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Baby Skincare Tips

by Kaitlin Schupp, PA

Babies have different skin care needs than adults.

As a new mom (or a veteran!), knowing what products one should be using on your baby's skin can be overwhelming. There are so many baby skincare products to choose from and knowing what is best can be a challenge. 

I get it. There’s also the fact that babies can have a vast array of skin conditions that we are tempted to treat. However, in many cases, it is best to take the “less is more” approach. Here's our basic guide to when to treat baby skin conditions and how to treat them.

Common Newborn Baby Skincare Conditions 

Baby Acne: 

Baby acne is very common to see on the cheeks and sometimes forehead of your little one. It often presents as little red bumps (inflammatory papules) and occasionally white heads (pustules). It is important to never squeeze or try to pop the pimples, as this can be uncomfortable for your little one but also increase risk of scarring. Baby acne goes away on its own, usually by 6 weeks, or one year at the latest. No treatment is necessary. You can use warm water and a washcloth to gently clean the skin. Avoid any over-the-counter products for acne- these are much too harsh for newborns. 


Milia are tiny white bumps that appear across a baby’s nose, chin or cheeks. Milia are common in newborns and resolve on their own, usually by 6 weeks. Again, do not try to squeeze or pop them.


Seborrheic Dermatitis (Cradle Cap):

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition seen in infants. It usually appears before the age of 3 months and usually resolves by 6-12 months. It commonly affects the scalp, but sometimes the eyebrows, forehead, temples, folds around the nose, and the area behind the ears can be affected. 

These tips from the National Eczema Foundation can be helpful for treating cradle cap: 

  1. Although there is no need to treat cradle cap, the following suggestions may be helpful: 

  2. Use mild, unscented baby shampoo and luke warm water to wash the scalp every few days. Gently massage the scalp with fingertips to remove crusts and excess scale, but do not rub vigorously. Cerave baby or Mustela products are wonderful. 

  3. Gentle brushing with a soft brush will help to loosen the scales. Baby Frida sells a cradle cap brush designed specifically to help reduce scale. 

  4. Do not pick the scales as this may increase the risk of infection. If you are not able to remove the scales with the simple measures recommended above, soften them prior to washing with an emollient such as vaseline or aquaphor. 

General Baby Skin Care: 

Remember, a baby’s skin is five times thinner than an adult’s skin. This is why we need to be so careful with products. A baby’s skin can become irritated quickly. Your baby’s immune system is developing, so stay away from products with chemicals, fragrances, and dyes that may be present in clothing, detergents, and even baby products. These things can lead to newborn skin irritation, dryness, chafing, and rashes. 

  1. Resist the urge to bathe your baby too frequently. Any more than three times a week will remove the natural oils that protect a baby’s skin. That leaves your baby’s skin vulnerable, and may trigger a reaction like eczema.

  2. Wash your baby’s clothing before it’s worn. Use only baby laundry detergents that are fragrance- and dye-free. All Free and Clear is a great choice. 

  3. Wash baby clothes, bedding, and blankets separately from the family’s laundry.

  4. Use mild and gentle cleansers. Brands such as Cetaphil Baby or Cerave Baby are great choices for bathing, as well as moisturizers to use after a bath. 

The bottom line is that a baby’s skin is not the same as yours. It needs gentle and careful care, and the general motto when it comes to products and treatments, remember that less is more!


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