Skin care tips for newborns: Know how to keep baby skin moisturised

Dealing with an infant’s cotton-touch like skin can be scary. As parents you would want to do right by their skin as well, so here are tips on how to keep your baby’s skin moisturized and healthy.
Applying moisturiser to baby skin
Moisturising your newborn baby's skin is essential. Image courtesy; Adobe Stock
Dr Kishore Kumar Published: 7 May 2023, 15:00 pm IST
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Is your baby’s skin as soft as a peach or as dry as a desert? As a new parent, you want to make sure your little one’s delicate skin is well taken care of. But with so many moisturisers and skincare myths out there, it can be hard to know what’s best. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Read on to discover skin care tips for newborns and how to choose the perfect moisturiser for your little bundle of joy.

Understanding skin care for a newborn baby

Baby skin is delicate and constantly developing. The outermost layer of their skin is 30 percent thinner compared to adult skin, resulting in twice as fast moisture loss and an immature barrier. This, along with a changing pH, makes the baby’s skin more susceptible to dryness, irritation, rashes, inflammation, and dermatitis. Additionally, baby skin has less melanin, making them more vulnerable to sunburn.

Despite being the largest organ in the body with critical functions, skin care for children, especially newborns and infants, is often not given the attention it requires. Therefore, the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) has established standardised guidelines consisting of comprehensive, evidence-based recommendations to ensure quality paediatric skin care for neonates, infants, and children, as well as to address prevailing knowledge gaps.

moisturize baby
You need to keep your baby’s skin moisturized in all seasons. Adobe Stock

Moisturisation plays a critical role in improving a baby’s skin barrier function, preventing dryness, protecting against irritation, and aiding in the growth of good bacteria. However, amidst India’s extreme seasonal changes, with hot summers and harsh winters, miniaturisation is often overlooked and neglected as part of the overall skincare regimen due to prevalent myths.

Common myths around skin moisturisation for a baby

Myth 1: The baby only has dry skin if they show signs of dryness

Fact 1: According to IAP guidelines, a baby’s skin is clinically dry even when it doesn’t appear so. As a result, it is imperative to apply a moisturiser even if obvious signs of dryness are not visible.

Myth 2: If the baby has been massaged with oil, they don’t need to be moisturised

Fact 2: Although oil massage has several benefits, including improving blood circulation in the baby, the skin benefits depend on the type of oil used. The IAP recommends the use of sunflower oil, coconut oil, or mineral oil. It is also essential to moisturise the baby’s skin immediately after bathing while it is still damp to lock in the goodness of the moisturiser and hydrate the skin.

Myth 3: Olive and mustard oils are great moisturisers

Fact 3: Contrary to popular cultural notions, the IAP guidelines discourage the use of oils, especially olive and mustard oil, for massages. These oils should not be considered substitutes for moisturisers for babies. They may cause irritation, rashes and allergic reactions. Instead, parents should choose suitable moisturisers that hydrate the baby’s skin.

baby skincare
Give your baby’s skin extra TLC in case of rashes! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Myth 4: Moisturising is required only during winter months.

Fact 4: It is crucial to emphasise the importance of an all-season moisturisation regime to protect the baby’s skin against dryness and other skin issues. Lotions are a non-greasy moisturisation option and are readily absorbed by the skin. Therefore, they are best suited for use during the summer months. On the other hand, baby creams help impart the skin with a barrier that provides ultra-hydration and are best suited for dry to excessively dry skin. They are recommended during cold and harsh winters when babies are more prone to skin issues, including redness, dryness, white flakes, itchiness, and stinging.

Also read: These 5 genius ways of using vitamin E oil will give you baby soft skin

How to choose the best moisturiser for your newborn baby?

When choosing a moisturiser for a newborn baby, parents should look for products with ingredients that can nourish and protect their little one’s delicate skin. Some recommended ingredients to consider include:

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* Humectants such as Glycerin, Hyaluronic acid, and Sorbitol, which attract moisture from the deeper layers of the skin to the top layer, helping to retain moisture in the skin.

* Occlusive agents such as waxes (carnauba and beeswax), silicone, oils (olive and soybean), dimethicone, lanolin, mineral oil, and white petrolatum, which prevent water loss from the skin’s surface and protect the skin from external irritants. These ingredients also act as a physical barrier, helping to retain skin moisture and reduce irritation.

moisturize baby's skin
Your baby’s lotion should have all these ingredients. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

* Emollients like lipids and oils, colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and isopropyl palmitate, which are essential in addressing issues related to intense dryness, such as cracking and flaking of the skin, leaving gaps between the skin cells. These ingredients spread easily on the skin and help to restore the skin barrier.

* Additionally, moisturisers with natural ingredients like milk proteins, Vitamin E, Vitamin B5, and Aloe can also be beneficial in softening the skin and strengthening the skin’s protective barrier.


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About the Author

Dr R. Kishore Kumar is a neonatologist who has worked across North America, the UK, Asia and Australia. After spending nearly 18 years overseas, Dr Kishore, along with three other founders, established Cloudnine Group of Hospitals in 2006. The genesis of the hospital was rooted in his belief that pregnancy is a wellness, not an illness. Through Cloudnine, he was determined to raise quality and service standards in maternal and neonatal care in India. As the Founding Chairman of Cloudnine Group of Hospitals and senior neonatologist at Cloudnine Hospital, Jayanagar, Dr Kishore has been instrumental in propelling Cloudnine Group of Hospitals to the pinnacle of the maternity and neonatal landscape today. He has received an array of honours for his achievements in neonatology, the most significant being a felicitation for his contribution to the field of neonatology by former US President Bill Clinton. ...Read More

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