Baby Skincare Basics First-Time Parents Should Know

Baby Skincare Regime for First-Time Parents

The thrill of becoming a parent for the first time is incomparable! Along with all the joy it brings, there’s so much learning too. Your browser history may be full of baby care websites, full of tips and tricks to keep your little one healthy and happy, but certain first-time fears still sneak in. Taking care of your baby’s skin, for instance.

Babies are known to have delicate skin. Hence, caring for them from day one is necessary. With tons of skincare products available in the market, you would not want something that may harm your little one’s gentle skin. They need skincare items that promise protection, nourishment, and hydration.

We’ve done the research for you, so you don’t have to. Below are the fundamentals every first-time parent should know about caring for a newborn’s skin.

Perfect the Bath Time

Bathing your baby like an adult is a no-no. They need sponge baths until their umbilical cord stump falls off at around 1-4 weeks. After that, a tub bath can be added to the routine for two to three times a week in the following first year.

Babies lose moisture quickly, and frequent bathing can worsen the situation and dry out their skin. To ensure the moisture remains intact, you must moisturise them right after the bath. Before bathing, it is best to keep all the bathing products within your arm’s reach so your baby isn’t left unattended. Some of the important items you must keep in your proximity include:

  • A clean and soft washcloth
  • Mild baby soap or cleanser and a shampoo
  • Towels (preferably one with a hood)
  • A clean diaper
  • Clean, comfortable clothes

When buying a cleanser, look for qualities like ‘clinically tested’ and ‘free of baddies like parabens, dyes, perfumes, or alcohol’. Cetaphil has a good range of gentle bath products specially formulated for babies. For example, Cetaphil Baby Wash and Shampoo with Calendula is a dermatologically-tested two-in-one product that gently cleanses skin and hair with its tear-free formula. Natural ingredients like Calendula and Aloe Vera offer long-lasting moisturisation for up to 8 hours.

Spit-up milk, vomit, pee, poop, baby powder, and moisturisers often get dried up and stuck in the babies’ skin folds, which later cause irritation and rashes/infections. To ensure this does not happen, gently cleanse those areas with a soft, wet washcloth every time you wash your little one.

Pro Tip: Bath time ideally should not extend beyond seven to ten minutes, even when you are shampooing your baby’s hair.

Moisturise the Skin

After bathing, immediately cover your baby in a towel from head to toe to avoid any temperature change. Once your baby is pat dried, immediately moisturise their skin with a hypoallergenic, mild moisturiser from head to toe to lock in the hydration and maintain their skin’s pH level.  

Moisturisers and face creams help keep the skin hydrated and prevent eczema in babies. So, when choosing a baby lotion or a moisturiser for your baby, bear in mind the following:

  • Choose products specially formulated for babies with no harsh chemicals.
  • The product should be hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested.
  • Natural ingredients like Shea Butter and Calendula that soothe the skin are preferable.
  • It should be easily absorbable without any greasy residue.

For deep moisture locking, you can try Cetaphil Baby Daily Lotion With Shea Butter, enriched with Shea Butter, Vitamin E, and other natural ingredients for 24 hours of lasting hydration. This multi-purpose product (for body and face) with 0% animal origin nourishes and softens the baby’s skin.

When using baby powder to freshen up your baby’s skin, put the baby powder in your palm first and then apply it to their skin. Do not shake and spray powder into the air, as this can be inhaled by the baby.

Handle a Baby Responsibly

Without knowing, even aware parents can bring harm to their child’s skin. How? Their daily routine. Parents must understand that they have an additional member in their house who is vulnerable to environmental factors. Fragrant candles burning in the house, body deodorants, perfumes or colognes on the parent’s skin and clothes, smoking, and tobacco chewing can irritate a baby’s skin. Frequently touching their cheeks with unwashed hands and kissing them can also trigger allergic reactions. Hence, washing your hands or using hand sanitiser before handling a baby is necessary.

Diapering Ethics

Babies change at least five to seven diapers a day, so it’s no surprise that diaper rash is one of the common skin concerns in babies.  

After every bowel movement or pee, diapers get wet. Prolonged contact with babies’ delicate bottoms to wet or soiled diapers can cause irritation, leading to diaper rash. The condition can cause the skin to become tender and turn the skin colour pink or red. To avoid your little munchkin’s uncontrollable crying and fussiness because of diaper rash pain, take the help of these tricks:

  • Change your little one’s diaper as soon as they dirty it.
  • During a diaper change, gently clean the area with a wet wipe or mild soap and water and pat dry. Apply a thick layer of diaper rash cream. Prefer a diaper rash cream that has a high concentration of zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is a beneficial ingredient in creating a barrier against moisture and keeping the skin soft. Cetaphil Baby Diaper Cream is a good option for babies as it contains replenishing ingredients such as Chamomile extract, zinc oxide, Vitamin B5, and Vitamin E.
  • If you use cloth diapers, wash them with clinically-approved detergents free of harmful dyes and fragrances.
  • Do not always keep your baby in a diaper. At home, you can ditch diapers for some hours and let the diaper area breathe.
  • Avoid scented or alcohol-based wet wipes to clean your baby’s bottom, as they can further irritate the skin.

An unnoticed or prolonged diaper rash can turn into a fungal infection. So, if the inflammation continues for more than three days, contact a paediatrician immediately.

Pro Tip: When wiping a baby after a bowel movement, wipe their bottom from front to back to prevent a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Shield the Skin

Your baby’s skin is very fragile in the developing phase, making it vulnerable to outside factors, one of them being direct sunlight – UV radiation. It is essential to keep babies younger than six months out of direct sunlight. Direct exposure to UV rays can harm their skin.

Shade, full-sleeved clothing, and baby-safe sunscreens are some of the best forms of protection. Opt for a clinically-approved sunscreen specially formulated for babies only and apply it on sun-exposed areas.

Remember, sunscreen is not recommended for infants below six months of age. Once your baby turns six months or older, you can buy sunscreen with inorganic filters like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

As a first-time parent, managing the first few months can be exhausting. So, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Whether it be to ask someone close to look after your baby while you rest, to looking to professionals when making buying decisions for your little one. For your baby’s skin, it’s wise to only choose dermatologically certified products to keep their skin supple and healthy!


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Rama is a proud Delhiite with three years of content writing experience in her pocket. She is a commerce graduate with an advanced degree in the German language, but writing feels like home to her. When she is not writing,, you can probably find her researching on environment sustainability, devouring a novel, or exploring hidden nooks for delicious food around the city.