Combating infant dry skin in the Central Oregon air
The high desert is an amazing climate. One day it can be ten degrees and snowing and the next it's seventy without a cloud in the sky. Humid is not a word I would describe it here. It's great for hairstyles but it wreaks havoc on infant skin. My youngest has an issue with dry, patchy spots on his body and it's taken a bit of trial and error to figure out what it could be and how to manage it. For about two months I was on an elimination diet which helped clear up about eighty percent of the dry spots. But there are a few that are stubborn and haven't gone away completely. I have found that keeping his skin moisturized and well covered is the best trick. Maybe you have this issue too?
In the womb, babies are covered in a thick, white coating called Vernix. Vernix keeps babies warm and protected while in utero and when on the outside it protects them from bacteria and moisturizes the skin. So the first thing you can do to help your baby keep their super soft skin is to rub that vernix in and avoid bathing. Newborns really don't need baths. I know people love the idea of lathering up their sweet baby to clean them but in all honesty, they aren't that dirty. Even adults don't need to be washing with soap every day because we are stripping away the natural oils on our skin and it's very drying.
So what do you do when your baby needs washing?
If it's just a spot or two, water on a wash cloth is all that's needed. The most common areas will be behind their ears, under their neck and their hands. If they are needing a bath, or you just want to give them one, consider not using any soap to lessen the chance of washing off the natural oil on their skin. When you're ready to take them out, don't liberally dry them off but just wrap them in a towel and let the body absorb the water that is on their skin.
Find a moisturizer that is emollient and well absorbed into the skin. After your baby is no longer wet, rub them down with the moisturizer and then put on some cotton clothing. I love A Bushel & A Peck's Baby Balm. It's smooth but thick and helps fight off dry patches. Best thing, there's no yucky ingredients so I don't have to worry about putting it on my baby. If your kiddo has dry patches, you will need to apply a moisturizer a few times a day. I typically do it with each diaper change. You can also try putting a humidifier in your baby's room to help add moisture to the air.
Dry skin is no fun. If your baby's skin issues don't clear up, consult with a care provider about options for treatment.
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