baby skin
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Kate Traverson

An Ounce of Prevention: Stop Baby Skin Problems Before They Start

Follow these tips to nip common complexion issues in the bud.

Who doesn’t love that unbelievably soft newborn skin? But those precious complexions require extra care to stay smooth and kissable. Problems ranging from diaper rash to eczema may seem unavoidable, but a bit of prevention can go a long way. Check out our tips for avoiding these common issues, including protective products from Mustela. The company’s Bébé line is hypoallergenic, contains lots of natural ingredients and is free from parabens, phthalates and phenoxyethanol (common chemical irritants found in adult skin care), so you can feel good about using them on baby’s delicate skin.

Keep Skin Clean and Dry

Prevents: Rashes and irritation
Bath time is a special bonding experience, but it’s important not to overdo it. Bathing too frequently can dry out baby’s sensitive skin and strip it of essential oils. Giving baby a bath two to three times a week with a gentle cleanser, like Mustela’s Dermo-Cleansing, is plenty. To clean up excess drool or spit-up between baths, use a mild micellar water like No Rinse Cleansing Water and dry the area completely; excess wetness can cause chaffing. And don’t forget all those adorable little baby folds! As cute as they are, they also tend to harbor moisture and debris (read: milk and food crumbs) that can cause rashes, so wipe them clean twice a day with baby wipes or just a damp cloth.

Change Diapers Often

Prevents: Diaper rash
Possibly the most important (and toughest) spot to keep clean is baby’s diaper area. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to avoid diaper rash altogether, but you can minimize the chances of repeat flare-ups by keeping baby’s bottom squeaky clean and limiting time spent in a dirty diaper. For at least the first several months, that means changing it every two to three hours. Applying a diaper rash cream also helps to create a barrier that protects baby’s skin from wetness. Mustela Diaper Rash Cream 1 2 3 contains zinc oxide, which works to prevent a rash as well as heal one, plus naturally derived soothing ingredients like avocado and sunflower oil. Allowing baby some time sans diaper is also beneficial—just make sure to put down a waterproof pad to prevent any accidents.

Moisturize Every Day

Prevents: Dry, itchy skin and eczema outbreaks
Baby’s skin is naturally dry, delicate and still developing. After spending so long surrounded by fluid in the womb, the top layer of the skin is still adjusting to the outside world, which often results in peeling. So it’s crucial to keep that delicate skin extra moisturized and protected. The solution is simple: Lotion him or her up after every bath and throughout the day as needed. Not so simple: finding the right product. As with all of baby’s skin care, the ingredients matter—especially if baby is prone to eczema, which can be triggered by allergies or irritants. Choose a lotion free from harsh chemicals and parabens that also uses natural ingredients, like Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion, which helps seal in moistureand strengthen baby’s delicate skin. Facial skin is much thinner than the rest of the body (this is the same for adults too), so look for a moisturizer geared toward this fragile area, such as Mustela Hydra Bebe Facial Cream. And if the air in your home tends to be particularly dry, you might also want to invest in a humidifier.

Protect Against Sun Exposure

Prevents: Sunburn, dryness and heat rash
Okay, we know you know this, but it bears repeating: Sunscreen isn’t just for a day at the beach. You should use it whenever children over 6 months spend time in the sun, and reapply it every two hours. Want to cut down on the application hassle? Try a stick formula like Mustela SPF 50+ Broad Spectrum Mineral Sunscreen Stick that glides on quickly. It contains 100 percent mineral-based active ingredients, which have been found to effectively block UV rays—a great choice if you want to avoid chemical ingredients, which can mess with baby’s hormones. (Sunscreen isn’t recommended for babies under 6 months, so keep infants in the shade using a hat or sun cover for the stroller.)

Prepare for Harsh Weather

Prevents: Red and chapped skin With winter comes cold air and wind—common culprits that irritate the face. You use lip balm to protect your lips from getting chapped, so why wouldn’t you do the same for baby? Just choose a product that’s created especially for infants, like Mustela Hydra-stick With Cold Cream. The travel-friendly stick contains soothing cold cream and softening shea butter. Swipe it on lips, cheeks and noses to protect them from the elements.

The Bump and Mustela present Healthy Skin Solutions, a sponsored series full of tips and products to suit every skin type. Visit Mustela to learn more about the latest skincare for mom and baby.

Photo: Gillian Vann