When Can You Use Lotion on Newborns?
Did you say silky-smooth-velvety-soft-newborn skin?
Did you know that babies can also experience dry skin? Yup, that’s right! Sounds silly, but it seems that having skin “as soft as a baby’s bottom”, isn’t always what we, or babies, should strive for. It is important to note that yes, while babies do have extremely soft skin, that doesn’t mean they’re not susceptible to dry skin as well. One of the reasons for their coveted soft skin is actually due to a very organic component called vernix caseosa. Vernix is the milky, white substance we see covering the baby when it’s first born. Vernix coats the skin and acts as a barrier while facilitating postnatal hydration and helping your baby with overall accumulation and retention of moisture. This marvelous, natural, organic-as-it-gets moisturizer keeps the skin hydrated and adds to that overall soft feel. These benefits, incredible as they are, do not last forever. Your baby could still struggle, Vernix or not, with dryness. They can even contract a variety of other skin problems and diseases like rashes, eczema or baby acne. We’re not trying to fear monger but hey, it is important to be aware of the possibilities and stay informed. Also, know that just because your baby’s skin is dry at a given time, that doesn't mean there's a major problem with them. Dry skin on a baby is so normal and is usually an easy fix as long as you keep their skin moisturized. So don’t panic, you got this.
How to Combat dryness?
Before you begin to attack dry skin, it’s always best to try to determine the cause of skin dryness. When you know the cause it’s easier to tackle the problem, so start by asking yourself if these common problems apply to you.
Here are some common problems and solutions:
Try to avoid long baths, especially if these are done frequently or with really hot water. Note that letting your child soak in soapy or bubbly water for too long could also contribute to irritated skin. Long baths might remove some of your baby's natural oils and be dehydrating to them, which then leads to dry, rashy, itchy skin. As a rule of thumb, if the skin is getting red after a shower or bath, the water is too hot! You can also combat the dryness and keep the skin moisturized by applying a gentle baby lotion after the shower. For easier absorption of the product, apply it immediately right out of the bath while the skin is still wet. Remember to gently pat dry with a towel instead of rubbing.
When the air is cold and temperatures drop, the moisture levels in your skin do as well. Cold air can be very harsh and can strip the skin from its moisture. Protect your newborn from a winter rash and dry flaky skin by covering them appropriately when going out or by applying a non-irritating baby lotion or moisturizer. A good lotion can help lock in all the moisture of the skin and prevents it from drying out. It might be a good idea to keep a bottle with you handy inside your diaper bag when you’re on the go. This way you can reapply throughout the day and keep your baby's skin in tip-top shape and avoid skin irritation at all times. Remember to also moisturize after bathing.
Dry air equals dry, itchy skin. When the air is dry it contains lower humidity levels and when the air lacks humidity, it can dry out the skin. The lower the relative humidity, the easier this can happen. To combat the dryness in the air use a humidifier or vaporizer. A humidifier will do just that- add humidity to the air. This helps relieve and prevent your baby from dry, flaky or irritated skin. Do clean your humidifier or vaporizer and refill with new water on a daily basis.
If these measures don’t seem to help with your baby’s skin irritation, it might be time to consult with your doctor or pediatrician. While we’re on the topic of pediatricians, it's always a good idea to ask your doctor about the products you’re using and ask which of those are safe and which ones you should steer away from. Not all creams, lotions, wipes or washes in the market are formulated the same way and some even contain harsh chemicals or ingredients that could be harmful to your newborn.
Using Lotion on Newborns
Using a moisturizing lotion on your newborn is okay and safe to use in place of baby oil unless otherwise directed by your pediatrician. Do keep in mind the type of lotion that you’re using. Use a lotion that has been formulated with a baby's sensitive nature in mind. You can’t just be using “mommy’s” skin care and dab it on your little one, you need to find a lotion for baby skin. Even if the products you’re using work for you, are for delicate skin, have been dermatologically tested and are non-comedogenic, this doesn't mean you can freely use it on your newborn. Some adult skincare products have strong components or anti-aging properties like retinol, actives or acids that can seriously irritate and sensitize a baby’s already sensitive skin. Vitamin C, a common ‘adult skincare’ ingredient for instance, safe as it sounds, can sensitize the skin to sunlight causing hyperpigmentation, potential sun damage among other things we would rather just not expose our children to.
What Lotions Can you use on Newborns?
Baby lotion. Baby lotion was made for babies, developed with babies' sensitive skin in mind and formulated specifically for their needs and various soft skin types. Try to find a sensitive gentle product that is free of perfumes and synthetic fragrances as these are known to easily irritate their delicate skin. Other ingredients to watch out for are parabens, sulfates, artificial dyes/colors, and fragrances.
You may experience the oil and lotion separation when using a true natural product with organic ingredients because there is no chemical added to mix/glue both ingredients well. Just shake the bottle more before you use it for the best touch!