By: Stephanie Shabangu, Penfield Children’s Center

Your baby’s skin and hair are unique. Was your little one born completely bald or with lots of waves? Baby hair and skin can even vary from sibling to sibling. While one sibling might suffer from eczema or other skin sensitivities, your other child could go through his early years with clear skin.

With this is in mind, how can you best take care of baby’s skin and hair?


Depending on the amount and texture of your child’s hair, figure out a washing routine that keeps his hair clean, but does not over-dry it.  Newborn hair only needs to be washed a couple times per week and for babies with a coarser texture hair, once-a-week might be enough.

To wash, use a cup or small pitcher to pour water on your baby’s hair until it’s wet. Gently wash his hair with a tear-free, baby shampoo and wash out with warm water.

If your baby has tight curls that can easily tangle, opt for a baby-safe conditioner that will nourish the hair and help detangle. A small amount of extra-virgin olive oil can also be combed through your child’s hair for extra moisture.

As your baby gets older, it can be helpful to spray his hair with a de-tangler before combing through. It’s best to go with a mist sprayer that is free from harsh chemicals and fragrances, as these can irritate baby’s skin.

To dry, use a towel and let air dry, as hair dryers are too hot and harsh.

If you notice dry, flaky patches on your baby’s head, this can be a sign of cradle cap. To treat, massage a drop or two of baby oil or extra virgin olive oil on the area before and after his bath. While cradle cap is usually nothing to worry about, contact your child’s pediatrician if the area seems to get progressively worse over time.


Baby acne: While this can be troublesome for new parents, baby acne is very normal. Infants often have the tiny bumps around their face and chest throughout their first month of being born. These bumps are caused by the mom’s hormones still being present in the baby’s body. There is no special treatment needed for baby acne; they will clear up over time.

Baths: Similar to washing baby’s hair, he does not need a bath every day, unless he is visibly soiled. A short bath, 2-3 times per week is all your baby needs. Wash him with plain water or use a mild, tear-free baby soap.

Laundry: Most of the time, normal laundry soaps are fine to use on baby clothes. However, if your baby’s skin is sensitive or you notice he develops a rash under his clothing, it could be a sign that he needs a more mild form of detergent. Look for brands that are “free and clear” of scents and dyes.

Diaper rash: The goal is to keep your baby’s bottom as dry as possible. Excess moisture and poor air circulation in diapers often lead to diaper rash. Try to give your child “diaper free” time after his bath and change him after every bowel movement and every couple of hours. If his bottom does seem to be developing a rash, diaper cream that contains zinc oxide or a fragrance-free petroleum jelly can keep the rash from becoming worse. If you notice your baby’s rash becoming severe or causing him to bleed, contact your child’s pediatrician.

Each baby’s skin is different. Figure out what works best for your little one and remember, less is usually more! By keeping your child’s hair and skin care simple, he’s less likely to develop a condition that needs treatment.

What products do you use on your baby’s skin and hair?


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