Taking care of your baby’s skin is very important. But their skin is also a lot more sensitive than a grown up’s skin and it requires extra care. If you are wondering when can you put lotion on a baby’s skin, you should know that the answer is not set in stone. The right time as well as the right areas that you can use lotion on depends on the baby’s condition.
Fast AnswerAs a general rule, you should wait at least a month after your baby is born to put lotion on their skin.
Some babies tend to be more sensitive than others, though. In such cases, you need to rely on your doctor’s opinion and advise before using any type of lotion even later on when your toddler is 6 months or older.
Why you should avoid lotion for the first month of life
When your baby is newborn, their skin is starting to adapt to the conditions outside the uterus. The top layer of skin visible on the outside covers other layers that are actually very moist. While your baby was in the uterus, they developed a specific layer of skin called “vernix”. The vernix was very useful during the months of pregnancy because it was keeping the baby’s skin from accumulating too much moisture. However, once they are out of their mother’s uterus, they don’t need that extra layer of skin anymore. This is why they start to develop a flaky condition that is often confused with dry skin. But this process is very natural and nothing to worry about.
If you do apply lotion on your baby during the shedding time, which typically happens in the first month, you can expose them to potential risks. Exposing your baby to new chemicals will force their immune system to act. So, their body will try to fight the new substances which can lead to asthma, eczema and different allergies! And the most common side effects adding lotion on your baby’s skin too early are:
Absorption of certain chemicals.
By using lotion during the first month of life, you can cause your baby’s skin to absorb chemicals that will harm them. Even the lotions created especially for babies should be avoided during such an early stage. Also, sunscreen is not recommended either for the same reasons. At such an early stage, your toddler’s skin is not developed and everything you put on it might have an impact on the development process.
Decreasing the level of testosterone in male babies.
If your baby is a boy, you might want to think even more before putting lotion on their skin. Studies discovered that the phthalates found in lotions can affect the testosterone levels. A lower level of testosterone can lead to future hormonal unbalances for your child. Even if some lotions claim to be phthalates free, it is always better to avoid them. And there are plenty of natural alternatives to consider!
Visible allergies or skin problems.
If you really think that your baby needs some moisturizer as early as during their first month of life, be ready to face several skin problems. Some babies can develop rashes, itches or different levels of irritation. All these can lead to more serious skin problems and even develop allergies. Your pediatrician will recommend you the best product to use in case it is really needed.
What to use when you want to put lotion on your baby’s skin
Some babies have dry skin for many weeks and that can be somewhat concerning for the parents. But keep in mind that dry skin is not uncomfortable for your baby. Also, the process is very normal and natural. However, if you want to add lotion to your little one’s skin, talk to your pediatricians first. Most pediatricians recommend natural products such as olive oil or petroleum jelly which can calm your baby’s skin without harming it.
You should consider putting some sort of moisturizer on your baby’s skin when you notice that they have cracked skin layers. This can appear around the elbows and legs. But this can happen way after their first month of life and even then you can use natural products.
If you want to use lotion, your best choices are the lotions that don’t have any fragrance. Fragrances come from chemicals and it doesn’t matter how safe they are claimed to be, it is better to avoid them. Also, avoid lotions with dyes and too many ingredients in them. A‑D ointments are very effective as well and safe to use at any age and they can make miracles for your little one!
How to take care of your baby’s skin
Taking care of your baby’s skin can reduce the need to use lotion over time. We all know that the natural way is the best way but this can be challenging for parents at times. Especially if you don’t know how to distinguish a serious skin problem from a natural process. The market offers a variety of lotions nowadays but you should keep your baby away from them, at least until their skin is well-defined. If you consider the following aspects, your baby will have a healthy and beautiful skin with less complications!
Avoid using too much soap.
Using more soap than it is needed can have bad effects on your baby’s skin. Try avoiding soap as much as possible even if you are using baby soap. This doesn’t mean that you can’t bathe your baby when it is needed. But try to do it only in the areas that need to be washed and do it with extra caution. When it comes to your baby’s face, especially the eyes area, use no soap at all.
Wash new clothes before the baby wears them.
Sometimes, a baby can develop certain skin conditions due to the chemicals found in new clothes. Many parents think that if clothes are new, they don’t need to be washed. But they might contain chemicals that can easily irritate your child’s skin. When washing their clothes use a mild baby soap or detergent and wash them separately from other family clothes or beddings.
Don’t bathe your baby too often.
Yes, your baby needs to be clean and their hygiene is very important. But that doesn’t mean you have to wash them daily. Giving them a bath 3 times a week is all they need during the first months of life. If you wash them too often, you can damage the natural moisturizers found in their skin. These moisturizers are responsible for your baby’s healthy skin so they are very important. When the layer of natural moisturizers is damage, your toddler can develop skin eczemas or other side effects.
Avoid exposing them to the sun.
Toddlers younger than 6 months should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Sun exposure can cause a variety of skin problems and even skin cancer. As time goes by, you can consider sunbathing early in the morning as well as later in the afternoon. But avoid sunrays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. whenever it is possible. If you do have to take your baby outside during a sunny day, have them wear a hat that will protect their head and face. You can also use long sleeves and pants that are made of a very breathable material. And for toddlers older than 6 months, consider using the appropriate sunscreen.
When to consult a pediatrician regarding your baby’s skin
During the first months of life, your baby can experience a lot of skin conditions. Some of them might be serious like eczema, while others might not be dangerous as all like the flaky phase. But if you are concerned, you should always consult your pediatrician! Here are some signs to look after if you think there is a serious problem!
- If your baby has red areas of skin during the first months
- If they develop a strong itch that makes them feel uncomfortable and irritated
- Certain red bumps or a pimple like spots on your baby’s skin
- Cracked skin on your baby’s arms, legs or back of the knees
If you take your toddler to the pediatrician in time, they will receive a mild treatment to fix the problem. Left untreated, such conditions can increase in gravity over time and even lead to chronic skin conditions!
While this article should have answered all your questions regarding putting lotion on your baby’s skin, remember that each baby is different. If you have additional questions, it is always recommended to talk to a pediatrician before taking any decision. Your doctor will be able to tell you if and when you should think about adding lotion to the daily care routine.
They will also recommend you types of lotion according to your child’s age and their type of skin and sensitivities. After your baby reaches six months old, you can start introducing a wider variety of products for them. After that stage, the skin tends to find its own natural balance and be a lot less sensitive to external factors.
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