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Contrary to what you believe that baby skin is soft and smooth, it is actually dry, flaky, and sensitive—especially when they are newborn. As soon as the little ones come into the world, they can develop numerous skin conditions such as cradle cap, diaper rash, milia, infantile acne, and others. And because the baby’s skin is extremely delicate, you have to be looked after it with utmost care. So, to find the best baby skincare routine, look no further. We have an expert to guide you.
Health Shots spoke to Dr Jagdish Kathwate, Consultant Neonatologist and Paediatrician, Motherhood Hospital Kharadi Pune, to know the dos and don’ts of the baby skincare routine.
A newborn baby’s skin is soft and delicate, so when it comes to your baby’s skin, try not to over-bathe. A newborn doesn’t need a bath every day because babies don’t get dirty enough to need daily baths. Plus, frequent bathing may dry out the skin and strip the natural oils that act as a barrier against infections and other irritants, explains Dr Kathwate. That’s why bathing the little one twice or thrice a week is okay.
Bathe your baby with lukewarm water, instead of hot. Also, don’t forget to clean the diaper area from time to time.
Unlike us, babies lose their natural moisture faster because of the skin formation of the baby. Ideally, you should look for subtle and skin-friendly products. Once the skin is dry, apply them immediately especially after bathing the baby to seal in moisture and prevent skin dryness. It will be a good idea to consult an expert before using any products.
Also, when it comes to babies’ skincare products like shampoo, lotion and gel, be careful about any likely allergies.
Regular massage to the baby will keep their skin soft and supple. Choose massage oil only after consulting the expert. You can also give a few minutes of massage to your baby while applying moisture. Massage the skin in a circular motion and try not to massage too vigorously, since it might cause harm to your baby’s skin.
There are many types of products available in the market, but not all are safe. Dr Kathwate says, “Some of them contain chemicals or irritants which can cause rashes, redness, inflammation, and itchiness in babies.” Limit or avoid scented and artificial coloured baby skin products especially for the first several months, and choose fragrance-free products.
If the skin is getting dry, use only ointment or lotion to prevent or cure dryness.
Baby should be kept out of the direct exposure to the sunlight because it can be harmful to their skin. Dr Kathwate says, “Too much sunlight exposure is not recommended for the baby as the UV rays are harmful. You will have to cover the baby appropriately by using an umbrella, cap, or hat to avoid the UV rays.” Try to protect your baby from harmful UV rays for at least 6 months.
Diaper rash is seen when the baby remains in the diaper for a longer time. Eczema is often characterized by dry, itchy skin. Use products suggested by the expert to manage these conditions.