Babies get dry skin, too
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Babies inspire much cooing and swooning, and their soft, sweet-smelling skin garners lots of ooh-ing and aww-ing. Delicate infant skin needs extra tender, loving care and may not hold on to enough moisture. Dry skin is fairly common for infants. It can make baby uncomfortable and fussy and lead to traumatic tub-times and itchy, fitful sleep. To soothe and comfort your baby's dry, delicate skin, try these tips:
Use gentle products. Skin care products made especially for babies should contain mild ingredients. Soaps can be too harsh, as can products with dyes, alcohol, or deodorants. Some baby wipes contain fragrances that could irritate young skin, too, so either seek out the most mild, fragrance-free options or forgo wipes in exchange for a soft, wet cloth.
Limit tub time. Too much time in the tub strips baby's skin of its natural oils that help to lock in moisture. Keep baby's baths brief, only five to ten minutes, two to three times per week. Before beginning to crawl, a baby simply doesn't get into that many messy situations. Daily wash-ups of baby's face, neck and, of course, diaper area should be enough. When you do the full bath routine, the water should be kept lukewarm or warm - but never hot! Newborns only need a sponge bath or a wipe-down with a soft, moist cloth or cotton balls.
Dry with care. Friction from even the softest and fluffiest of towels can aggravate tender skin. Pat dry. Also, use the same delicate daubing to clean up dribbles, drools, and spit-ups.
Moisturize. Baby's skin needs to hold on to their skin's natural moisture, so massage a mild, fragrance-free lotion into baby's skin after bathing. Even with a diligent moisturizing routine, dry air and dehydration can cause dry flare-ups. Keep baby hydrated with plenty of liquids, and consider placing a humidifier in baby's room.
Think soft. Dress baby in loose-fitting, light, soft clothing to prevent chafing. Avoid irritating or scratchy materials.
Help your baby's skin weather the weather. Skin responds to the seasons, drying in the wind and sun, sweating and chafing in humidity. Protect your baby from the elements with sunscreen and weather-appropriate togs. Use a sunscreen specially formulated for baby's tender skin. That means look for a fragrance-free variety with high sun protection factor (SPF).
Desperately dry? Check with your infant's doctor if your baby's skin does not get better. It could be eczema and might respond to medication. In the meantime, clip your baby's nails short so they don't scratch too much.
Source(s) - McNeil Consumer Healthcare, division of Johnson & Johnson Inc. 2008