For the first few months of her life, I thought Emm had a red undertone to her skin. She had this little flush under her skin all over just like her Dad does, and so I thought for sure that it was genetics. However, I learned the hard way, that was NOT what it was. Emm had started scratching her head and eyes aggressively and I didn’t think a thing of it until we went to the doctors’ office. The doctor jumped when he saw it and said ‘that girl needs some lotion’. It was very, very, very dry skin.
I went about trying to find the best ways to help her with this itchy nightmare. So! Here’s what I learned.
Tip #1: Figure Out What is Causing the Dryness
As soon as I realized that Emm actually had dry skin, I knew exactly where to start. I thought she’d be lucky enough not to inherit my allergy to fragrances, but unfortunately that was not the case. So it didn’t take me too long to figure it out, but once I did, I knew what I needed to do to combat it.
It might not be quite that simple for you, so do some evaluation. Is your baby scratching? Where? Anywhere your child has red or flaky skin can point to the cause.
Common causes of dryness I have found include:
Weather (change of the seasons are particularly bad)
Harsh soaps (including laundry detergent- check for dryness on chest)
Genetically dry skin
Once you’ve figured out the cause, try these tips to help make your baby soft and comfortable.
Tip # 2: Use Gentle Soaps
Johnson & Johnson, unfortunately, does not count as a gentle soap (their lavender calming line too). Even Aveeno’s sensitive skin line dried out my poor girl’s skin worse. After doing a little research, I found that these soaps are still a little harsher than they need to be because they contain extra fragrances and unnecessary astringents.
The only one I found that was gentle enough and still got her clean was Dove’s sensitive skin bars. Those have worked very well for us and are safe. I have also started using these soaps on myself because they are so gentle, they don’t aggravate even my very sensitive skin!
Tip #3: Use Cetaphil or Another Strong Lotion
There are soo brands of lotion out there, just make sure to buy something baby safe and strong. My doctor recommended Cetaphil or coconut oil, and I tried the coconut oil first, however I found that it caused acne like bumps all over Emm’s body. Then we tried the light Cetaphil that comes in a pump, and that didn’t hardly do anything. You’ve got to get the thick, extra dry skin lotion that comes in the jar.
Slather this on your little one twice a day and you will see amazing results! Once your baby’s skin has caught up, you can go to using it once a day and they will be peachy 🙂
Tip #4: Avoid Getting Baby Too Warm
Heat rash is dry and itchy, and the plague of a mother in a non-climate controlled environment. Emm still gets this if I put too many layers on, and it makes her dry skin a beast to defeat. To avoid heat rash as much as you can, don’t gauge your baby’s temperature based on her hands or feet- feel her neck instead. It’s a much closer gauge of temperature.
Tip #5: Keep Baths Short
Extended bathing takes all the natural moisturizers out of your baby’s skin, so leave them in long enough to get them clean and get them out. If they enjoy bathing you can let them play for a few minutes, but don’t linger too long.
Tip #6: Use Soft Blankets and Clothing
Some baby clothing is appallingly scratchy and itchy. Especially those with ruffles. So before you put an outfit on your baby (and hopefully before you purchase that outfit) test the texture on your own skin. Feel rough or irritating? Even a little bit? Then don’t put it on your child. Scratching leads to dryness and dryness leads to misery for your kiddo.
Tip #7: Don’t Pick at Injuries!
This one might seem obvious, but I have seen moms who seriously claw at their kids’ little ouchies. Don’t do this! It is so important to let your baby’s scratches heal. Making them bleed more does NOT help. If you’re worried about infection, apply some disinfecting ointment and let it sit, don’t touch!
Tip #8: Put Mittens on Your Baby’s Hands While They Heal
Even after I lotioned Emm up and used these tips to help her heal, it still took time for her skin to become moist. It took about a week for my little one’s severely dry skin to reach “baby cheek” soft. In the meantime, I had little mittens on her hands most of the time so that she was unable to scratch. This helped her heal much more quickly, because any extra scratching extends the amount of time it takes for her skin to bounce back! I would highly suggest putting mittens on your baby’s hands any time they are injuring themselves, even if it’s just from a long nail that you don’t have time to trim right then. It’s worth the temporary restriction to avoid your babies’ injury!
Hope these tips help! Baby dry skin is no fun!
#Bonus tip: If your baby still scratches at night, put mittens or socks on their hands
#Bonus tip 2: Use Desitin cream on your baby’s folds and creases to help avoid the moisturizer making things too wet and irritated.
Have any tips for helping your baby’s dry skin? Tell us in the comments below!