We’re all familiar with the idea of flawless ‘baby soft’ skin, so it’s not unusual for new parents to worry about their baby having dry skin.
In most cases, it’s perfectly normal for babies to have dry skin.
There are lots of reasons for babies having dry skin that aren’t too serious, and can be treated quite easily.
Why do babies have dry skin?
It’s normal for newborn babies to have dry peeling skin in their first few weeks of life, as their skin adjusts to the environment outside the amniotic fluid it was used to in the womb.
Even from a few months onward, babies still have very delicate and sensitive skin.
Baby skin is structurally different to adult skin and takes time to build up a strong protective barrier.
Research has found that baby skin is 20-30% thinner than their adult mothers’ skin.
This thin skin can be prone to dryness because it absorbs and loses moisture more quickly.
It’s not unusual for babies to develop patches of dry and flaky skin from things like being bathed too often, dry air, or aggravating skin products or fabrics.
Some babies might have even more sensitive skin than usual due to genetics.
If you notice that your baby has dry skin, you should be able to treat it at home by making a few simple changes.
How to care for dry skin in babies
The most significant way to treat baby dry skin and to prevent it from coming back is to keep your baby’s skin hydrated and avoid environmental triggers.
To maintain skin hydration, feed your baby regularly and moisturise their skin several times a day with products formulated for sensitive baby skin.
To prevent your baby from developing dry skin, avoid harsh chemicals and rough fabrics.
You should also avoid temperature changes by sticking to lukewarm baths, using a humidifier to prevent dry air, and dressing your baby in appropriate clothing when you go out.
If your baby still has very dry skin despite these measures, you may want to try other treatments.
This could include things like specially designed baby clothes that hydrate your baby’s skin and hold in moisture for longer.
If your baby’s skin is dry and flaky most of the time and doesn’t get better with the above steps, it could be a sign of a more long-term skin condition.
Take your baby to the doctor if your baby’s skin becomes red, scaly, and itchy.
Your doctor will be able to diagnose whether your baby has a genetic condition like eczema, ichthyosis, or psoriasis and recommend the best treatment for your baby’s dry skin.