Babies have very soft and delicate skin. And so, they can face many skin problems. Simply follow these tips for protecting your baby’s skin.

Babies have more delicate skin and immunity than most adults. Accordingly, baby skincare requires meticulous understanding, planning and implementation to avoid any adverse reactions. Rashes, dryness and irritation may be more common and frequent if the right products are not used. These issues are generally connected to the chemicals, and fragrances found in clothes, detergents, and other products. So, you can protect your little one from common skin problems by following these basic tips for protecting baby’s skin.

Common baby skincare problems

Babies can have various skin problems if parents don’t give importance to their skincare. They can have diaper rashes, skin irritation, dryness and baby acne, says dermatologist Dr Shaurya Thakran. If hygiene is not maintained, it can lead to infections too.

Baby skincare: 9 tips for protecting baby’s skin
Moisturising your baby’s skin is essential. Image courtesy; Adobe Stock

What are the ways to protect baby’s skin?

Here’s what you can do to protect your baby’s delicate skin:

1. Bathe with care

Babies have sensitive skin. So it is important to use a fragrance-free, and gentle soap, as they are less likely to cause irritation. Lukewarm water is preferred, as hot water can strip the natural oils from the skin, leading to dryness. Also, daily baths are not necessary and can dry out your little one’s skin, so bathe your baby only a few times a week. While doing so, ensure that the diaper area and skin folds are cleaned properly.

2. Moisturise

After bathing, it is essential to moisturise the baby’s skin to keep it hydrated. Use a gentle, baby-specific moisturiser that is free from fragrances and harsh chemicals. Moisturising helps to lock in moisture, preventing dryness and keeping the skin soft. Apply the moisturiser while the skin is still slightly damp to enhance absorption, suggests the expert.

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3. Diaper change

Changing diapers frequently is crucial to prevent diaper rashes, which are patches of inflamed skin on a baby’s buttocks, and private parts. A dirty or wet diaper can irritate the skin, leading to rashes and discomfort. Use a diaper rash cream containing zinc oxide, which acts as a barrier against moisture and helps soothe irritated skin. You should also let some diaper-free time every day so that the skin can breathe, and reduce the likelihood of rashes.

4. Choose soft clothes

Dressing babies in soft, breathable fabrics like cotton is important because these materials are gentle on the skin and allow proper air circulation, reducing the risk of irritation and overheating. Avoid synthetic fabrics, which can cause discomfort and allergic reactions in babies. Always wash new clothes before putting them on your baby. Use mild, and baby-friendly detergents to wash them.

baby skincare
Try not to use sunscreen on newborn babies. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Sun protection

Babies’ skin is very sensitive to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Just like adults, even babies should stay away from direct sunlight, especially during peak hours that’s between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Use protective clothes, including a wide-brimmed hat, to shield their skin from the harsh rays of the sun. Try not to use sunscreen on children younger than six months old. If you have to then apply a minimal amount of sunscreen to areas that are not covered by clothes. Go for sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection, and a sun protection factor or SPF of 30 or higher. Look for ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, as they are less likely to irritate your baby’s skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association.

6. Avoid overheating

Overheating can cause heat rash, which is a common issue in babies, says Dr Thakran. Dress your baby in layers so that you can easily add or remove clothes to maintain a comfortable temperature. Keep the room temperature comfortable, and if you wish, use light blankets instead of heavy ones. Watch out for signs of overheating, such as sweating, flushed cheeks, or rapid breathing.

7. Be mindful of laundry

Use mild, fragrance-free detergents specifically designed for baby clothes as well as bedding, and blankets. These detergents are less likely to contain harsh chemicals that can irritate the baby’s skin. Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets, as they often contain fragrances and chemicals that can be harsh on sensitive skin.

8. Handle with clean hands

Always wash your hands before touching your baby, especially their face. Babies’ skin is susceptible to oils, dirt, and bacteria from your hands, which can cause skin problems or infections. Keeping your hands clean helps prevent the transfer of these potential irritants.

9. Monitor skin changes

Regularly checking your baby’s skin for any signs of irritation, dryness, or unusual rashes is important. Early detection and prompt care can prevent minor issues from becoming major ones. If you notice persistent or severe skin problems, consult a pediatrician for appropriate treatment and advice.

How does heat affect a baby’s skin?

Heat can cause a baby’s sweat ducts to become blocked, leading to heat rash (miliaria), which appears as red bumps or blisters. Overheating can also cause dehydration, making the skin dry and irritable. To prevent heat rash, keep the environment cool, dress the baby in lightweight, and breathable clothing, and avoid direct sunlight, says the expert. Ensure regular hydration, give cool baths, and use lightweight bedding.

How important is nail care for babies?

Nail care is crucial for babies to prevent accidental scratching, which can lead to skin irritation and infections. It also promotes overall hygiene and comfort. Here’s how to care for baby’s nails:

  • Use baby nail clippers or scissors with rounded tips. Trim nails straight across to avoid ingrown nails.
  • Trim nails when baby is calm or sleeping to minimise movement and risk of injury.
  • Use a soft emery board to smooth any rough edges after trimming.
  • Do not bite baby’s nails, as it can introduce bacteria and cause infections.

Which all skincare ingredients are safe for babies?

Safe skincare ingredients for babies typically include:

  • Petroleum jelly forms a protective barrier to prevent moisture loss and protect sensitive skin.
  • Glycerin attracts moisture to the skin, keeping it hydrated.
  • Shea butter moisturises and soothes dry or irritated skin.
  • Zinc oxide acts as a barrier against moisture, and is used in diaper rash creams.

Taking care of your baby’s skin is a must. Don’t use adult skincare products, as they can cause irritation. Be gentle while bathing them and also trim their nails.

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