How Can I Treat a Baby with Dry Skin?

Erin J. Hill

Before attempting to treat a baby with dry skin, you should see your child's pediatrician to have him or her checked for any medical problems. In most cases, a topical cream will be all that is needed to clear up dry skin. Sometimes a more severe skin condition may be present, and prescription creams or lotions may be required. Other times, you may be able to treat a baby with dry skin by giving him or her natural oils or fatty acids along with a feeding each day.

Babies with dry skin can normally be treated with over-the-counter products.
Babies with dry skin can normally be treated with over-the-counter products.

Most times, a baby with dry skin will be easily treated using an over the counter cream. The most common causes of dryness include lack of humidity in the air, baby eczema, or the reason may not be fully understood. Pharmacies and many department stores sell baby lotions and eczema creams which are designed to alleviate dry skin in infants.

Petroleum jelly can be used on babies with dry skin.
Petroleum jelly can be used on babies with dry skin.

More severe cases may require a visit to your child's doctor or a dermatologist. A prescription ointment or cream may be prescribed. You can also take additional steps in helping a baby with dry skin, such as running a humidifier in your home and giving baths less often, since baths can actually dry out the skin. Oil-based lotions, when used daily, can also dry the skin out even more and should only be used for occasional dryness.

Running a humidifier in your home can help a baby's dry skin.
Running a humidifier in your home can help a baby's dry skin.

Some studies have shown that using a more natural cream or lotion may be more beneficial in treating a baby with dry skin. These include organic items and those which do not contain harsh chemicals. If you have been using a particular product and symptoms worsen or do not improve within a week, discontinue use and contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Occasionally, dry skin in infants may be a sign of a skin condition aside from eczema or just dry skin. This may be even more likely if additional symptoms are present, such as redness, itchiness, scaling, cracking, or bleeding. Dry skin which does not heal should always be checked out by a physician.

In some cases, a skin allergy to detergents or soaps will be the cause of symptoms. Bumps, hives, and sometimes breathing difficulties can also be symptoms of allergies. To determine the cause of an allergic reaction, you should eliminate all items with fragrance from your daily routine and then slowly introduce them one at a time. In some cases, more than one item may cause a reaction. To avoid skin allergies, avoid soaps which contain harsh chemicals, dyes, and scents.

It is important to avoid soaps with harsh chemicals, dyes and scents when washing the clothing of a baby who has dry skin.
It is important to avoid soaps with harsh chemicals, dyes and scents when washing the clothing of a baby who has dry skin.

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