What Causes Dry Skin on a Baby’s Face?

It is relatively common for newborns and older babies to have some dry skin on their faces. In most cases, this dry skin is harmless and tends to clear up without treatment.

Babies often have dry skin on their faces because their skin is more sensitive than adults. Your skin may be adjusting to the environment outside the uterus, or it may be reacting to allergens in products or clothing. Dehydration and skin conditions can also cause dry skin. Most cases are minor, temporary, and minor, although some may require specialist counseling, treatment, and ongoing observation.

1. Skin peeling after birth

It is common for newborn babies to peel their skin for a week or two after birth. In the uterus, the amniotic fluid surrounds the fetus and the skin does not exfoliate as it does outside the uterus. In the first days after birth, a newborn’s skin may appear dry and peel.

In the uterus, a waxy layer of vernix covers the fetus’s skin, protecting it from amniotic fluid. Leaving the vernix on the baby’s skin for a time immediately after birth can help the baby’s skin adjust to the environment outside the uterus.

Premature babies often have less vernix and less peeling skin than full-term babies. Overdue babies often have less vernix, but more peeling skin than full-term babies.

Exfoliating the skin is a natural process and most babies do not need treatment. Dry skin will go away on its own, although people can use mild home remedies to speed up this process. Using warm baths and humidifiers can help.
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2. Overexposure to water

Long baths, especially those with hot water, tend to wash away some of the natural oils present on the skin. This increases the risk of dry, peeling skin. Avoid using strong and strong soaps, as these have a similar drying effect.

It is best to limit a baby’s bath time to 15 minutes in warm water. Pat the baby’s skin dry by gently patting his face with a soft towel. Avoid towel rubbing to reduce friction and minimize the risk of skin peeling.

People may consider keeping a baby-safe moisturizer on hand to apply occasionally if the baby has excessively dry skin.

3. Dehydration

Cold and dry environments, both outdoors and at home, dehydrate the skin very quickly and can lead to breakage or peeling of the skin. Often times, a humidifier can help regulate humidity levels in a room, but check with your pediatrician first if it’s okay to use one.

For newborns, breast milk is the best solution to keep them hydrated and healthy. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding, that is, no other foods or liquids, for 6 months from the moment of birth.

4. Use of alcohol-based lotions

One of the most important tasks when shopping for baby products is reading the label on the package. Avoid lotions and creams that have an alcohol base, as they dehydrate the outer surface of the skin.

5. Ichthyosis

Ichthyosis is a group of genetic skin conditions that cause peeling and dry skin that is often serious. The word “ichthyosis” comes from the Greek word “ichthy”, which means fish, since people with this condition have scaly-looking skin.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there are more than 20 different types of ichthyosis. Ichthyosis vulgaris is the mildest form of the condition that develops during infancy or childhood.
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Doctors diagnose ichthyosis if it is present at birth based on the family’s medical history and a physical exam. They may also request a blood or skin sample to confirm the condition.

Ichthyosis has no cure, but many topical creams can help relieve dryness and control other symptoms. However, do not use over-the-counter (OTC) remedies unless prescribed by a dermatologist or pediatrician.

6. Eczema

In some cases, a skin condition called atopic dermatitis or eczema can also cause a dry baby’s face. Sometimes the cause of eczema is unknown, but experts have found that nearly half of people with moderate to severe people also have asthma, seasonal allergies, or allergic rhinitis or food allergies, although these do not usually begin in early childhood. Common symptoms of eczema are:

  • Skin itch.
  • Dry Skin.
  • Red, irritated, or thick skin.
  • Swelling that comes and goes.
  • Rash on the face, neck, wrists, knees, elbows, and ankles.

In babies with eczema, dry skin tends to make the rash and itching worse. Talk to a doctor who recommends creams or ointments to relieve symptoms. In most cases, dry skin on a baby’s face does not require treatment. However, people can ease symptoms or speed healing with some methods.


Some simple tips and home remedies to prevent dry skin include:

  • Use a baby-friendly moisturizer if necessary, although this is generally not necessary and most babies do best with as few lotions put on the skin as possible.
  • Keep the baby away from the cold inside and outside.
  • Avoid strong and heavily scented creams and perfumes around the baby.
  • Keep bath time to a maximum of 15 minutes.
  • Gently pat the baby’s face dry and avoid rubbing his skin with the towel to reduce friction
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