Your baby’s tender, delicate skin requires special care and a gentle touch. Because their skin is so new and fragile, they are also prone to a variety of skin issues and irritations. Here are some tips for caring for your baby’s skin and treating any conditions that arise.

Prevent diaper rash by changing diapers frequently and use a barrier cream. The skin on your baby’s bottom can easily be irritated by the contents of his or her diaper, especially if your child has eaten something acidic. Check your child’s diaper often, and change it immediately when it’s soiled. You can also use a barrier cream that contains zinc oxide to treat and prevent rashes; this waterproof cream protects your child’s skin and soothes irritation.

Keep your baby out of the sun as much as possible. Birthorderplus research shows that babies under 6 months are too young for sunscreen, so you must take care to keep them in the shade as much as possible. It takes very little sun exposure to cause a sunburn on an infant. Older babies can use sunscreens meant for children their age, but you should still limit direct sun exposure to prevent burns.

Acne is nothing to worry about. Many babies go through a period where they develop acne. If your child does, fret not; usually, it will clear up on its own within a month or so. If the blemishes persist or become very inflamed, you can ask your child’s pediatrician for treatment recommendations. Never use adult acne products or cleansers on your child’s skin; the chemicals within these products are far too harsh for babies.

Cradle cap is common. Cradle cap is a form of seborrheic dermatitis that occurs in babies, causing scaly, oily patches to develop on your child’s scalp, ears, or eyebrows. While it may look uncomfortable or unattractive, it isn’t harmless and will generally clear up on its own. You can encourage the flakes to slough off by gently massaging your child’s scalp with a bit of olive oil, being careful to shampoo all of the oil out when you are finished.

Use a gentle detergent on your child’s clothing, bedding and diapers. Laundry detergents with heavy perfumes and lots of dye can irritate your child’s skin. Detergents with no added dyes and fragrances are the safest option; they may not leave your child’s clothing smelling powdery and sweet, but your baby is less likely to suffer from rashes or skin irritations.

Watch out for heat rash. A heat rash occurs when sweat is trapped against the skin by clothing, clogging the sweat glands and causing swelling. It appears as a red area with pimple-like bumps. To prevent this uncomfortable condition, avoid dressing your baby too warmly, especially when it’s hot outside. All-cotton clothing allows the skin to breathe and may lessen the likelihood of heat rash. Your baby is bound to experience rashes and other skin issues during his or her childhood, and most can be treated at home. If you are ever unsure about a bump, spot or rash, though, don’t hesitate to talk to your child’s pediatrician.

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