Newborn Baby Skin Types

There’s no miracle quite like flawless, soft, marshmallow-like newborn skin. This softness is a sign of just how delicate their skin is before it matures — a process that goes on for several months after birth.

Although their skin is still developing,  you may be seeing signs of your baby’s skin type. Knowing what type of skin your baby has can help you be proactive in giving it the care it needs.

Here’s what you need to know to keep those Michelin tire man rolls and folds smooth and healthy. 

What Is Your Baby's Skin Type?

There are five main skin types that are common to babies of all ethnicities:

 

  • Dry
  • Normal dry
  • Normal
  • Normal sensitive
  • Sensitive 

Dry Skin

Dry skin is common in newborns, appearing as flaky skin with rough patches which can lead to cracking. These dry spots can appear anywhere on an infant but may be more common in their skin folks.

Caring for Dry Baby Skin

Firstly, it is important to ensure the newborn dry skin stays moisturized. A cream that leaves a barrier layer will not only soothe their skin and help with flaking, but lock in moisture and protect against chafing and irritants. 

Although it was formulated for the diaper area, our 3-in-1 cleansing cream can be used on your baby’s face and body, too. A gentle baby oil is also a great option. 

Products with harsh ingredients should be avoided, especially on broken skin.

It also helps to minimize wiping your sensitive skin baby with rough textures. For example, gently pat your baby dry with a cotton towel after a bath instead of rubbing the skin, and avoid wiping repeatedly with diaper wipes, which can irritate the skin.

If your newborn’s flaky skin is getting worse, consult with your pediatrician to rule out conditions such as eczema.

Dry Skin

Normal Dry Skin

If your newborn’s skin gets occasional dry patches and flaking, they could be prone to dryness and their skin may need a little more TLC to keep it healthy.

Caring for Dry Baby Skin

Mild dryness typically isn’t a cause for alarm, but you may want to incorporate more moisturizing into their routine.

After baths is a great time to apply baby oil or a nourishing cream. You can also apply these products to dry spots as needed.

Be sure to keep an eye on your baby’s skin as the seasons change as fluctuations in humidity and temperature can cause dry skin.

Normal Skin

If you don’t see any signs of flaking, itching, or sesnitivity, your baby’s skin likely falls into the “normal” category — but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to keep it in tip-top shape.

Caring for Normal Baby Skin

The important point for normal skin care is to prevent the skin from getting dry and irritated. After all, ask enough parents and you’ll learn that diaper rashes can seem to creep up out of nowhere!

Here are some ways to prevent rashes and other skin problems:

  • Follow best practices to prevent diaper rash.
  • Avoid harsh ingredients that are known to irritate skin such as fragrances and dyes.
  • Moisturize regularly.
  • Protect their delicate skin from the sun.

Normal Sensitive Skin

Babies with somewhat sensitive skin may get flare-ups of red patches or get itchy skin. This could be due to eczema, or they may have sensitivities to things in their environment such as food, fabric, or ingredients.

Caring for Normal Sensitive Baby Skin

If your baby has sporadic signs of sensitivity, be on the lookout for reactions to products and foods. This includes their clothing, diapers, skin care products, and products that you use.

Avoid exposing them to more chemicals than necessary to reduce the risk of a reaction. Babies are exposed to hundreds of thousands of chemicals in the first few years of their lives from diaper changes alone. Simplifying their diaper care is an easy way to reduce their chemical burden.

Sensitive Skin

Babies with sensitive skin can develop a variety of symptoms including red patches, itching, and puffy or inflamed skin. They may have a skin condition such as eczema, or be extremely prone to diaper rash and other types of dermatitis. 

Caring for Sensitive Baby Skin

Sensitive skin requires a gentle approach. 

Dress your baby in soft clothing and incorporate skin-to-skin contact into your routine, which babies find very soothing. (Parents, too!)

Use cotton or bamboo towels and always pat their skin dry rather than rubbing.

Take a look at the products in your household and eliminate those with potentially harmful ingredients. Whenever possible, use products that are EWG-Verified as these products have the least health risk associated with them. 

If your baby has eczema, the National Eczema Association has a product directory full of products that have received their Seal of Acceptance™.

Sensitive Skin

When to See a Doctor

While there are some conditions you can remedy at home, sometimes you need to seek guidance from a pediatrician.

You should have rashes or skin conditions examined if it:

  • Is severe or unusual
  • Gets worse despite home treatment
  • Bleeds or oozes
  • A diaper rash causes burning or pain with urination or a bowel movement
  • Is accompanied by a fever
  Skin Conditions

    Skin Conditions 

    There are also several baby skin conditions that may develop, irrespective of different skin types. These are typically harmless, and part of the normal skin maturation and development process.

    Milia

    Milia are tiny, white, hard bumps that look like pimples on a newborn's nose. They may also appear on the chin and forehead. Milia form from oil glands and disappear on their own. This skin problem usually disappears within a few days or weeks and needs no treatment.

    Stork bites or salmon patches

    These are small pink or red patches often found on a baby's eyelids, between the eyes, upper lip, and back of the neck. They're caused by a concentration of immature blood vessels and may be the most visible when the baby is crying. Most of these fade and disappear completely by age 18 months. Salmon patches don’t require any type of treatment.

    Mongolian spots

    Mongolian spots are blue or purple-colored splotches on the baby's lower back and buttocks . Over 80 percent of African-American, Asian, and Indian babies have Mongolian spots but occur in dark-skinned babies of all races. The spots are caused by a concentration of pigmented cells and usually disappear in the first four years of life.

    Erythema toxicum

    Erythema toxicum is also called erythema toxicum neonatorum (ETN). It is a red rash on a newborn baby that's often described as "flea bites", common on the chest and back, but may be found all over. About half of all babies develop this condition in the first few days of life. Erythema toxicum isn't dangerous, doesn't require any treatment, and disappears by itself in a few days. 

    Acne neonatorum (baby acne)

    About one-fifth of newborns develop pimples in the first month. These usually appear on the cheeks and forehead. It's thought that maternal hormones cause these, and disappear within a few months. Don't try to break open as this can lead to infection.

    Strawberry hemangioma  

    The red bumpy area that looks like a strawberry. Hemangiomas are formed by a concentration of tiny, immature blood vessels. Most of these occur on the head. They may not appear at birth, but often develop in the first two months. More common in premature babies and in girls, these birthmarks often grow in size for several months, and then gradually begin to fade. Nearly all strawberry hemangiomas completely disappear by age 9.

    baby skin

    Still not sure of your baby’s skin type or how to care for it? Take our baby skin quiz to find out.

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