F E AT U R E
SKIN SO SOFT C A R I N G F O R YO U R B A BY ’ S S K I N
W R I T T E N BY
DR. COLBY EVANS, MD
any new parents have questions about caring for
Babies can be born with a variety of skin issues, or develop them in
their baby’s skin. Since the skin of young children
early life. Always consult with your pediatrician or dermatologist
is still developing, it can be particularly sensitive
for any specific concerns about your child. Some of the most
and careful selection of soaps and sunscreens can
common issues are:
help prevent irritation. • Pigmented birthmarks are tan to dark-brown growths on the
• Bathing - Many parents overbathe their children, which can lead
skin at birth or in the first few days of life. They can be anywhere
to dry skin and even eczema. A bath every other day to twice
from smaller than a dime to covering the entire chest or back
a week is good for most children. Baths should be warm and
and often have thick, dark hair growing from them. It is possible
short, using either no soap or the least amount of soap possible.
for these birthmarks to transform into melanoma (a dangerous
Gentle, fragrance-free cleansers are best, such as Cetaphil or
form of skin cancer) later in life, although the risk is low for
Aveeno. You should pat your child dry with a soft towel and
smaller birthmarks. These lesions should always be monitored
avoid vigorous rubbing.
with the help of your doctor and can be removed by a pediatric plastic surgeon if needed. Birthmarks occurring over the spine,
• Moisturizer - Baby’s skin is often sensitive, so a gentle, fragrancefree moisturizer like Cetaphil cream, Aquaphor, or plain Vaseline
neck, or face require special attention and should be monitored with the help of a pediatric dermatologist.
should be used daily. Although scented and colored baby moisturizers are common, these can irritate the delicate skin and should be avoided.
• Vascular birthmarks are red or purple spots on the skin at birth or that appear in the first few days. These can be flat (port-wine stains) or raised (hemangiomas) and can occur anywhere on
• Sunscreen - Since baby’s skin can absorb more chemicals from creams than yours, using physical sun protection like clothing, hats, umbrellas, and avoiding direct sun are recommended during the first six months of life. Chemical-free sunscreens which rely on zinc or titanium are generally the best for young children, such as Elta Pure or Blue Lizard Sensitive Skin. Hats, swim shirts, and sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30 may
the body. Any birthmark should be evaluated by a doctor, but it is especially important to consult a pediatric dermatologist for those occurring on the face or neck or if one limb with a birthmark is bigger or smaller than the other. New treatments are quite helpful in treating these vascular birthmarks, which include oral propranolol to stop their growth and lasers to remove them.
be used for older children. Sunscreen should be re-applied every
two hours if outdoors all day and it is best to confine summer
• Baby acne is very common and generally benign. Most of us
outdoor activities where possible to either before 10am or after
think of acne in teenagers but leftover hormones from the womb
can persist and cause whiteheads on the baby’s nose or cheeks.