From being couples to being parents, parenthood is a blissful journey that demands constant attention and commitment. Both first time parents and experienced ones need to understand that successful parenting is not easy and can only be attained by taking some proactive steps. Talking about the initial phase of parenthood, new born babies need a lot of care and concern. Right from the time they wake up in the morning till the time they go off to sleep and sometimes even during the night; parents need to be on toes to ensure their little one's sound health and wellbeing. However, most parents would complain that even after taking all the due precautions and measures, some way or the other their baby incorporates a problem.
A simple answer to the above mentioned problem is that babies are constantly growing. What may be good for your baby today can be bad tomorrow! Talking about baby skin care, it demands a lot of attention and care. Almost all of you would agree that there is nothing as lovely as the soft, delicate skin of the baby, but nothing as irritating as a cranky baby who cries all day due to rashes, cradle cap or any other skin condition. The delicate skin of your baby needs utmost care and attention. A small rash can be extremely annoying for the baby and if not treated in due time, chances are it might take bigger shape in days to come. If like most new parents, you too are confused about how to maintain the proper skin care of your baby to keep him/her happy and comfortable; then read on to know more about baby skin care.
1. Baby Acne Treatment
Baby's acne is a common occurrence in infants. These little red rough rashes are generally non-toxic and usually appear on the cheeks, nose, back and even tummy. It is basically transient in nature and painless, though the condition can aggravate if the baby comes in touch with saline water. However, to see your baby in distress is never a good feeling. A multiple number of reasons that are attributed to the occurrence of acne are hormonal causes (transmission of mother's left over hormones in the baby's body), bad bowel movement, unsuitable weather conditions, sticking of milk and saliva on the face, germs etc. Parents need to take it as nature's course, but if the acne persists for a longer period of time, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist. Parents should make sure that baby does not scratch his/her face as acne would get worse in that case. Treatment for baby acne is rather simple. All you need to do is take certain precautions to avoid aggravating the skin condition.
Treatment for Baby Acne
Always use a mild baby soap on the acnes and do not rub the skin much, make sure your own hands are clean enough before you treat your baby's face and have a clean towel to pat it dry in order to reduce further complications.
To ease out your baby's discomfort, dress him/her up in cool, comfortable cotton clothes that are not harsh against your baby's skin. Use soft natural detergents to wash their clothes.
Do not use any lotions or creams on the acne site, as it will exacerbate the condition and make it difficult for the toddler or you to deal with it.
Take advice from your dermatologist about using some diluted vinegar solution on the face of your baby. It is known to have some curable properties and can be helpful to treat your baby's rashes.
Remember, never expose your babies to direct sunrays as it will harm them and may cause the skin to inflame further.
Overall hygiene is crucial to your baby's health. Dirty and unhygienic conditions will only add to your bundle of worries. Keep your baby's body clean and germ free.
Just keeping your baby in hygienic condition is not enough. Remember to wipe your baby's face with clean cotton wipes after every few hours. Also, regularly apply prescribed medication to the affected areas to heal the acnes as soon as possible.
Treating baby acne
2. Cradle Cap in Infants
Cradle cap, also known as ‘Crusta Lactea’, is a yellowish, patchy, greasy and crusty skin rash that occurs on the scalp of new born babies. It is something quite common among the newborns and begins in the first 3 months of the baby's birth. It is usually not itchy and doesn't bother babies much. But, if it starts getting thicker and starts spreading, it becomes a matter of concern. The rash is prominent around the ear, the eyebrows or the eyelids. It can also spread and appear at other places also, where it is called ‘Seborrhoeic dermatitis’. Almost half of the babies have a mild version of cradle cap. Since it is quite common among the babies, it is not taken seriously by the parents. Parents usually resort to homely remedies to deal with the problem, but, it is advisable to refer to the doctor. The earlier it is taken care of, the better it is for the baby.
The causes of cradle cap are not clearly defined. It is not caused by any infection, allergy or from poor hygiene. It is possibly caused because of the sebaceous glands in the skin of newborn babies, which is due to the mother's hormones still in the baby's circulation. These glands release a greasy substance that makes the old skin cells attach to the scalp instead of falling off after drying. Practitioners and physicians have also speculated that this disorder is caused because of baby's immature digestive system being unable to absorb sufficient ‘biotin’ and other vitamins of B complex.
Thick and crusty yellow-brownish patches can be found on the scalp of the babies suffering from cradle cap disorder.
The skin on the scalp of the baby becomes quite oily and greasy. An oily and shiny skin is a clear indication of the disorder.
Babies suffering with cradle cap disorder may also experience hair loss.
White and yellow flakes of skin form on the scalp.
The skin of the scalp might even turn red in the worst scenarios. This is a rare happening, but if the problem increases, it might lead to a red itchy scalp.
Sores can also get formed on the scalp, if the problem goes unattended for long.
There is no well defined diagnostic test for cradle cap. The diagnosis is based on a thorough medical history and physical examination of the child. Examination of medical history includes family history of any skin problems, allergies or anything else that might have contributed to the problem. A physical examination, on other hand, includes the examination of any signs of cradle cap in the baby and its location. Also, any other rashes on the baby's body are also checked in for. If the doctor tracks any allergic reaction, then the baby is recommended to an allergist.
Cradle cap in babies
Oil can be gently applied to the scalp if it is very hard. Applying mineral oil or any baby oil before shampooing can help soften crusty patches of skin on the scalp. After applying oil, wrap it with warm cloth for an hour. Do not apply oil after shampooing, as it may stick the flakes to the scalp, which can worsen the condition.
You can apply petroleum jelly like Vaseline liberally and leave it for overnight. The jelly will help the scales to soften and either fall off during night, or it can be brushed off in the morning.
Brush the scalp gently with a soft brush or with your fingers. This will help loosen the flaky skin and will improve the circulation in the area. This should be done before shampooing. This will help clean the dead skin cells.
Shampoo your baby's scalp every other day with a mild baby shampoo or soap. You can reduce the use of shampoo to twice a week once the skin flakes are no longer present on the scalp. The shampoo should not be used for more than once in a day as too much of cleaning of the area may cause dryness, thus worsening the condition.
A paste can be made from sodium bicarbonate which can be applied on the affected area for 10 minutes. This is an effective method to get rid of the scales.
Ketoconazole shampoos and creams are proving to be very effective in the treatment of moderate and serious cradle cap cases. Research indicates that this anti-fungal medication is not absorbed in the bloodstream.
3. Baby Skin Care in Winter
Everyone is concerned about their skin care, especially in winters and of course, the most delicate creatures among us are babies, who deserve it the most. Humidity starts to vanish from air and you start battling against cold waves that dampen your baby's skin badly. Cold waves in winters may result in chapping, redness and irritation on your baby's skin. A proper balance has to be maintained between clothing and skin care because even after ensuring proper skin care, wrong selection of clothes can hamper the care part. Spending long hours only on baby skin care can be worthless without knowing the right way to do it.
Tips for Winter Skin Care
It's advisable not to make your baby take bath daily as there is less humidity in air and daily exposure to water can make the skin more rough and dry. Even if you daily do it, restrict the bathing time to just two or three minutes.
Use baby lotions containing greasier contents and massage it on their body immediately after bath and try to maintain a cozy temperature in your room, especially at that time.
Don't over dress your baby with woolens, as he/she may sweat internally, clogging their sweat pores and develops red rashes. Just try to cuddle them in soft fur like clothes for a soft touch to their skin.
Your baby's skin can be oily or dry. For dry skin, give a massage of warm unscented oils and for babies having oily skin, a moisturiser massage is sufficient as more oil will give rise to acne.
Use mittens and head covers like hats, caps and hoods for your baby's winter wear. These will help protect the delicate skin on hands, face and head. Consider using accessories, including stroller that has covers or blankets to shield against wind.
During winter time, go for creams in place of baby powders in the baby's diapers. Creams form a protective layer that protects the skin against friction, moisture and discomfort.
Winter dresses for babies
Babies are vulnerable to frostbite as they rapidly lose heat in cold temperature and their lips tend to dry badly developing into painful sores. To prevent it, always apply lip care jelly for babies within a period of two to three hours.
Also apply a light coat of petroleum jelly inside baby's nose, as harsh cold air can induce dryness in the nose and can result in bleeding at times. Check that your baby doesn't rub his or her nose.
Make your baby drink an average amount of lukewarm water to keep the skin hydrated from within.
4. Baby Sun Protection
Wiggling toes, chubby little fingers, petal skin and glazing faces are the most prominent physical features of babies. However, they are also the most sensitive among all of us and can be badly affected by sunrays, if exposed to them without taking proper precautions and care. Their skin doesn't produce enough melanin, which acts as a shield to harmful sun rays. At the same time, if babies are inappropriately exposed to sun rays and get a sun burn, they can develop malignant melanoma later in life. It is a common belief that a couple of hours of sun exposure in a day helps babies to absorb vitamin D and all the metabolic functions in the body can be very well regulated by it. However, what matters is the time when you expose your baby to the sun. When the sun rays are the harshest, they can burn your baby's skin badly.
A baby boy with an umbrella
Tips for Sun Safety
Set a time to expose your baby in the sun, preferably not between 11 to 3 as run rays are the harshest at this time and will harm your baby's skin, instead of benefiting it.
If you are exposing your baby to sunlight, cover him/her with light coloured fabric, such as light blue or white, covering the head as well, as these colours do not absorb fully the sunlight but reflect it back. Always place the baby in such a position that his/her back is facing the sun. In this way, he/she will only get the healthy sunlight energy.
If your baby is more than six months old, you can also buy some non-alcoholic, milky sun creams for them and apply it all over the exposed parts to seek more protection.
You need to ensure that after you expose the baby to sunlight, he/she doesn't get any rashes on the skin, as it a sign of allergy and need not be overlooked.
Look for toy sunglasses which have 100 percent protection from sun rays as pupil in their eyes absorb more light in the sun, which is not safe for your baby.
Get a nice thick cloth cover for your baby, in case you are going outside and need to take your baby with you.
Your baby's lips are also very sensitive. Always use petroleum jelly to shield lips from sun even on cloudy days, as most of the sunrays penetrate through clouds and can be harmful.
If despite all possible efforts your baby does get sunburns, seek treatment for it and give your baby lots of fluids.
5. Daily Skin Care
The delicate and sensitive skin of your baby needs proper care. The air doesn't seem to be so much pure and crisp as before and the pollution in the air and surroundings can irritate the skin resulting into more sensitiveness. Special attention and care has to be given to your tiny tots, and their skin should be taken care of everyday, apart from daily body massages. Baby's skin is very delicate and much different from the adult's and can become extra sensitive to sunrays as enough melanin is not produced in babies. Parents are often seen to expose their babies directly to sunlight; however it is not a very healthy practice. Apart from taking certain precautions, use and application of baby skincare products is extremely relevant and proper guidance should be taken from dermatologists to serve the purpose.
Tips for Daily Skin Care
Skin care for babies starts from their very first bath and parents should make sure that bath water is lukewarm in summers and a little bit warmer in winters, so that skin doesn't become dry or rash. Diluted soap should be applied to the skin for keeping it moistured. A mild moisturising lotion should be applied in good quantities on the skin to make it supple and soft.
Babies often suffer from acne problems, but most of the time it is a temporary thing and disappears on its own, the reason being there are left over hormones in the baby's system from the mother. For the treatment part, make sure you never prick the acne, as it would result into scarring. Try some specially made natural baby skin products for acne prone skin or just make sure you often clean the acne area with damp cotton to make it dirt-free.
Mineral-based oils can be avoided as they tend to dry the skin when absorbed, rather go for organic and natural oil like coconut, lavender, chamomile, rose, etc as they soothe the skin more and impart it more moisture.
The soap used for baby's bath should be low alkaline baby soap. Harsh soap may hurt the baby's soft skin.
Apply good amount of baby cream to the baby's skin especially during winters. Apply it soon after bath when the skin is moist. This will keep the baby's skin soft and supply throughout the day.
Talcum powders for babies can contain bleach like substances that are harmful for your baby's skin and can darken portions of baby's body if accumulate on any area.
Babies are always put into diapers and irritation starts to develop due to that, so make sure that you free your babies of diapers for two or three times in a day and apply some diaper rash cream on the parts in case of rashes, before fixing the diapers.
Always use dye-free or fragrance-free detergents for washing baby clothes as usual family detergents may irritate the baby's skin and rashes can appear due to that.
Selection of clothes is also very important as per the season, make sure you use linen or cotton clothes in summer as these fabrics make the air pass through quickly and rashes will not develop. In winters, clothes should be warm enough and loose-fitted, as skin can get red at some parts if tightly tied.
Skin care for babies
Q-1. What is cradle crap? How should I remove it?
Ans. Cradle cap is a type of dandruff of the scalp. It may be found as thick white or yellowish crusts and scales on the scalp. You should wash the baby's head regularly. If the rash persists or spreads to the face, ears, neck, armpits, etc, you should consult the doctor.
Q-2. My daughter has tiny pearly-white raised spots scattered over her face. How do I deal with them?
Ans. Often babies have 1-2 mm sized, pearly-white raised spots scattered over the nose, chin and forehead. They are called milia. They occur due to blocked sebaceous glands. Do not try to squeeze them. they usually disappear without any treatment on their own.
Q-3. My son has litle white, raised spots near the roof of his mouth. What are they and will they hurt him while feeding?
Ans. These little white, raised spots near the midline of the baby's palate are harmless cysts. In medical terms they are called Epstein pearls. If you look closely, they may be seen on gums as well. They are harmless and go away on their own. No treatment is needed.
Q-4. During winter, my baby's cheeks and chin become dry and chapped. What should I do?
Ans. The skin of the babies is very sensitive. Even a little rubbing with woollens can cause rashes. Make sure that his woollens do not rub on his chin and cheeks. Keep him away from cold winds as they can take away the natural moisture from the skin. Give an oil massage and moisturiser massage to the baby throughout the winter to avoid dry and chapped skin.
Q-5. How do I make sure that my son gets enough vitamin D from the sun but does not get sun burn?
Ans. While exposing your son to sunlight cover him in light coloured clothes. Do not let him face the sun directly. Allow his hands and feet to absorb the nutrition from the sunlight. Avoid harsh rays of the sun for too long.
Q-6. Should I sprinkle talcum powder on my baby during summer months to prevent prickly heat?
Ans. Use of talcum powder should be avoided as it tends to collect in the skin creases and may cause skin irritation and rashes. It may also enter the baby's eyes and nose and irritate him. To avoid prickly heat, keep the baby in a cool place and in cotton clothes.