Skin Protection

Nothing seems so delicate as a baby’s petal-soft skin. Here’s how to protect your little one’s sensitive skin so that it stays smooth and healthy.

Most skin problems in babies are relatively minor, says Dr. Fabian Gorodzinsky, a professor of paediatrics at the University of Western Ontario. “The skin in the newborn period is delicate and prone to show changes very rapidly ­– you can sometimes see a rash on a child in the morning, and it will be gone by afternoon.” Some common infant skin conditions to watch out for include:

Baby acne

In the early weeks, you may see tiny raised whiteheads on the baby’s face, called milia. Some babies develop a red, pimply rash on their faces, caused by a temporary overproduction of the oil glands in the skin. Unless the pimples get infected, no treatment is needed and the acne will disappear on its own.

Prickly heat

This is a reddish, bumpy rash that can appear, especially in skin creases, if a baby becomes overheated and sweaty. Rinsing the skin with cool water (you can mix in a little baking soda) may ease any itchiness. Dressing your baby in loose cotton clothing will also help.

Minor skin irritation

Baby’s tender skin can also be irritated by things like scratchy fabrics, scented products, or even too much water, says Dr. Gorodzinsky. Over-zealous soaping tends to “wash off” the skin’s natural moisture, so he recommends bathing baby with a gentle, unscented soap like JOHNSON'S® HEAD-TO-TOE® Baby Wash.

Cradle cap

These crusty, yellowish patches on a baby’s scalp (and sometimes behind his ears or on his eyebrows) don’t actually bother your baby. The best treatment is to massage some mineral oil into the crusty areas to soften them, wait 15 minutes, then gently comb the scales out of the baby’s hair. It’s not necessary to wash out the oil, and don’t shampoo too frequently as drying out the scalp will make things worse. If the cradle cap doesn’t improve, your doctor may recommend a medicated cream or shampoo. Your Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacist will also have suggestions for baby-safe shampoos.