Dr. Greene

Baby Skincare 101

Pick up any newborn and you will instantly know where the phrase ‘baby soft’ comes from. Your baby’s skin is silky, lovable and, for the most part, absolutely perfect. It is a sensory memory you will cherish, particularly as they go into their teenage years. Lucky for us, most babies’ skin requires little care or upkeep. However, maintaining ‘baby soft’ skin is key to helping support their entire immune system.
 
Your baby’s skin, just like yours, is the largest organ in the body. It is a protective, toxin-fighting barrier against the elements. But, unlike our mature adult skin, baby’s skin is not nearly as developed. Here are some general guidelines for keeping baby’s skin soft and healthy:
 
Clean: It might come as a surprise, but your baby does not need a bath everyday or even every other day. They’re not hitting the gym or doing frequent heavy baby lifting like we are: a gentle sponge bath once or twice a week will suffice. Use a mild, organic soap for toddlers and just water for newborns.
 
Protect: There is a wealth of literature on safe sunscreen. I recommend minimal sun exposure until your baby is at least 6 months. If you or your baby will be exposed, a zinc or titanium-based sunscreen with SPF 35 will be healthy for newborn skin.
 
Soothe: There is usually a point when a baby or child will experience a minor skin condition such as a rash, bumps or pimples. Most often, these blemishes are temporary and rarely require treatment beyond an application of a gentle lotion. If a skin condition persists, attempt to get to the root of the problem. Are you using any products that contain harsh ingredients and chemicals such synthetic fragrances? Often, fabric softeners and laundry detergents are the culprits. If you are unable to locate the source, it’s time to talk to your pediatrician to help find the problem and soothe your baby.
 
Avoid: When you do use skincare products on your child, I recommend you select gentle products that are free of parabens, phthalates, coal tar, phenylenediamines (especially P-phenylenediamine or PPD), formaldehyde, toluene, methylisothiazolinone (MIT), benzophenone, homosalate, octyl-methoxycinnamate, and synthetic fragrances.
 
Finally, remember that skin-to-skin contact is an important part of your baby’s health and skincare. Touch is a highly developed sense at birth and is a primary method of communication between you and your newborn. Cultivating a gentle massage routine for your baby will help her grow more quickly and soundly, exhibit more playfulness and less fear, tolerate stress better and have stronger immune systems. The benefits of touch and massage are impressive and should not be overlooked!

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Dr. Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing pediatrician, author, speaker, children’s health advocate, and father of four.

Dr. Levine

Dr. Alanna Levine is a New York based pediatrician and a mom of two children.