May 31, 2024
May 31, 2024

5 home remedies for your baby's dry skin

Babies have super sensitive skin and their skin is more prone to dryness. Particularly during summer and winter months, there are simple ways to protect your baby’s skin from harsh weather and drier climates. Here are 5 home remedies to hydrate your baby’s dry skin.
Dahlia Rimmon, RDN
Written by
Dahlia Rimmon, RDN
Content Writer
Dr. Marcy Borieux
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Marcy Borieux

What causes dry skin?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies have more delicate skin compared to adults, and they’re more susceptible to losing skin moisture. There are certain factors that can cause dry skin: water, hot water, chemical irritants, and eczema.


It may seem counterintuitive but too much water can actually dry out your baby’s skin.

Hot water

The temperature of your baby’s bath can affect your baby’s skin barrier. The AAP explains that hot water can dry out and irritate your baby’s skin more than lukewarm or cold water.

Chemical irritants

Chemical irritants and fragrances found in diaper materials, clothing, lotions, body wash, or laundry detergent can not only irritate your baby’s skin but can also be excessively harsh, leading to moisture loss and dryness.


According to the AAP, approximately one in 10 children have eczema. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin issue characterized by dry, red, and itchy skin. Kids with eczema have super sensitive skin and are more susceptible to irritation and dryness.

5 home remedies for your baby's dry skin

Here are some expert-approved home remedies to keep your baby’s skin soft and hydrated.

1. Shorten bath time

Since too much water can dry out your baby’s skin, limit bath time to about 10 minutes. Most babies love bath time, and it's easy for parents to lose track of time while their baby is having fun. To stay on schedule, try setting a timer on your phone to ensure you don't go over the 10 minute mark. Another option is to give your baby a sponge bath. This way, your baby isn't fully submerged in water.

2. Keep water cool and soap free

Make sure your bath water temperature is lukewarm since hot water can irritate your baby’s skin. Also, most body soaps (especially scented ones) contain chemical irritants that can dry out your baby’s skin. Unless your baby is filthy (aren't those avocado-smudged faces just the cutest?!), consider skipping soap during bath time.

If you decide to use soap, make sure it’s hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and made without harsh chemicals.

3. Moisturize your baby’s damp skin

After bath time, try gently patting your baby's skin rather than vigorously drying it off with a towel. Then, apply a generous amount of a hypoallergenic moisturizing cream or lotion to lock in moisture and keep their skin from drying out.

When choosing a moisturizer, select one made with oils which can help lock in moisture and keep the skin hydrated. Cream and ointment-based moisturizers are usually thicker and have soothing oils to calm the skin.

4. Switch out your laundry detergent

Think about switching to a fragrance-free hypoallergenic laundry detergent for washing your baby's clothing. Regular detergents often have harsh chemicals that can aggravate your baby’s sensitive skin.

5. Add a humidifier to your baby’s room

Sometimes adding moisture to the air can help combat dryness, especially in your baby’s room where they spend a lot of time. Consider using a humidifier to maintain optimal humidity levels in your baby’s nursery. Just remember, humidifiers can become a breeding ground for mold, so be sure to clean your humidifier thoroughly every few days, and routinely change any included filters.

FAQs: More about babies and dry skin

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about infant dry skin.

What is ichthyosis?

Ichthyosis is a skin condition when your baby’s skin becomes super dry and starts to peel. With ichthyosis, the skin appears scaley, itchy, and super thick. If you think your baby has ichthyosis, contact your local pediatrician or a Summer Health pediatrician who can help with a diagnosis.

What's a treatment for peeling skin?

The treatment for peeling skin in a child with ichthyosis is a little different from a child with regular eczema. In cases of ichthyosis, regular bathing helps soak the skin, while frequent application of moisturizing cream or ointment keeps the skin hydrated. Since peeling skin may indicate other illnesses or infections, it is important to consult your pediatrician for guidance.

If my baby has a diaper rash, does that indicate dry skin?

Not necessarily. Most of the time, diaper rashes appear when your baby’s been hanging out in their soggy diaper for too long. Other times, it may indicate a diaper yeast infection or skin sensitivity. Consult your local or Summer Health pediatrician if your baby’s diaper rash does not respond to the usual diaper creams.

Why is my newborn’s skin peeling?

After birth, it's common for babies' skin to peel. When they're in the womb, surrounded by amniotic fluid, their skin is shielded by a thick, cheese-like coating. This coating helps keep their skin hydrated and moist, preventing it from drying out due to direct contact with the amniotic fluid. Once babies are born, they lose this protective layer, which can lead to dryness and skin peeling.

Is cradle cap considered dry skin?

Cradle cap is that thick, scaly yellowish stuff that’s on your baby’s scalp. Cradle cap is a type of seborrheic dermatitis that's found on the scalp, behind the ears, on the face, or in neck folds too. While it may look like dry skin, it can sometimes be oily or itchy, and appears like peeling skin, but it’s considered a rash. Your pediatrician can provide recommendations to help with cradle cap.

Do all babies with eczema have dry skin?

Eczema is a skin condition, and babies with eczema often experience dry skin, either in patches or across multiple areas of their body.

And remember, if you have any concerns about dry skin, newborn skin peeling, or skin conditions, Summer Health's team of pediatricians are only a text away.


American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Avoiding Dry Winter Skin in Babies and Toddlers

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Eczema in Babies and Children

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): What is Cradle Cap?

Dahlia Rimmon, RDN
Content Writer
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