Skincare for Baby
Skincare 101: Our Tips to Care for Your Baby’s Skin in the First 7 Days
Your baby’s skin requires extra-special care. Below, we break down some of the common skin conditions you may encounter in the first week and provide some tips to help. Remember to always consult with your pediatrician before treating your baby’s skin.
What You Should Know
Baby Skin Care Tips
- The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends delaying baby’s first wash until at least a full 24 hours after birth.2
- Give your baby sponge baths until their umbilical cord stump falls off.3
- To help prevent diaper rash, expose baby’s bottom to fresh air whenever you can.4
- Less is more when bathing your baby. During the first year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends, at most, three baths a week to avoid drying out their delicate skin.5
Moisturize Your Baby’s Skin
In the womb, babies have a coating on their skin called the vernix caseosa. It is made of water, protein, and lipids (such as ceramides) that help skin seal in moisture and keep impurities out. This coating is designed to help protect baby’s skin barrier as it develops.6 When baby loses this coating after birth, it’s common to see dryness and peeling as a result.7 However, babies do have thin, delicate skin that loses moisture easily, which may result in noticeable dryness and even cracking, particularly around the ankles and hands.8 Regular moisturizing of baby’s skin with a small amount of fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizing lotion may help.9
Baby Skin Rashes
Baby rashes are extremely common. About 50% of babies develop a red blotchy rash with small white bumps on their face or torso by day two or three. Meanwhile, 40% of babies are born with milia, which appears as a smattering of small, flat, yellow or white spots on baby’s nose, cheeks, and chin.10 Both baby rashes typically disappear by week three without treatment.11
Spit-up rash may also occur during baby’s first week. This may irritate baby’s mouth and chin, especially after prolonged exposure while sleeping. To help, wipe away spit-up with cool water.12
Diaper rash is also common in those first days. To help ease the ouch and prevent future rashes, change baby’s diaper as soon as it’s wet or dirty. If baby’s bottom is very irritated, you may want to forgo wipes and wash with water and a gentle cleanser instead. Then apply a cream or ointment that contains zinc oxide or petroleum jelly.13
While the first week at home with your baby may feel both thrilling and overwhelming in many ways, understanding some skincare basics can help so you can enjoy every day with baby.
- King, A., Balaji, S., & Keswani, S. G. (2013). Biology and function of fetal and pediatric skin. Facial plastic surgery clinics of North America, 21(1), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsc.2012.10.001
- Schachner, L., Andriessen, A., Benjamin, L., Bree, A., Lechman, P., Pinera-Lllano, A., Kircik, L.. (2020). “A Consensus About the Importance of Ceramide Containing Skincare for Normal and Sensitive Skin Conditions in Neonates and Infants.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology 19 (8), 772.