Your baby’s skin

So you’ve brought a little one into the world and you’re
in love all over again. Learn more here about how to
take care of your baby’s delicate skin.

Nappy rash

Nappy rash can occur at any time during your child’s nappy wearing stage. It can be caused by a baby’s delicate skin being in contact with the irritating chemicals in urine and faeces. This is made worse by a tight nappy which both rubs and stops the air circulating. It’s best to try to  protect from the causes of nappy rash

Baby skin care: useful tips

Newborn babies’ skin is very delicate. After birth, your baby comes into contact with a whole host of things that can potentially irritate their skin – from the clothes they wear to the lotions you use on their skin. This means that it’s very important to provide gentle care for their skin from the day they first come home from the hospital.

But where do you start when it comes to infant skin care? We look at the structure of baby’s skin, why baby skin care is important, what sort of products you may want to buy and some useful baby skin care tips.


What is the structure of babies’ skin?

Like all your baby’s organs, their skin is still developing and is very sensitive. This makes it especially susceptible to irritants like detergents, soaps and food as well as wee and poo when their nappy is dirty. Baby’s skin can also be irritated by changes in the weather: for example dry, cold winter aircan dry out their skin.

Your newborn baby’s skin is so sensitive because their skin has not fully matured. The structure of a baby’s skin starts to mature from the moment they’re born, and is complete when they’re around 34 weeks old.

Babies also have underdeveloped sweat glands, which makes it harder for them to regulate their body temperature. This means it’s easier for a newborn baby to overheat.

Newborn babies’ skin is very sensitive, highly permeable and has not finished fully developing. This means it needs special care that’s gentle and thorough to help keep it healthy.


Baby skin care: why is it important?

Newborn babies’ skin is very easily irritated. This means it’s important to care for it properly so they don’t develop rashes and irritations, which can be both distressing for your baby and can lead to more serious conditions.


One very common irritation in babies is nappy rash. It causes a red rash around your baby’s bottom which can cause distress and discomfort. In severe cases nappy rash can become infected. If your baby is suffering from a bad case of nappy rash, they may seem irritable and struggle to eat or sleep.

If your baby’s skin seems irritated, this could be a symptom of something more serious. For example, a red, itchy rash could be a sign of a food allergy if seen alongside other symptoms like a runny nose and watery eyes. Dry skin could also be a sign of dehydration, and there are many kinds of rashes that babies can get that are symptoms of more serious illnesses. For more information on baby rashes and how to treat them, read our baby rash care and treatment blog.

As your baby’s skin is so sensitive, and changes to their skin could be an indication of a range of illness or health conditions, it’s important to look after it.

Baby skin care: Useful tips

Here are our top tips for looking after your baby’s skin.


  • Change your baby or toddler’s nappy as quickly as possible when it’s dirty, as prolonged contact with wee and poo can cause irritation and nappy rash.
  • Keep newborn babies out of the sun. You should keep babies younger than six months old out of direct sunlight, and when they’re older use a parasol or sunshade to protect them. You should also apply sunscreen to their skin of at least SPF 30 and reapply it regularly. Because babies cannot regulate their body temperature very well, keeping them out of the sun also helps to stop them from becoming too warm and overheating.
  • Cold, dry air in the winter can also irritate your baby’s skin, especially if they have a pre-existing condition like eczema. That means in the winter you need to make sure they keep warm and protected from the wind.
  • When choosing products to use on your baby’s skin, make sure they don’t contain fragrances, dyes, and other chemicals as these can irritate them.
  • Let your baby’s skin “breathe” by having some clothing and nappy-free time. After applying a nappy cream, let your baby sit without their nappy for a while to let air get to their skin.

It’s also important to take care when washing and cleaning your baby. When you’re bathing your baby, make sure you use warm (not hot) water to wash them and don’t use soaps or bubble baths until they’re older (4 to 6 weeks). Clean your baby with water, making sure to clean in the folds of skin around their neck, wrists and thighs where milk can often get trapped and cause irritation.


Once your baby is clean, pat their skin dry with a soft, fresh towel. Don’t rub at their skin, as this can irritate it.

You can start to use baby shampoo from 4 to 6 weeks. Make sure you only use a very little shampoo (around the size of a pea) at this stage. As your baby grows and gets more hair, you can use more. Make sure you choose a specialised baby shampoo that does not contain harsh chemicals or dyes and is fragrance free. If your baby has developed cradle cap on their scalp, you might find that using a gentle baby shampoo helps to ease the symptoms.

Once they’re dry, you can dress them in clean clothes. If your baby’s skin is very dry and you’ve been advised by your doctor or health care visitor to use a moisturiser on their skin, right after they’ve had a bath and their skin is a little damp is a great time to apply it, as it can help trap moisture.



Baby skin care: which products to choose?

When you’re looking for products to use on your baby’s skin, it can feel overwhelming. When you’re shopping for baby skin care products, there’s a few things you can keep in mind.


Check the ingredients before you put anything on your baby’s skin. Baby products should not contain artificial fragrances, chemicals or dyes and only use natural ingredients. Some baby creams and ointments may be enriched with vitamins – check the ingredients and packaging to see what’s available and might best suit your baby’s needs.

Avoid products like contain alcohol (for example, alcohol-based wipes). When you’re using new products, keep an eye out for signs of an allergic reaction such as a rash, hives or eczema.

If your baby has dry skin, there are a lot of moisturisers that may help. Baby creams and lotions have emollient properties – this means they soothe and hydrate dry skin while trapping in moisture. Your doctor or pharmacist might recommend you use an emollient on your baby’s skin if they develop eczema (which tends to look like a red, itchy rash) or other skin irritations.

If your baby develops nappy rash and it’s causing them distress, your pharmacist or family doctor can help with advice and product recommendations. In some cases, your doctor may give you a prescription if their rash is particularly severe.

It’s also important to think about the products you’re using elsewhere. For example, you should think about what sort of detergent you’re washing laundry with, as harsh chemicals may irritate their skin. Make sure you wash towels, clothing and bedding with detergent that doesn’t contain dyes or fragrances.

To help prevent nappy rash from happening in the first place, you can use a barrier cream like Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment at every nappy change. Bepanthen works by forming a barrier to protect your baby’s skin against irritants and rubbing, and contains Provitamin B5 which gently aids natural recovery of sensitive skin, while keeping it soft, smooth and moisturised.

Learn about nappy rash

Nappy rash can occur at any time during your child’s nappy-wearing stage. Up to 1/3 of nappy-wearing children will experience nappy rash during this time. Protecting your baby at every nappy change with a gentle barrier ointment is recommended.

Putting on a diaper after applying ointment cream

Nappy rash cream

Treatment and prevention tips.

Baby crying while changing his diaper

Skin irritations in babies

There’s nothing quite like the softness of a baby’s skin. That’s why Bepanthen is here to give you a helping hand in caring for your precious little one.

Putting on a diaper after applying ointment cream

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lady holding a baby

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Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment

Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment is an easy to apply and breathable barrier cream, that helps keep little bottoms happy and protected from the causes of nappy rash.