You only just got home from the hospital, and already your little one is developing newborn dry skin. What’s going on? Is it something you did? Could this have been prevented? The experts at Mustela are here to put your mind at ease and tell you everything you need to know to keep your baby happy, healthy, and comfortable during those first few days, weeks, and months.

In this article, we’ll answer the following questions:

  • What is newborn dry skin?
  • What causes newborn dry skin?
  • Can you prevent newborn dry skin?
  • Is newborn dry skin permanent?

We’ll also give you 10 tips to help you care for your newborn’s dry skin.

What Is Newborn Dry Skin?

Newborn babies get dry skin just like older children and adults. In fact, your little one’s skin may develop dry, flaky patches with a few hours after birth. Newborns are especially susceptible to dry skin because their skin is so delicate.

What Causes Newborn Dry Skin?

What Causes Newborn Dry Skin?

One of the most common causes of newborn dry skin is your baby’s body adjusting to life outside the womb. Your little one lived in liquid for the past nine months, so their skin cells were not able to flake off like yours do. Now that your newborn has come into the world, their skin is making up for lost time by shedding off its top layer. As you may have guessed, this process presents itself as dry, flaky skin.

Another cause of newborn dry skin is your baby’s body adjusting to new hormones. For nine months, your little one relied on your hormones. Now your baby’s body has to start producing its own hormones. The change in hormone quantity and concentration often leads to newborn dry skin. In fact, you may have developed dry skin while you were pregnant because of a similar process.

Is Newborn Dry Skin Permanent?

No, newborn dry skin is not permanent. Unless your child has inherited atopic-prone skin (eczema) from you or your partner, your newborn’s dry skin will eventually disappear. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the problem and just wait for it to go away. Newborn dry skin can be itchy and uncomfortable and, if not properly cared for, can even develop an infection.

Can You Prevent Newborn Dry Skin?

The simple answer is no, you cannot prevent newborn dry skin. Because your newborn’s dry skin is the result of your baby’s body adjusting to a new environment, there’s not much you can do to stop it from happening. Your baby’s body simply needs time to adapt. You can, however, keep your baby comfortable while it’s happening and ensure that it doesn’t get worse by following the tips listed below.

How To Care For Newborn Dry Skin

1) Moisturize Your Baby’s Skin

baby with lotion

Applying a moisturizer is one of the most important steps you can take to care for your newborn’s dry skin. Moisturizers like Mustela’s Nourishing Cream With Cold Cream and Nourishing Lotion With Cold Cream are designed to lock moisture into your little one’s skin and prevent it from evaporating. This helps to keep your baby’s skin soft and supple and reduce itching.

We recommend applying a moisturizer at least twice per day: once during the day and once after bath time. If your baby’s skin looks and feels dry even with two applications per day, don’t be afraid to add a third or fourth. And for busy parents and babies on the go, pack Mustela’s Hydra-Stick with Cold Cream in your diaper bag.

2) Dress Your Newborn In Loose, Soft Fabrics

Dress your newborn in loose, soft fabrics to prevent their dry skin from becoming more irritated. Even well-moisturized skin can react badly to tight, rough fabrics. It is vital to choose: clothing, blankets, sheets, and even plush toys that won't cause friction on your baby's delicate skin.

3) Protect Dry Skin During Bath Time

Even if your baby doesn’t suffer from newborn dry skin, bath time can cause your little one’s skin to develop itchy, flaky patches. Luckily, you can protect your baby’s skin during bath time by remembering three simple rules:

  1. Fill the tub with lukewarm water.
  2. Keep baths short (around 10 minutes).
  3. Use the right bath products.

It’s this last point that can make the biggest difference. We recommend adding Mustela’s Bath Oil to your baby’s bath water to prevent dissolved salts and chlorine from drying out your baby’s skin. Once your little one is in the bath, gently wash them with Mustela’s Nourishing Cleansing Gel With Cold Cream to preserve their tender skin.

4) Add Moisture To The Air

If the air in your home is dry, add moisture by running a vaporizer or humidifier. The extra moisture in the air will prevent the moisture in your baby’s skin from evaporating too quickly. For warm moisture, a vaporizer works best. For cool moisture, we suggest purchasing a humidifier.

5) Prevent Dryness In Your Baby’s Diaper Area

diaper rash cream

Your baby’s diaper area is especially susceptible to dry skin because of all the activity going on down there. You can care for your baby’s diaper area by using gentle products with natural ingredients like:

All of Mustela’s products are clinically tested to be hypoallergenic and safe for use on newborns, babies, and children alike.

6) Keep Your Newborn Hydrated


Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, you can care for your newborn’s dry skin by keeping your little one well hydrated. The liquids your baby drinks will provide moisture from the inside out, while the moisturizer you apply twice per day will help keep the hydration from evaporating out of your baby’s skin.

7) Keep Your Baby Clean & Comfortable Between Bath Times

Dirt, dust, and pet dander can irritate your baby’s dry skin, so it’s vital that you keep your little one clean and comfortable between bath times with a cleansing product that won’t further dry out their skin. We recommend Mustela's Nourishing Cleansing Gel With Cold Cream. It can be used to gently cleanse your baby’s face, body, hands, and diaper area without aggravating your little one’s sensitive skin.

8) Protect Your Baby From The Elements

Low temperatures, high temperatures, wind, and the sun can all make your baby’s dry skin worse. Protect your baby’s skin from the elements in the winter by covering your little one’s hands and head with gloves and hat. And whether it’s winter, spring, summer, or fall, you’ll need to protect your baby’s skin from the sun’s UV rays, which can further dry out your newborn’s skin.

That’s why it’s essential to protect your baby’s tender skin year-round with Mustela’s SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion. This gentle, fragrance-free sunscreen provides safe and effective sun protection for your newborn’s face and body.

9) Clip Your Baby’s Nails

Clip Your Baby’s Nails

Clip your baby’s fingernails to prevent your little one from scratching themselves and making their dry skin worse. Dry skin is uncomfortable, and even adults (who should know better) can give in to scratching these flaky areas once in a while. Your baby has none of the self-control that you do and may even scratch without meaning to.

That’s why it’s so important to keep your baby’s fingernails clipped to prevent intentional and accidental scratching. If you see red marks on your baby’s skin, even after clipping their fingernails, try putting some baby mittens on your little one’s hands.

10) Avoid Products That May Aggravate Already Dry Skin

To protect your baby’s sensitive skin, we recommend avoiding products that may aggravate it. Be on the lookout for:

  • Powder-based products like talc and baby powder.
  • Products that contain alcohol.
  • Essential oils and products that contain essential oils.

Caring For Your Newborn’s Dry Skin Does Not Have To Be Difficult

Don’t let your newborn’s dry skin make your little one uncomfortable. Simply follow the tips above to keep your baby happy and healthy. With a bit of extra care, your newborn’s dry skin will quickly become a thing of the past.