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Baby’s Dry Skin

Nearly one in four babies under the age of one suffers from some form of dry skin at some point. Though the problem is so common, diagnosis and treatment can be quite tricky. This is because baby dry skin manifests itself in different symptoms in different babies and may be caused by different factors.

Recognising your baby’s symptoms is half the battle where diagnosing baby dry skin is concerned. Because babies can’t really communicate their discomfort to us in so many words, we have to play detective very often. Most often dry skin is manifested in the form of flakes (especially around the scalp), rashes, redness, itching, rubbing, blotches and general crankiness when the discomfort is too great. Baby’s dry skin also usually occurs around the knees and legs, abdomen and face and scalp and the diaper area. So you need to look out for these areas in particular.

Quite often babies dry skin is related to the age of the child and is known as infantile dermatitis. Most babies will outgrow this after the age of one. Other triggers for dry skin in babies are laundry detergents, fabric conditioners, bath soaps and shampoos and diapers. Sometimes crawling also causes dry skin on the knees and elbows due to constant friction.

Tips for Baby Dry Skin Treatment

There are a number of simple remedies for baby dry skin:

•    The most obvious remedy for dry skin is to moisturize. Make sure you moisturize your baby everyday and several times a day if necessary. Use a good moisturizer that is not too watery, hypoallergenic and preferably fragrance free. If the problem is very severe, ask your doctor to prescribe a strong medicated moisturizer. Olive oil is a good home remedy moisturizer to use for babies.

•    Bathe your baby in lukewarm water as very hot or cold water will dry the skin out further. Limit bath time to ten minutes to prevent drying and wrinkling of the skin. Gently pat the baby dry and moisturize quickly to seal the moisture into the skin.

•    If the diaper area is the problem, change diapers frequently, as prolonged wetness can wrinkle and dry the skin further and also cause an infection. Cleanse and moisturise the skin during each diaper change.

•    Use only cotton clothes for your baby, especially in summer. Cotton fabric absorbs sweat and allows your baby’s skin to breathe.

•    Avoid tight clothing, woollens and nylons as these constrict the movement of air around the baby’s body.

•    Avoid using plastic sheets under the baby’s bedding.

•    Avoid sudden changes in temperature as this will also rob your baby’s skin of moisture.

If these measures do not help your baby’s dry skin, do consult your paediatrician to rule out eczema or some other skin infection or allergy.