Things You Didn't Know About Your Baby's Skin

It’s safe to say that when your baby first enters the world, the conditions that they were used to for the first nine or so months change dramatically. As your baby acclimatises to the outside world, their only real protection is the skin they’re born in, which takes time to grow resilient to the new surroundings and environmental factors. As such, baby’s skin is incredibly delicate and must be cared for accordingly.

Why is baby's skin is so soft?

As the saying goes, ‘soft as a baby’s bottom’, and rightly so! Baby skin is incredibly soft and can be three to five times thinner than adult skin [1], making it more susceptible to changes in temperature, dehydration, and irritating skin conditions [2]. Baby’s skin is a lot more permeable than more mature skin, so while it’s more absorbent, it’s also not able to retain moisture to the same degree. As such, baby’s skin needs additional hydration to stay moisturised throughout the day. The Cetaphil Baby Daily Lotion has been specially formulated with shea butter to help soothe and nourish newborn and baby skin.

Baby’s skin is more susceptible to irritation and skin conditions

Due to the fragile nature of baby’s skin, it can be more prone to sensitivities, irritation, and skin conditions. Two common skin ailments that you may come across with your bub are cradle cap and baby acne.


A form of dermatitis, cradle cap is a common skin condition in babies up to three months of age. Cradle cap is caused by inflammation of the sebaceous glands, which produce oils that help to waterproof babies’ skin in the first few months of their lives. Cradle cap is characterised by thick, greasy, yellow scales primarily on the baby’s scalp, but this condition can sometimes affect their eyebrows [3]. While it may look itchy and uncomfortable, for the most part, cradle cap doesn’t cause irritation and will generally clear itself without treatment. If you want to speed up the recovery process, try loosening the flakes by gently massaging your baby’s scalp with a light moisturiser of an evening. The following morning, wash your baby’s hair with a mild baby shampoo, like the Cetaphil Baby Shampoo, and use a soft brush to lift and remove the dried skin. Repeat this process every few days until the cradle cap has cleared. If you notice that the affected area has an unpleasant odour or starts to ooze, it may be infected and we recommended consulting your baby’s paediatrician.


At the end of pregnancy and during breastfeeding, the mother’s hormones are often transferred to the baby, which can sometimes result in baby acne. Also known as neonatal acne, it appears as small white or red pimples. This skin condition is completely normal, affecting around 20% of newborns [4], and should clear naturally over a few weeks. If your baby is suffering from baby acne, it can be best to avoid applying products like cleansers and lotions to the affected areas, and instead, ensure the skin is kept clean. Much like cradle cap, baby acne is harmless and will not cause your bub any pain or irritation.  

How often should baby’s skin be washed?

Unlike adults and older children, babies do not need to be bathed every day. Two to three washes a week should be sufficient to keep your baby clean as more frequent washing can strip the natural oils from their skin, causing it to become dry and irritated. When bathing your baby, it’s best to avoid drying soaps [5]. Instead, opt for a gentle baby wash that includes hydrating ingredients like the Cetaphil Baby Moisturising Bath and Wash that blends moisturiser and aloe vera to nourish your baby’s skin.


As for your baby’s hair, it only needs to be washed once or twice a week. The Cetaphil Baby Shampoo has been specially formulated with chamomile extracts to gently cleanse your baby’s scalp without stripping the natural oils. 


While you shouldn’t bathe your baby daily, it’s still important to wash their face, neck, hands, and bottom daily, as these areas are often more exposed to grime. Referred to as ‘topping and tailing’, this method uses cotton wool balls and warm water to gently cleanse your baby’s skin, paying particular attention to the face, bottom, and genital area. Be sure to use a fresh piece of cotton wool for each area you cleanse to avoid cross-contamination. Avoid getting water in your baby’s nostrils and inside the ears as it can damage the delicate linings of these areas.

The benefits of baby massage

Finishing the bathing routine by giving your baby a massage is a great way to connect with your baby and soothe them before bedtime [6]. Baby massage can have numerous benefits for your baby, including reduced crying time, improved sleeping patterns, boosting mood, and relieving digestive issues to name a few [7]. To enhance the experience, try incorporating massage oil, like the Cetaphil Baby Massage Oil, containing shea butter and vitamin E to help gently moisturise your baby’s sensitive skin.