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Dry Skin In Babies: Causes, Symptoms And Ways To Prevent

5 min read

As delicate as babies look, their skin is 3 times more delicate, soft, tender and prone to various skin conditions and dryness. As a new born, your baby is prone to skin irritation, rashes and skin dryness.
This is a very normal phenomenon, and most babies experience these conditions during the initial months. Babies are born with a white substance like coating called vernix caseosa. Once the baby is born, the doctor wipes off this creamy layer, thereby, exposing the baby’s skin to the natural environment, first time ever. This is majorly why your baby’s skin might get dry.

What Causes Dry Skin In Babies?

The major reason for skin dryness is when the skin loses its moisture. The skin might suffer irritation, rashes or pimples depending on the severity of moisture loss. The dryness of the skin causes the epidermis (the upper most layer of the skin) to shed. Here’re some factors that are responsible for this –

  1. Weather Conditions: Different weathers affect the skin differently. As we already know that a baby’s skin is 3x more sensitive to that of an adult. Loss in humidity can cause the skin to dry, and vice versa.
  2. Long Baths: if you bathe your baby for long durations, it can wash away the natural skin oils. Hence leaving the skin unprotected, and exposed to dryness.
  3. Soaps: Using harsh soaps, or other harsh bathing products for your baby can way away your baby’s natural protective skin oils.
  4. Chlorinated Water: Bathing baby in chemically-treated or chlorinated water ( On big cities you have no choice but rely on this) can bring about dry skin in babies
  5. Room temperature: If your centralised heating mechanism makes the baby’s room too hot or if the air condition makes the room too cold, the moisture level in the air in the room will reduce and in due course dries out the baby’s skin.

What Are The Symptoms Of Dry Skin In Babies?

These are the most common signs that will help you decode skin dryness in your infant –

  • White layers that peels off.
  • Flaky skin, which gets worse when you wipe.
  • Dry patches.
  • Itchy red patches
  • Texture of the skin becomes rough and scaly.
  • Cracked and rough skin.
  • Tight and overstretched appearance.

When To Seek Medical Advice?

If you see that the fine cracks are getting deeper, or even bleeding now and then, you should consult your doctor immediately. Here’re some other symptoms that might want you to take your baby to a doctor –

  • Dry skin causing colic outbreaks
  • Dry skin and fever
  • Yellowish puss
  • Swelling of the skin

How To Treat Dry Skin In Babies?

As we discussed that skin dryness is caused due to various reasons, and the treatment totally rely on the cause. Here are a few simple methods to treat skin dryness in your little one –

  1. Moisturising Lotion: Apply baby skin lotion to your infant. Ensure that the skin is moisturised after a bath, and at equal intervals, depending on the skin type and skin dryness of your baby.
  2. Topical Ointment: These ointments target the core problems of skin and provide relied.

Could Dry Skin Be A Sign Of Some Other Skin Condition?

Yes. Dry skin can be an indication of several skin issues as well. Here are four common skin issues that cause dry skin in babies

  • Eczema: This is an allergic skin condition that causes itchy red patches mainly on the cheeks and forehead of the baby. Skin dryness is one of the primary symptom of eczema.
  • Pityriasis Alba: This is a skin condition that is associated with eczema. Here, itchy red patches appear only on the face, neck, arms, or belly.
  • Psoriasis: Even though looks like eczema, it is a more serious autoimmune disease. It is not common among the babies but dry skin is one of the primary symptom of this skin condition
  • Cradle Cap: Cradle cap is quite common and zero serious. These dry flakes appear on the scalp of the newborns and will resolve on its own.

Therefore, if your child feels irritable and the patches don’t fade in spite of regular moisturising, you might want to see a doctor.

9 Natural Ways To Treat Dry Skin In Babies

  1. Limit Bath Time: Cut down the bathing hours of your baby. As discussed above, long hours in water can aggravate the dryness.
  2. Avoid Harsh Bathing Products: Avoid harsh soaps and toiletries for your baby. Use mild products that go easy on your little one’s skin.
  3. Use Moisturisers: Use lotions, head to toe ointments or crèmes to hush away dryness. Applying it within three minutes after baby’s bath is more effectual in dealing dry skin. This is because by this way you will be able to lock moisture into the baby’s skin.
  4. Use Petroleum Jelly:  Petroleum jelly helps to combat skin dryness of your baby by locking in the moisture of the skin. Apply a thin layer to the dry patches of baby’s skin.
  5. Chose Clothes Wisely: Use clothes which have a soft fabric. Always switch to gentle and breathable cotton clothes once baby show signs of dry skin. Completely avoid clothes made from synthetic fibre as synthetic clothes aggravate irritation and itching of the dry skin.
  6. Keep Baby Well Hydrated: Keep your baby hydrated, regardless of the weather. A hydrated baby leads to a hydrated skin. This is the most natural and efficient way to avoid skin dryness.
  7. Oil massage: Oil massage not only helps to combat the skin dryness of the baby, it also increases the blood flow towards the skin.
  8. Use Baby Friendly Detergent: Wash your baby’s clothes separately, in baby detergent. Regular detergents are harsh, and some particles may stay back in the clothes even after drying. This might affect your baby’s clothes and irritates their dry skin eventually.
  9. Use Humidifiers: Use indoor air agents and humidifiers to protect your baby’s skin. Indoor humidifiers maintain the levels of humidity in the air, thus protecting the baby’s skin.

Five Amazing Home Remedies For Dry Skin In Babies

Try these easy home remedies for your baby’s dry skin –

  1. Coconut oil: This is the most natural and easily available moisturiser. Apply a thin layer of coconut oil on your baby’s skin post bath. You can even apply if a couple of hours before the bath and then wash it off completely.
  2. Almond oil: It is said to be rich in Vitamin E and antioxidants which help in nourishing your baby’s skin. Use plain almond oil and massage your baby with it.
  3. Breast milk: If you’re breastfeeding your infant, you can apply a thin layer of your breast-milk all over your baby’s skin. Breast-milk is said to be a effective for almost all baby health issues.
  4. Avocado: Mash avocado and apply it all over your baby’s skin. Leave for approximately 10 minutes and then wash off. It provides multiple nutritions and aids in skin dryness.
  5. Aloe Vera: Rich in antifungal and antibacterial properties, Aloe vera can be a great healing agent. Cut a small piece of Aloe vera, squeeze the gel on your fingers and gently apply it on your baby’s skin. Let it soak into the skin completely. You can either wash it of or let it be. Repeat it twice to thrice a week and see it work its magic!

How To Prevent Your Baby From Getting Dry Skin?

Prevention is better than cure. Several skin conditions are hereditary and we can do nothing in that case. However, by following these tips you can prevent common skin dryness in babies.

  • Use lukewarm water to bathe the baby
  • Pat dry instead of wiping
  • Avoid frequent bathing
  • Make oil massaging the baby a practise before bathing.
  • When taking baby outside, make sure he or she is well covered
  • Use right baby soap that is devoid of chemicals. Avoid soaps with strong fragrance.
  • Wash baby’s clothes in baby friendly detergents, the detergents designed for washing baby’s clothes.

It is always advised to consult your doctor before you try new products for your baby.  Please consult your doctor if you see any weird of suspicious skin condition in your baby.
We hope you find this blog useful.

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