Infant skin care


I can’t count how many times a week I have to tell the parents of a newborn baby that the scented brand name babywashes and oils are not good for their baby’s skin. The baby products that are marketed to new parents are scented, which is irritating to an infant’s skin (everyone’s, actually). In addition the way the acid-base balance is set to prevent eye irritation  is also irritating to the skin. One should not use anything on an infant’s skin that “smells like a baby”.

I should mention that I have no financial interest in any company at this time. I am not being paid to support any products. Have you heard the joke where two elephants are sitting in the bath and one says to the other “pass the soap” and the other says “no soap radio”. Everyone who knows the joke laughs and the person who has not heard it before feels dumb because he doesn’t get it. Truth is, there is nothing to get, but I think of it all the time because “no soap” is what’s best for a baby. They really don’t get that dirty, and water does the job well. If you feel that’s not good enough, the least costly option that is less irritating is Dove for sensitive skin. If you really want a “baby” cleanser, Aveeno, is also not as bad. Cetaphil is a non soap cleanser that is very gentle as well. Getting into the more expensive options, it’s mostly a matter of personal preference and what works for each individual child.

Next, baby lotion is not necessary. They all peel, it’s normal. If a child has eczema and really needs an emollient, plain old fashioned Vaseline is generally the best thing. There is actually a “baby” Vaseline now with a scent, so that is to be avoided. Again there are many pricier options (Aquaphor, Eucerin, calendula) but dermatologists recommend Vaseline since it is the least irritating/allergenic.

If a baby has cradle cap, the easiest remedy is just mineral oil; rubbed into the scalp prior to the bath. Then comb out the flakes with a fine tooth comb afterwards. Don’t be afraid to come over the soft spot, you won’t do any damage. It’s tougher than you think.

I also feel that the scented diapers can be irritating.  Huggies seems to be the least irritating of the common brands on the drugstore shelves. Wipes can be irritating as well. If possible, avoid them for the first few months. A wet napkin or paper towel (Viva towels are good for this) is less abrasive and can help avoid rashes. If you are using regular wipes, it is best to rinse them off before use.

If a rash develops, see your baby’s doctor.  There are many benign rashes but some are more serious and it’s best to have it checked out. And lastly, never use your own medication on a baby’s skin, it could be too strong for them. Infant skin is thin and steroids penetrate more easily. It’s very important to ask a doctor before using any medicated creams or ointment on an infant.

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Filed under Dermatology, Newborn care, Uncategorized

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