Newborn babies are more susceptible to dry skin. They remain immersed in the amniotic fluid in their mother's womb for nine long months. When they come to the outside world, their skin becomes sensitive and fragile.
It tends to get irritated when it comes in contact with the harsh environmental conditions like cold outdoor temperature, indoor heating, air conditioning, dry air, etc. Moreover, their sweat glands are not fully active. In such a condition, the skin surface is unable to retain the natural moisture, and it becomes dry.
Skin Care Measures
The main aim is to keep the baby's skin clean and hydrated. Following skin care measures may help the mothers to address the problem of dry skin in their infants:
Reduce the Frequency of Bathing
Like small children or adults, newborns do not need bathing every day. Their body is cleaned several times during diaper changes, and their face is also wiped off after every feeding. So, bathing them on every alternative day or even twice or thrice a week would be sufficient.
Decrease the Bathing Time
Bathing strips off the natural oils from the baby's skin along with the dirt and makes it dry. Therefore, limit the bathing time of your baby to maximum 10 minutes.
Lukewarm Water for Bathing
Hot water bath aggravates the dryness of the skin. Therefore, bathe your baby in lukewarm water.
Use the Right Soap
Bathing soaps meant for adults are not suitable for the infant's skin since they contain harsh chemicals. Therefore, select a baby soap that has high moisturizer content and is fragrance free. Avoid scrubbing the skin and its exposure to soap for a long time.
After taking the baby out of the bath, pat dry the skin with a soft towel and then apply a moisturizer. It should be applied within minutes so that the lotion or cream can hold the moisture which is left behind on the skin surface.
Rinse off Saltwater
If your baby's skin is exposed to salt or chlorinated water, then it should be rinsed off with plain tap water immediately. This can happen if he or she is exposed to swimming pool water or ocean water. The salt and chlorine have a drying effect on the skin.
Keep their Body Hydrated
Your baby cannot drink water to keep him/ her hydrated. The only source of water for them is breast milk. Whenever they are hungry, breastfeed them properly which will also quench their thirst and keep their body in a hydrated state.
Protection from Weather
In winter, the baby' feet and hands tend to become dry and chapped, and therefore mittens should be used to keep them covered. During summer, keep them away from direct sunlight so that they do not get sunburns. If you live in a dry weather condition, use a humidifier in the room where your baby spends most of the time.
The aforementioned skin care measures may improve in the skin condition of your infant. However, in case, your baby's skin seems excessively dry, irritated or itchy, or if you notice a rash or breakout, consult your pediatrician immediately.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.