • Read labels carefully. Ensure that the baby skin care products does not contain dyes, fragrances, and chemicals that can irritate a baby’s skin and breathing.

  • Natural baby skin care products are safe for most infants. But if you have allergies or asthma in your family, your newborn may also be sensitive to botanicals and herbs in some products.

  • The label “hypoallergenic” can be misleading. The term means that the product is less likely to cause an allergic reaction, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the product is gentler on the skin than other products.

  • Look for products that are phythalate & paraben free. Those chemicals are potentially harmful to babies.

Recommended baby Skin Care Products

Remember you might have to try a few products before you get the one that works with your baby e.g. for oils, you can start with vegetable edible oils like sunflower or coconut oil. Others include:

  • Baby soaps, washes/cleansers, and shampoos: Cleansers and washes are mild and safe for newborns. But use baby soaps sparingly, as they can dry newborn skin.

  • Baby lotion: Helps moisturize newborn skin. Use sparingly on tiny newborns.

  • Petroleum jelly: Can be used to treat diaper rash. It provides baby’s skin with a protective barrier against moist diapers. You may be asked to apply it to the healing circumcision site.

  • Diaper rash ointment: Provides baby’s skin with a barrier to moisture by protecting newborn skin so wet diapers don’t irritate.

  • Eczema cortisone creams: Helps decrease redness and inflammation. You will need a prescription from your doctor. These creams should be used sparingly and for no more than a week.

  • Baby oil: This classic is best used as massage oil for newborn skin, not as a moisturizer. Newborn skin does not absorb it well.

  • Baby laundry detergent: Look for baby detergents that are free of perfumes and dye. Regular detergents are too harsh for newborn skin.

Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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