Dry skin is a common skin concern in newborns and infants and may be frustrating for any new parent.
Here are the common causes of dry skin in babies from a dermatologist’s perspective:
Seborrheic dermatitis or cradle cap: Dry, thick scaling on the scalp is commonly caused by a yeast that normally lives on our skin and infants below 3 months of age are susceptible to overgrowth of this yeast.
Allergic contact rashes: Infant skin continues to mature overtime and their skin is extremely vulnerable to any outside environmental allergens and irritants including fragrance, soap, chemical irritants in detergents and shampoos, detergents and even cold weather.
Eczema: Eczema is common in babies as their skin barrier is more fragile leading to water loss from the skin and dry, flaky rashes.
Dermatologist’s tips & Tricks for Managing Dry Skin In Babies:
(1) Moisturize twice daily with an ointment or cream (not lotion) even if skin is not flaring. Recommended brands: Vaseline pure petroleum jelly, Aquaphor ointment, CeraVe Healing ointment, Cerave moisturing cream, and Cetaphil cream.
(2) Limit bathing to less than 10 minutes 2-3 times per week in warm (not hot) water.
(3) Moisturizer should be applied within 5 minutes of getting out of the bath/shower.
(4) Avoid HARSH soaps: Use gentle soap such as Dove sensitive skin BAR fragrance free soap or vanicream cleansing BAR or CeraVe hydrating cleanser or Cetaphil cleanser or Exederm soap. NO Bubble bathes.
(5) Dab, don’t rub dry. Don’t use a washcloth or other harsh material to wash the skin (no sponge, loofah, baby wipes, wash rag).
(6) Avoid harsh fabrics such as wool or nylon as these may irritate the eczema.
(7) Avoid fragrances and perfumes around your child as they can cause allergy or irritation.
(8) Recommend fragrance free and dye free products, such as All or Tide Free and Clear. Avoid use of fabric softener or dryer sheets.