Dry Baby Skin: Causes & How to Care for It
Babies’ skin is sensitive by nature, and dry baby skin is common as a result. To hydrate and comfort your baby’s dry skin, it’s helpful to understand the causes of moisture loss in infants and how they differ to adult skin.
Dry skin on your baby’s head or elsewhere is not a cause for concern on its own, but it can share visible similarities with skin issues like mild eczema. So that you can provide the right care, this article walks through the signs, causes and different features of baby dry skin patches. Ahead, discover our nourishing baby cream for dry skin and a suitable approach to caring for your little one’s skin.
Symptoms of baby’s dry skin
Moisture loss occurs at a quicker rate in infants, so signs of dry baby skin can appear regularly. You might notice baby’s dry skin on the face or elsewhere before they feel it themselves, as mild dryness often doesn’t cause discomfort. Symptoms of dry baby skin can include:
- Rough-textured skin
- Ashy or dulled skin
If your baby’s skin has become dry or very dry, they can have tender and itchy sensations and sensitive skin.
What causes dry baby skin?
The outermost layer of skin is called the skin moisture barrier. Made up of cells which are held together by ceramides, fatty acids and lipids, the skin moisture barrier acts as a protective shield for deeper layers. Its main function is to prevent moisture loss and protect skin from impurities like bacteria, pollution and dirt.
The infant skin moisture barrier is thinner than adult skin. Baby skin is still developing in the first few months of life, and in the meantime, skin layers are more fragile and prone to moisture loss. As a result, dry skin may be a regular reoccurrence for your baby.
The difference between dry baby skin and mild eczema
Mild eczema-prone skin in babies can share some similarities with dry baby skin. If you are concerned or suspect that your baby may be presenting with mild eczema signs, speak to your paediatrician or dermatologist. In the meantime, differences seen in mild eczema can include:
- A more distinct appearance. The skin concern can be deeper in colour and more pronounced. Mild eczema-prone skin can also develop tiny fluid-filled bumps around dry areas.
- Can appear in different areas. Mild eczema-prone concerns and dry skin can occur in the same areas like hands, feet and face, but the former also commonly appears in spots like the creases of elbows, behind the knees and on the back of ears.
How to care for baby’s dry skin
Fortunately, a number of gentle and supportive skincare products can help to strengthen and restore the skin moisture barrier and promote hydrated skin. Certain ingredients – including moisturising properties like ceramides, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E – have a natural affinity to skin and are gentle enough for dry baby skin. Three simple steps can help with how to get rid of dry skin on your baby’s face and promote healthy, hydrated skin.
1. Use gentle cleansers
To address environmental stress built up throughout the day and return skin to a balanced and neutral state, cleansing is important. We recommend opting for hydrating types of cleansers to support baby’s dry skin.
Hydrating Foaming Oil Cleanser has been developed with dermatologists for dry skin, baby skin and mild allergy-prone skin. Gentle and hydrating properties like glycerin, squalane oil and triglyceride combine to comfort, purify and moisturise the skin whilst protecting the skin moisture barrier.
For a combined cleanser and shampoo, Baby Wash & Shampoo has been specially formulated to be pH balanced, soap-free and enriched with ceramides for skin nourishment. Developed with paediatric dermatologists, the formula cleanses hair as well as dry skin on baby’s head and elsewhere.
2. Keep your baby hydrated
Do babies need moisturiser? is a frequently asked question – the answer is yes. Continuous loss of moisture means that dry skin patches can occur often. To replenish moisture, comfort your baby and help to strengthen skin, regular moisturising is recommended. Baby Moisturising Cream is formulated especially for babies’ delicate and thin skin. Three essential ceramides are blended with cholesterol and fatty acids to provide 24 hours of moisture.
3. Keep bath time short
Alongside the products you use to cleanse and moisturise your baby, bathing methods are another important factor. Unless your little one has had a particularly messy day, bath time is only necessary 2–3 times per week. Hot water can pull moisture from skin, so keep water lukewarm. When drying, gently pat with a towel and immediately moisturise to help seal in moisture. Remember to avoid products that use soap, fragrances or alcohol. Read our guide on newborn bathing to find out more.
Found this guide helpful? Keep reading to discover our recommended skincare routine order.