‘Tel malish’ and diaper rash: Here’s how to care for your newborn’s skin

Published on: 25 February 2022, 16:46 pm IST
While you may be doing all the things suggested in a baby care manual, you need special skincare tips for babies.
Dr Sejal Saheta
Follow these tips to care for your baby’s skin. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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As soon as a little one comes into your world, every little thing that happens to the baby becomes a big concern. With such strong emotions in play, it becomes very difficult for a parent to objectively deal with skin-related problems in babies. To up your baby care game, it is even more imperative that a newborn’s skin is well attended to. Try to follow these skincare tips for babies in order to avoid absolutely any complications.

So, what is different about a newborn’s skin?

A newborn’s skin, as compared to an adult’s skin, has a very thin upper layer. Also a baby’s skin is more porous. The water retention mechanism and the melanin in the skin are also not fully developed.

Here are a skincare tips for babies?

1. Hydrate your infant’s skin

A newborn’s skin tends to lose more water than an adult’s skin and hence is often more dry. So, it is advisable to use a thick moisturizing lotion at least twice a day. It will not only provide the additional needed hydration to the skin but also act as a barrier for preventing escape of the natural moisture from the skin.

2. Avoid excessive oil massages

Avoid using oil and giving oil massages on a baby’s skin. Massages are not medically proven to strengthen the bones of a baby but the oil used can surely block the pores of the skin. This may result in making it the perfect environment for bacteria to proliferate leading to all types of skin irritation. If you can’t avoid a massage, use a moisturizer instead of oil and be very gentle.

Oil massage can do more harm than good for your newborn’s skin! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Do not use powder often

The worst enemy of dry skin is powder. Please do not use powder on the baby. Even if you want to keep your baby dry in his / her diaper, use a diaper cream from a reputed pharmaceutical company.

4. Change the diaper quickly

Make sure that the baby does not remain in a wet diaper for long. Ensure that the diaper rash cream used has zinc oxide as a content in it. Speak to a dermatologist in case there are recurrent rashes.

5. Don’t use home remedies on baby’s skin

Avoid any ‘organic’ skin care products and home remedies on babies. A baby’s skin is much more porous and hence the absorption rates are also different. A DIY skincare that may be suitable for you as an adult may not be safe or suitable for a baby.

Your baby’s skin needs attention too! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Dress your baby in breathable fabric

Use cotton clothes and ensure that you cut away any labels on the inside of clothes so that it does not cause constant irritation leading to eczema.

7. Prevent long exposure to sun

The melanin levels in a baby’s skin is also low and hence it is extremely important to protect them from UV rays. It is best to avoid direct sunlight on a baby’s skin. But if you must stay out for an extended period of time, use a dermatologist recommended skin cream for a baby that gives him or her sun protection.

8. Avoid frequent and long baths

Long baths and showers for a baby are something you should avoid at all costs. These tend to speed up the drying of the baby’s skin.

When should you and when should you not worry about the imperfections on your baby’s skin?

  1. Some skin rashes can happen in a baby which are transient in nature. These can occur due to the presence of maternal hormones in the baby. Examples of these are neonatal acne and milia. But these are nothing to be worried about.
  2. There are other types of spots and marks like bluish Mongolian spots which occur in a baby because of lower amounts of melanocytes, but these are also transient in nature.
  3. There are also other skin conditions like birth marks or hemangioma which will persist but are nothing to be worried about.
  4. The only good piece of advice is that when in doubt, see your dermatologist. Especially if there is any rash which is either irritating the baby or growing in size and quantity.

As parents of a newborn, we are all very anxious. But this anxiousness does not help the baby. The only way to deal with the issue if it occurs is to see a doctor. Believe me, medical science has advanced enough to deal with most things that life can throw at you. Most of all enjoy your newborn, these will be the moments that you will treasure for your life.

Dr Sejal Saheta

MD, DNB – Dermatology & Venereology, Founder and CMO - InUrSkn - Skin & Hair Clinic

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