Why babies need specialist skincare

Top skin tips for newborn babies.
Top skin tips for newborn babies.  Photo: Getty.

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When it comes to newborn babies' delicate skin, choose products with care, advises paediatric dermatologist Dr Li-Chuen Wong.

Here, Dr Wong shares her top newborn skin tips…

#1 Baby skin is more delicate

Your little bundle has been cocooned, protected and thermo-regulated for 40 weeks, which means their skin is more sensitive compared to older children or adults.

"This is due to several factors: firstly, a baby's skin hasn't been exposed to environmental elements like sun and wind, which hardens the skin," Dr Wong explains.

"Also, babies are born with a greater skin surface area compared to their weight. There's more skin to absorb ingredients found in skincare products, but this makes their skin more prone to water loss and dryness."

Therefore, it's important to moisturise your baby's skin regularly. "Oils and creams are very hydrating and help prevent moisture loss," adds Dr Wong.

As a general rule, choose skincare products that are dermatologically tested and come recommended to you by a trusted source, like the Australian College of Midwives.

Baby massage is another great way to nourish the skin, Dr Wong suggests. "It has many other benefits, including parent-baby bonding, promoting sleep and helping to relax your baby."


#2 Babies need more than water at bath-time

A little dip and splash under water – without using appropriate cleaning skincare – can actually do more harm than good.

"Water is dehydrating. The more baby sits in it, the more dehydrated skin will become. In order to hydrate the skin, and put moisture back into it, you need to use a bath oil," says Dr Wong.

And as for genitalia, bath-wash is essential. "Water isn't enough to effectively clean faeces, urine and other unhealthy bacteria," she says.

"I recommend a soap-free wash, which removes particles to clean, nourish and prevent nappy rash."

What your baby needs at bath-time.

What your baby needs at bath-time. Photo: Getty.

#3 Babies are prone to unique skin conditions

One of the most common is cradle cap: a thick yellow, greasy scale that affects the baby's scalp and can even involve the eyebrows.

Dr Wong says cradle cap can be a predictor for future skin issues. "Research shows that of those babies with cradle cap, one third will go on to develop eczema, one third will develop psoriasis, and one third will have no skin problems."

Treatment is relatively simple. "You can liberally apply olive oil to the affected area for about 20 minutes," advises Dr Wong.

"Then, during bath time, gently rub over the cradle cap with a face washer to remove the skin build-up. Don't force the skin off though. You can repeat this process daily."

Alternatively, Dr Wong adds that if the scale is really thick, speak with your midwife or other paediatric expert about alternative treatments.

Cetaphil Baby, endorsed by the Australian College of Midwives, is dermatologically-tested to protect baby's delicate skin. For more information, visit www.cetaphil.com.au AU-CET-2000036