Skin Sciences Institute

  • How to Care for Newborn Skin

    At Birth

    During the last trimester, the baby’s skin is covered with a white, creamy material called vernix caseosa. Vernix protects the skin from water and allows the outermost layers to form. It contains natural anti-infectives and anti-oxidant agents and provides a source of moisture. We recommend that it be rubbed into the baby’s skin because of these positive effects.

    Bathing

    Follow nurses’ instructions right after discharge. They recommend sponge baths until the umbilical cord falls off. Afterward, we suggest a liquid product. Several brands are commercially available. The product should be diluted with water before it is applied. The infant should be rinsed thoroughly with water to minimize residue that may disrupt barrier function.

    Diaper Area Care

    Diaper rash is common among infants and young children. Most of the time, the rash is relatively minor and appears as reddened areas within the diaper region. For mild irritation, we suggest cleansing the skin with warm water and a soft cloth.

    Our research has found that diaper wipes that are free of alcohol, fragrance and irritating ingredients are appropriate for newborns. The skin should be dried thoroughly before diapering the baby. A hair drier on the air setting is effective for drying the skin.

    At other times, particularly if the infant has been taking antibiotics and experiences diarrhea, the rash can be more severe. The area should be cleansed with warm water and a soft cloth. Apply a diaper rash product to the affected areas. This will provide a protective barrier between the skin and the next soiling. Use a product that is easy to clean off and do not rub the skin. Ideally, only remove the soiled material. Leave the remaining cream in place to avoid scrubbing the skin. Reapply the rash cream as needed. If the rash does not clear up or if it gets worse, contact with your baby’s pediatrician.