How Can I Care for a Newborn with Dry Skin?

Christina Edwards

A baby's skin is very susceptible to becoming dry and flaky. As a parent or caretaker, you are probably wondering how to treat this delicate, dry skin. Bathing a newborn with dry skin is a start. A mild, fragrance-free moisturizer should also be used right after and in between each bath. Frequent feedings can also keep a newborn hydrated, and thereby help prevent dry skin.

A mild, fragrance-free moisturizer may be used to care for a newborn with dry skin.
A mild, fragrance-free moisturizer may be used to care for a newborn with dry skin.

While you may think that you need to bathe your newborn every day, most pediatricians and dermatologists advise against this. Frequent baths can can exacerbate dry skin in newborns. Instead, a newborn with dry skin should only be bathed in warm water roughly every other day.

Petroleum jelly can be used on newborns who have dry skin.
Petroleum jelly can be used on newborns who have dry skin.

The time that a newborn with dry skin spends submerged in the bath water can also exacerbate the condition. Bath time should be kept under ten minutes. There should also be only a few inches of water in the bottom of the tub.

Many experts believe that it is not necessary to use baby skin care products on a newborn's skin.
Many experts believe that it is not necessary to use baby skin care products on a newborn's skin.

Certain types of soap can also cause an infant's skin to become dry. Soaps that are not specifically formulated for a baby's skin can be very irritating, for instance. Instead, use a specially formulated infant soap, which will usually be much more mild. For severely dry skin, look for fragrance- and dye-free soaps, since these additives can dry out a baby's skin even more.

Since a baby often has a habit of getting dirty, either from eating or crawling, you may feel a little squeamish about not bathing him each day. If this happens, you can wet down a washcloth and wipe off any grime. During this time, you do not need to use soap, unless he is particularly dirty, since soap can be difficult to rinse off. This can lead to even dryer skin.

Newborn lotions and infant moisturizers can help replenish the natural oils in a baby's skin. You should also try to find a moisturizer without fragrances or dyes. After a newborn with dry skin gets a bath, he should then gently be patted dry. A specially formulated moisturizer should then be applied. This moisturizer should also be applied every day, between baths.

One of the possible causes of dry skin in newborns is dehydration. If a baby does not get enough water or liquid, his skin can dry out. Feeding a newborn with dry skin whenever he is hungry can help prevent this. As a general rule of thumb, breast fed babies will need to feed more often than bottle fed babies.

Newborns should only be bathed every other day.
Newborns should only be bathed every other day.

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