Is It Normal For Newborns To Have Dry Skin

What Is Newborn Baby Skin Peeling

Infant Medical Care : Dry Skin Treatment for Infants

While in the womb, your baby was covered in vernix and submerged in amniotic fluid. After birth there might also be some blood on your babys skin, from the birth process.

As soon as the baby emerges and is placed on your chest, the midwives often quickly wipe away a little of the blood and vernix.

In the past, it was common to bathe a baby immediately after birth and remove all of the vernix. We now know there are benefits to leaving the vernix and even rubbing it into babys skin.

Vernix acts as a waterproof barrier to protect your babys skin after it has spent months soaking in amniotic fluid in utero. Vernix protects your babys skin from becoming dry when exposed to air after birth.

For more information be sure to read 6 Reasons To Delay Your Babys First Bath.

Its not uncommon for newborn skin peeling to start a few days after birth. As the vernix is eventually removed or rubbed in, your babys skin begins to shed.

Although peeling skin in children and adults usually means dry skin, this isnt the case for newborns.

Babies who are born after their due date often have less vernix. Their skin can have more peeling and can occur much sooner after birth.

Newborn skin peeling is simply another part of your babys transition from womb to world.

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Tips For Baby Skin Care


  • You dont need to bath your baby every day. Every second day or a few times a week is fine.
  • Pat, rather than rub, your babys skin to dry them off after a bath.

Powders and soaps

  • Do not use antimicrobial cleansers or any that contain chlorhexidine, as these are harsh on your babys skin.
  • Be cautious of herbal cleansers, as they can cause a skin reaction.
  • Do not use talcum powder.


  • Most skin dryness will clear up on its own, but if you use a moisturiser, choose a simple one that has no added perfumes or ingredients.
  • Try to use a moisturiser that has been tested for use on babies.

Other tips

  • Keep your baby warm, but not hot. Being hot can dry their skin.
  • If you have a family history of skin issues your babys skin care may need extra care so talk to your midwife, nurse or doctor.

Stork Bites And Other Birthmarks

Immature blood vessels may cause small red patches called “stork bites” or “angel kisses.” They can be on the face or back of the neck. Crying may make them brighter but they usually disappear within a year. Birth can cause other small scratches or blood spots on your newborn that should heal in a couple of weeks. Other types of birthmarks may stay around longer or never go away. If you’re concerned, talk to your pediatrician.

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Whats The Difference Between Dry Skin And Eczema In Babies

Wondering if that dry patch is actually a sign that your sweetie might have a more serious skin issue? Dry skin and eczema can have some symptoms in common. But there a few ways to tell the difference .

  • Eczema patches have a more distinct appearance. Run-of-the-mill dry skin can look rough or scaly. But skin with eczema can also be inflamed, and can look red or pink or red-brown, purplish or grayish . Skin with eczema can also develop tiny, fluid-filled pimples that eventually burst.
  • Eczema shows up in different spots. Both eczema and dry skin can appear on your babys hands, feet, face and lips. But its also common for eczema to develop in areas not typically prone to regular dryness, such as behind your babys ears, on her scalp, in the creases of her elbows or behind her knees.
  • Eczema may not just flare up when its cold or dry. Like dry skin, eczema can worsen due to cold or dry weather or from too-warm baths. But if your baby has eczema, you might also notice her skin can become irritated by moisture , dust, scratchy fabrics and certain soaps or detergents. Keep in mind, however, that eczema affects every child differently.

Causes Of Dry Skin In Babies

Newborn Skin Peeling

The main culprit for dry, peeling skin is exposure to the amniotic fluid. Your newborn spent months surrounded by this liquid. Typically, this can affect overdue babies to a greater extent. However, it isnt until the outer skin develops that the fluid poses a threat.

Newborns that I have seen between the gestational ages of 40 to 42 weeks tend to have an excessive amount of skin peeling. By two weeks old, this peeling layer of skin sloughs off, resulting in normal, smooth skin. Many of my parents ask me about using moisturizers in an effort to reduce peeling. I reassure them that moisturizers are unnecessary, and the skin peeling is a normal process.

Editor’s Note:

Up until about 17 weeks of gestation, your babys skin was transparent, covered by tiny hairs, and adapted to the moist environment. But as the normal skin develops, a barrier, vernix caseosa, forms to protect it from the various liquids.

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Eczema Or Atopic Dermatitis

In some cases, peeling and dry skin are caused by a skin condition called eczema, or atopic dermatitis. The symptoms include dry, red, itchy patches on your babys skin that looks like a rash.

Doctors use the term infant eczema to describe two conditions that usually appear between 2 to 4 months of age:

  • Atopic dermatitis: A typically inherited chronic condition more common among babies with a family history of allergies, eczema, and asthma.
  • Contact dermatitis: A rash when the skin comes into contact with an irritating substance such as a detergent or dust or even a particular food group.

What Is The Best Cream For Baby Dry Skin

Best baby lotions

  • Best lotion for babys dry skin: Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment.
  • Best baby lotion for eczema: Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream.
  • Best natural baby lotion: California Baby Super Sensitive Cream.
  • Best baby lotion for sensitive skin: Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion.

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How To Treat Dry Skin In Babies

Dry skin is caused due to a variety of conditions, and hence, the treatment varies. The various methods are mentioned below .

  • Topical ointments for eczema, psoriasis, and cradle cap provide relief and prevent dry skin. Such topical creams and ointments target the fundamental problem of dry skin.
  • A moisturizing lotion is prescribed by the doctor for everyday use, depending on the intensity of the infants dry skin.
  • Liquid bandages are given to infants with severely cracked and bleeding skin. Liquid bandages work like regular bandages and can be purchased over the counter without a doctors prescription.
  • Before application, the affected skin is washed and dried.
  • A layer of liquid is then applied on the skin using a brush-like applicator, which is included in the bottle of the liquid bandage.
  • The first layer is allowed to dry, which is followed by the application of the second layer.
  • The liquid forms a transparent coating and protects the skin from cracking further. The applied liquid bandage is waterproof and lasts for a week. Once the skin below is healed, the solidified liquid bandage peels off on its own.
  • Simple steps for prevention and management keep the baby away from the effects of dry skin. But it does not stop there. Staying vigilant of even the faintest signs of dry skin could be the first step in treating diseases such as eczema and psoriasis and ensuring the baby has a healthy, smooth skin.


    It’s Ok To Skip A Bath

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    Babies don’t need a daily bath. During the first few weeks, keeping baby clean during dirty diaper changes and doing sponge baths should do the trick. No full bath is needed until baby’s about a month old. If they are younger than 1, they can be bathed just every 2-3 days. Bathing too often can dry the skin. Between baths keep baby’s face and hands clean by wiping with a damp, warm washcloth. And don’t forget the creases of the neck and arm pits.

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    Keep Your Newborn Comfortable

    This is one of the most important things you can do to treat your newborns peeling skin. If your little one seems to be uncomfortable because of their peeling skin, try to make them as comfy and happy as possible.

    The tips listed here will all be helpful, but special love and attention from you can go a long way, too.

    Protect Dry Skin During Bath Time

    Even if your baby doesnt suffer from newborn dry skin, bath time can cause your little ones skin to develop itchy, flaky patches. Luckily, you can protect your babys skin during bath time by remembering three simple rules:

  • Fill the tub with lukewarm water.
  • Keep baths short .
  • Use the right bath products.
  • Its this last point that can make the biggest difference. We recommend adding Mustelas Bath Oil to your babys bath water to prevent dissolved salts and chlorine from drying out your babys skin. Once your little one is in the bath, gently wash them with Mustelas Nourishing Cleansing Gel With Cold Cream to preserve their tender skin.

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    Why Does Peeling Dry Skin Occur

    A newborns appearance including their skin can change a lot within the first few weeks of life. Your babys hair can change colors, and their complexion may become lighter or darker.

    Before leaving the hospital or within days of coming home, your newborns skin may also begin flaking or peeling. This is completely normal for newborns. Peeling can occur on any part of the body, such as the hands, soles of the feet, and ankles.

    Newborns are born covered in various fluids. This includes amniotic fluid, blood, and vernix. Vernix is a thick coating that protects a babys skin from amniotic fluid.

    A nurse will wipe fluids off a newborn shortly after birth. Once the vernix is gone, your baby will begin to shed the outer layer of their skin within one to three weeks. The amount of peeling varies, and depends on whether your baby was premature, delivered on time, or overdue.

    The more vernix a baby has on its skin at birth, the less they may peel. Premature babies have more vernix, so these newborns often peel less than a baby born at or after 40 weeks. In either case, some dryness and peeling after birth is normal. Skin flaking will go away on its own and doesnt usually require special care.

    Avoiding Skin Problems At Bath Time

    Dry skin on a baby

    Remember, newborn skin is soft and sensitive. Keep your baby’s skin hydrated by bathing them in warm water for only 3 to 5 minutes. Avoid letting your baby sit or play or soak for long in soapy water. Apply a baby lotion or moisturizer immediately after the bath while their skin is still wet, and then pat dry instead of rubbing. If you are bathing your newborn, use a sponge bath if the cord has not yet fallen off.

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    How Do I Treat Eczema

    Once your baby has a flare up, try to treat it as soon as possible. Otherwise, hell rub his skin and aggravate it further, making the area extra vulnerable and dry. Follow the same advice as above in the treatment of eczema, and also remember the following points:

    • Keeping your newborns skin moisturized is the most important factor. Special moisturizing creams like Aveeno or Cetaphil help treat the condition and soothe the skin.
    • Moisture is a trigger for eczema. Keep your infant cool and moisture-free in lightweight clothing and thin blankets. Wipe away drool and saliva immediately.
    • Keep your babys nails short to prevent him from scratching his skin. You could also cover his hands with mittens to prevent rubbing.
    • Avoid clothes with tags and fabrics that rub up against the skin when dressing your baby.
    • Heres a lesser-known fact: breast milk is a great medicine for eczema, due to its anti-microbial properties. Simply rub a few drops onto the rash regularly when youre breastfeeding and see the difference.
    • Dairy, soy and wheat are known to be common triggers for eczema. Switching formulas sometimes helps.
    • If the itching persists, your babys doctor might suggest a hydrocortisone cream and/or antihistamines to reduce the itching.

    This article by the National Eczema Society is a good resource to find out more about the condition

    What Should We Expect

    In most cases, infants seem to be in a state of quiet alertness during the first hour or so after delivery. It’s a great time for you and your newborn to get acquainted and begin the bonding process. And it’s OK if circumstances prevent you from meeting your infant right away you’ll have plenty of quality time together soon.

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    Baby Dry Skin: Causes Symptoms Treatment And Home Remedies

    A babys skin is very delicate and is susceptible to dryness and irritation from external factors. But despite its critical outlook, a babys dry skin can be easily treated through simple and natural home remedies and seldom needs medical intervention.

    In this post, MomJunction tells you everything about dry skin in babies and ways to treat and avoid the problem.

    What Is Cradle Cap

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    If you notice that your infants scalp is flaking, your baby may have cradle cap, also known as seborrheic dermatitis. It is common in the first three months of life. Like peeling skin, it usually resolves on its own without any treatment. If it starts to get worse or lasts longer than a few months, talk with your pediatrician.

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    Breasts And Genitals In Newborns

    Quite often, a newborns breasts are a little swollen and ooze some milk, whether they are a boy or a girl.

    Your newborn’s genitals may appear swollen initially but will look normal within a few weeks. Baby girls also sometimes bleed a bit or have a white, cloudy discharge from the vagina.

    All this is caused by hormones passing from you to your baby before birth. Do not be concerned.

    Boys’ testicles develop inside their body and sometimes take a while to descend into the scrotum. A health professional will check whether they have descended as part of the newborn physical examination.

    How To Know Your Skin Type

    For this there is a simple two-step process:

    • Firstly, wash your face with a gentle cleanser.
    • After half an hour, press a blotting sheet on your face.

    The amount of oil this sheet absorbs tells you your skin type.

    • If the sheet reflects excess oil across your face, this means you have oily skin.
    • If it absorbs no skin at all, it probably means you have dry skin.
    • If there is oil in just your T-zone, it means you have combination skin.
    • If there is minimal oil across your face, then you probably have normal skin.

    Also, there are some mobile apps available that detect the moisture content in your skin electronically. This is another way to know your skin type.

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