Just because your baby was born successfully, it doesn’t mean his or her body has stopped basic development. Yes, your baby has a full set of fingers and toes, but his or her immune system is barely functioning. He or she will also have a long way to go in terms of brain development. This is important to keep in mind as a new mom, because it’s easy to forget that a baby’s body is especially sensitive and unable to combat conditions and viruses like that of an adult. One common problem that newborn infants face is dry skin. Their skin is a lot more sensitive than ours, so they won’t respond the same to soaps and lotions.

There are many environmental factors that could dry out your baby’s skin. Many babies get dry skin in the winter because of the cold, dry air outside and the heated air inside. However, babies that are prone to dry skin will even get dry patches in the hot, moist summertime. Obviously, the best way to prevent dry skin caused by the winter climate is to get a humidifier for his or her indoor environment and to shield his or her skin from the outdoor environment as much as possible. In the summer, rinse your baby thoroughly after he or she comes into contact with any chlorine or saltwater.

If your baby seems to be prone to dry skin and the condition seems unrelated to the winter weather, you should try bathing your baby less often and for shorter amounts of time. Dry skin could be a sign that you’re bathing him or her too much, since the soaps strip the skin of natural oils. If you’re following an infrequent regimen closely, you should try a different soap that is less harsh. Your doctor will likely be able to recommend the best one for your baby’s problem.

If infrequent bathing still doesn’t solve the problem, it’s time you tried slathering your baby in moisturizer. Obviously, you shouldn’t just pick your favorite off the shelf at the drug store. Talk with your baby’s doctor about trusted brands and types of moisturizers. Ideally, the lotion should be thick and unscented, and you should apply it right after bath time. With a strict skin regimen, you’ll be able to clear up the problem at home as long as it isn’t a sign of something more serious.

Source: Saijo Shinobu et al: Dry Skin of Newborn Infants: Functional Analysis of the Stratum Corneum. Pediatric Dermatology Volume 8 Issue 2 pp. 155-159 March 2008

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