How to Care for Your Baby's Skin

Published April 28, 2010 | Updated June 30, 2015

Your baby's skin is delicate and needs gentle care. It's much more susceptible to heat, bacteria, sunburn, and allergens than an adult's skin. In order to properly care for your little one's sensitive skin, there are a few baby skin care products you need and a few tips you need to know.

Baby Skin Care Tips:

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Things You'll Need
Baby soap
Baby shampoo
Baby lotion
Soft washcloths
Soft towel
Soft-bristled hairbrush
Cotton balls
Baby sunscreen and hat
  • Only Use Products Meant for Babies

    Never use adult soaps, lotions, powders, or shampoos on your baby. Use plain water or gentle skin and hair care products designed specifically for babies.

  • Use Sun Protection

    Infants younger than six months should not be exposed to the sun. Use lightweight, loose clothing plus wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses to fully cover your newborn when going outside. After six months, a combination of sunscreen and protective clothing should be used before going outside. The sun's rays are their most harmful between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so avoid taking your baby outside during those hours.

  • Bathe with the Right Tools

    At bath time, use a soft washcloth to gently clean and exfoliate your baby's skin. A soft baby brush can be used to wash your baby's scalp. Use cotton balls and warm water to clean around your baby's eyes and nose.

  • Care for the Umbilical Cord

    Until your baby's umbilical cord falls off, sponge bathe your baby. An umbilical cord typically takes about 3 to 4 weeks to fall off. Follow your doctor's instructions for keeping the area around the umbilical cord clean and be sure to clean your baby's hands and face often.

  • Limit Bathing Frequency

    Daily bathing will dry out your baby's sensitive skin. It's much better to bathe your infant every few days and keep her hands, face, and diaper area clean in between baths.

  • Be Aware of Common Baby Skin Conditions

    Knowing what to watch out for can help you prevent conditions from worsening.

  • Baby Skin Conditions to Know:

    Infant acne: Newborns often develop small pink or white dots on the face called infant acne. Infant acne is nothing to worry about and should clear up by itself in a couple weeks. Do not try to squeeze the whiteheads to extract them; that will cause damage to your infant's skin.

    Heat rash: Heat, humidity, and overdressing can cause your baby's skin to develop small pink bumps called heat rash. Your baby's skin and sweat glands are still developing. This means that babies don't sweat as efficiently as adults do, making it more difficult for them to maintain a comfortable temperature. It's important to make sure not to overdress your baby and not to overheat your baby's bedroom.

    Cradle cap: Many newborns develop crusty patches of flaky skin on the scalp caused by overactive oil glands. Cradle cap will usually clear up by itself in time. To care for cradle cap, apply baby oil to your baby's scalp and let it sit for a few minutes before shampooing with baby shampoo. Use a soft baby brush to gently exfoliate the scalp.