Diapering Essentials for Baby.
Diapering Essentials for Baby.

What new parents need to know: a guide to safely and effectively take care of your newborn baby’s skin.

You have a new bundle to welcome home and a new baby skincare routine to learn and master. If you're a new or soon-to-be parent researching baby skincare it can feel overwhelming, especially in the first few months. Babies are born with highly sensitive skin with minimal defenses against outside elements, which means it’s important to create a skincare routine that will keep them clean, moisturized, and comfortable. The most important way to take care of your baby’s skin is by using safe products. This complete guide comprehensively covers all things skin, with tips, skincare products, and additional resources to help you survive month one and beyond.


Common newborn skin conditions

Let’s start with some of the most common newborn skin conditions. Newborns are born with their very own built-in moisturizer, called the vernix, which coats their skin and protects them during the first few hours after birth. But as the vernix absorbs and newborns adjust to life outside of the womb, their skin no longer has the same natural sources of moisture it did during fetal development. Understanding each of these skin conditions will help you build your own new baby skincare routine.

Peeling skin

As your new baby becomes adjusted to life outside of the womb, it’s common for their skin to become dry and flaky. Building a moisture barrier takes a little time, and newborn peeling skin is simply part of the process, says Mona A. Gohara, MD, dermatologist and associate clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology.  Dry, peeling skin is to be expected for at least the first two weeks postpartum. If you notice your baby still has dry skin after those two weeks, it could be caused by cold or dry weather, skin products with harsh chemicals, frequent bathing and more. It’s recommended to test newborn skincare products in small amounts and monitor for any reactions to determine if they're helping or actually making the condition worse.

Baby acne

Starting a few weeks after birth, you may notice acne on your baby’s cheeks, forehead, and back. Baby acne, also known as neonatal acne, is usually painless, and disappears a month or so after birth. Neonatal acne can be reduced in many cases with a consistent newborn baby skincare routine that involves gentle cleansing with warm water and a tear-free baby wash.

Cradle cap

If it looks like your baby has a case of dandruff, don’t worry. Cradle cap, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, isn’t contagious or painful; it’s simply a common newborn baby skin issue. One technique to minimize cradle cap is to soften dry patches with a small amount of fragrance-free baby oil during bathtime; massage it in, let it absorb for a minute to soften patches, then gently brush it out and shampoo to remove excess oil.

Heat rash

One of the most common newborn skin irritations is heat rash. To avoid heat rashes, make sure your baby’s clothes don’t fit too tightly and dress them in layers you can remove if your baby gets too warm.

Diaper rash and other newborn skin rashes

Diaper rash can be caused by a number of factors, including changes to a baby’s diet, infrequent diaper changes, or more serious infections. Being consistent with diaper changes in your new baby’s skincare routine and regularly applying a diaper rash cream at each diaper change makes the biggest difference in preventing diaper rashes.

And with so many adorable, squishy rolls, it’s easy and completely normal for babies to get other skin rashes. When too much moisture is locked into their skin folds and creases, bacteria can create rashes. Common areas for babies to get rashes are armpits, neck, wrists, and feet. A cream to powder formula is a safe, talc-free alternative to baby powder, and can help absorb excess moisture and minimize chafing.

Baby eczema

Patches of red, dry, and irritated-looking skin are how eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, often appears. This is a common skin condition that usually shows up within the first few months of infancy, and is often quite itchy and uncomfortable for babies. Use a gentle, fragrance-free eczema lotion to help keep them as comfortable as possible, and avoid fragrances or harsh detergents. Also, wash your hands frequently, keep nails trimmed to avoid accidental scratches, and avoid itchy clothing that could trigger a flare up in your baby. Read more on our blog about how one mom created a successful eczema skincare routine for her child.



Giving your newborn a bath

Baths are a great time to bond with your new baby and also take care of their skin. For the first few weeks after birth or until the umbilical cord falls off, pediatricians recommend gentle sponge baths. After that, you can start giving your baby one to three baths a week using lukewarm water and gentle, sulfate-free cleansers like Pipette Baby Shampoo + Wash that won’t dry out delicate skin. The best newborn bath products are free of perfumes, deodorant, or antibacterial formulas that can be harsh on sensitive infant skin.

Here are a couple of best practices to keep in mind when giving your baby a bath:

  1. When preparing a bath, fill the tub up with only two to three inches of lukewarm water.
  2. Use a soft cloth to thoroughly and gently wash all skin folds, behind both ears, and in between fingers and toes, which often end up in your baby’s mouth.
  3. Long baths should be avoided for your newborn, as soaking in water for a longer time will increase the chances of dry skin.
  4. After bathing, immediately wrap your baby in a towel for warmth.


Moisturizing your baby’s skin

Newborn babies often have dry, peeling skin and, on the whole, newborn skin peeling is normal. Full term babies, who have spent more time in the womb, tend to have less vernix on them at birth, meaning that their skin has had more exposure to amniotic fluid which leads to increased skin peeling.

So, when is it safe to put lotion on a newborn?  According to pediatricians it is better to avoid the use of moisturizing products for the first few weeks until your baby's skin has had time to mature naturally. After four weeks, if you notice your baby’s skin is dry after bathing, you can use an all-over daily baby lotion or baby oil, as well as baby balm or balm stick for extra-dry patches or sensitive spots. When applying moisturizers, make sure baby’s skin is patted dry before gently massaging the product into your baby’s entire body until it has fully absorbed into their skin.


Changing your newborn's diapers

There will be many diaper changes during the early newborn stage (about 10–12 per day!) and you may earn a couple of your own diaper nightmare stories along the way.  Here’s what you need to know about diapering basics to help keep your baby clean and their skin happy.

  1. To avoid diaper rashes, change your baby’s diapers as soon as you notice they’re wet. The amount of diapers you go through may seem staggering, but staying on top of these diaper swaps will make a big difference for your baby’s developing skin.
  2. When changing a dirty diaper, use wipes that are fragrance free, water-based, and free of suspect chemicals; they’re the least likely to cause adverse skin reactions.
  3. If you notice any chafing on your baby’s leg creases or backside, make sure the diapers that you’re using aren’t too snug. Babies grow quickly, and can graduate from one size of diaper to the next at a surprisingly rapid pace.
  4. Once your baby’s bottom is clean, dab on a cream like Pipette Baby Cream to PowderBaby Balm, or Diaper Rash Cream. We recommend using Cream to Powder on areas that have little folds, creases, and baby rolls; it helps safely absorb excess moisture to minimize chafing. Our Baby Balm is perfect for delicate areas in the diaper area, deeply nourishing skin and helping to support the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Diaper Rash Cream is key for both treating and preventing the red, irritated skin of diaper rash.
  5. After cleaning and moisturizing, it can be helpful to wait a minute and let everything air out before putting on another diaper. Too much moisture in the diaper area can lead to irritation or a diaper rash.


Diaper rash 101 for newborns

Are you wondering what diaper rash looks like? Check your baby’s diaper area for red, irritated bumps or patches; in severe cases, it can progress to open, oozing sores. If you’re noticing frequent diaper rashes, here are several time-tested baby skincare tips that might help:

  1. Frequently check your baby’s diaper and change it at the first sign of wetness.
  2. Generously apply diaper rash cream after every diaper change to help protect your baby’s sensitive skin. Pipette Diaper Rash Cream is made with calming, plant-derived bisabolol and soothing 14% non-nano zinc oxide to create an effective barrier to protect against diaper rash. (As an added bonus, it actually wipes off when you need it to.)
  3. At bedtime when baby’s diaper may be on a bit longer, apply an extra-generous dose of diaper rash cream to help during the night,
  4. Don’t forget to apply diaper rash cream when you’re on the go—stash one in your bag for when you’re changing diapers outside of the house.


Newborn skincare tips for outside the home

Sunny days

For the first six months, pediatricians recommend that babies keep out of the sun as much as possible. Hats, UV protective clothing, and stroller sun shades are key, and make sure babies are dressed in light, loose-fitting layers so you have more control over their body temperature. If your baby becomes too warm, they run the risk of getting uncomfortable skin rashes due to their underdeveloped sweat glands.

After babies pass the six month mark, it’s critical that you apply a mineral sunscreen for UV protection whenever you head outside. Use a mineral sunscreen instead of a chemical sunscreen to avoid potential skin irritation; Pipette Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 is made with non-nano, reef-friendly zinc oxide to protect from the sun’s harmful rays, as well as plant-derived moisturizing ingredients to calm babies’ delicate skin.

Cold weather

If you’re taking your baby out during the colder months, make sure to fully cover all sensitive skin like their head, ears, and hands. Not only will the extra layers keep your baby warm, but they will also help prevent the cold air from drying out their skin. Keeping an extra-moisturizing balm stick handy can help with chapped cheeks or lips.

Diaper bag essentials

Pack your diaper bag ahead of time with travel-ready products so that you’re able to have an easy diaper change even on the road. The first item you’ll need is a portable changing pad. A changing pad protects both the baby and the surface on which they’re being changed (because as parents quickly discover, newborns can urinate anywhere, anytime). Also, keep an extra-nourishing balm on hand to help lock in moisture. When you’re on the go, a balm stick can be an extra-convenient format (especially when you need to keep your hands as clean as possible), and fits easily into a diaper bag or back pocket. For babies over six months, a travel-sized SPF can come in handy for reapplication or unexpectedly sunny outings. If your baby is rash-prone, a diaper cream is crucial—and of course, you can’t get a diaper change done without plentiful amounts of baby wipes.


Newborn skincare essentials

With an entire industry of newborn baby skincare products to choose from, it can be difficult to keep things straight. Here are some important considerations when you’re browsing the baby skincare aisles.

Safe & nourishing ingredients

Stick to products with clean, gentle ingredients like sugarcane-derived, moisturizing squalane, antioxidant-rich superfruit sterols, ceramide NP, colloidal oatmeal, plant-derived glycerin, bisabolol, non-nano zinc oxide, and more. We define clean products as being rigorously tested by third parties, free from skin-irritating ingredients, and ethically sourced.

No irritating ingredients

Pipette has a list of 2,000 potentially harmful ingredients that we never use in our products (for context, the US only bans 12 of these ingredients). Top ingredients to avoid for babies include sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil/petrolatum, polyethylene glycol (PEG), oxybenzone, synthetic fragrance, formaldehyde releasers, talc, and retinyl palmitate. Even if a product claims to be “natural,” it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe to use on your baby, or that its ingredients were ethically sourced.

Quality-tested formulas

Look for products that have been clinically tested by third parties for safety and efficacy. Important stamps of quality assurance to look for are EWG Verified™, National Eczema Association Accepted, Leaping Bunny Certified, PETA Cruelty Free and Vegan, dermatologist tested, pediatrician approved, and hypoallergenic.


Taking care of a new baby is a lot of work, and it’s natural to want what is best for them. Following these tips and using clean skincare products will help you take care of your baby’s sensitive skin with confidence during the fourth trimester and beyond. Adding intentional skincare practices into your baby’s daily routine will help their skin stay nourished, and also give you plenty of opportunities to bond with them every day.



The information provided by Pipette is intended solely for educational purposes. The information is not to be used for medical diagnostic purposes and is not intended to serve as a recommendation for treatment and/or management of any medical/surgical condition. Most of all, this information should not be used in place of a physician or other qualified health provider. If you believe you or your child have a medical condition, please contact your physician immediately.

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