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When choosing shampoo for babies, avoid those with fragrances.

From Hair Care to Diaper Rash: Skin Care for Newborns

Parents often ask us about skin care for newborns, and with good reason. Babies’ gentle skin often needs special care, and newborns often have marks on their skin that parents understandably wonder about.  The  following are a few tips about skin care for newborns that will help you protect your child in nearly every situation.

Baby Bath Time

The little, fine hairs on their head are so cute that you want to make every effort to care for each and every one of them. We get it, so here’s a tip that will help protect their hair and body: Many baby shampoos are in fact too harsh or perfumed to be appropriate for a baby’s delicate skin and scalp. In general, try to avoid shampoos that have heavy fragrance or aggressive surfactant cleansers.

Dr. Aaron Cetner favors organic products that are free of formaldehydes and parabens.  Some examples are made by Babyganics and Noodle & Boo.

Many shampoos also double as a body wash for babies.  Dr. Cetner strongly encourages use of some type of gentle soap or cleanser on the baby’s body, as removing environmental allergens and irritants is an important part of keeping a baby’s skin healthy.


Skin care for newborns includes the use of sun protection.

Skin Care for Newborns in the Sun

Sun protection is very important for a baby’s skin.  With no significant past exposure, newborns are more prone to burn.  A non-micronized particle sunscreen containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is best.  Examples include Babo and Babyganics, although many excellent options are available on the market.

Physical protection with hats and shirts that possess UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) ratings of at least 30 are also important.


When choosing laundry detergent for babies' clothing, avoid fragrances and dyes.

Clothing & Laundry

Many laundry detergent brands advertise that they are good for sensitive baby skin. However, many of these actually contain significant fragrance and dyes. Review the labels carefully when selecting a detergent for your baby’s clothing.

Dr. Cetner generally recommends the All Free & Clear brand.


A baby sits amid piles of diapers. Keeping moisture off babies' skin as much as possible is a key to preventing diaper rash.

Diaper Rash

Prevention is key when it comes to diaper rash.  Diapers are much more absorbent these days, but keeping moisture off the skin is still a struggle. A barrier ointment, such as Vaniply, Aquaphor, or Desitin (zinc oxide), should be used with every diaper change.

Diaper rash is usually simply due to irritation from moisture against a baby’s skin, but it can also be driven by yeast or a combination of yeast and bacteria. A diaper rash that does not resolve or persists even with use of barriers should be evaluated.


Babies often get a variety of rashes.

Skin Rashes

Infants can have several different types of rashes.

Neonatal acne, which presents in the first few months, is actually caused by yeast on the skin surface, which feed on oil produced by active sebaceous glands in the newborn’s skin.  These glands tend to be driven by maternal hormones during the pregnancy, and so this condition tends to resolve as the effect of these hormones wanes after birth.

The most common type of baby rash is atopic dermatitis, also called eczema. This tends to be strongly genetic, and it presents as an itchy, scaly, red rash, typically behind the knees and in the folds of the elbows. Another common rash is erythema toxicum neonatorum, which presents as small red bumps on the face and scalp in the first few weeks of life. Rashes around the mouth are common in babies who use pacifiers, due to irritation from saliva.

Rashes that are accompanied by a fever or other illness should be evaluated.

Keep in mind that every person is different, and the best skin care for newborns depends on a variety of factors. Contact one of our dermatologists in Commerce, West Bloomfield, Farmington Hills, Berkley, or Novi for more personalized information or if you are concerned about a rash that your baby is experiencing.

And finally, from our family to yours, congratulations on your beautiful new baby!