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Baby Care FAQs

We know there’s a lot to figure out about your baby’s skin—and your own, too. Here, answers to your most pressing prenatal, postpartum, and baby skincare questions, from Mona Gohara, MD, dermatologist and Associate Clinical Professor at Yale School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology.

Cleansing

How often should I bathe my baby?

The doctor says: For newborn babies, daily sponge baths are more than enough. Start at the top with shampoo and scalp, then work your way down. In between sponge baths, make sure to clean face and neck folds (after meals), and diaper area (after diaper changes), as these spots are most prone to irritation. Once the umbilical stump has fallen off, a basin bath every few days will do the trick.

Pipette says: Bathtime is the perfect time to bond and play with your baby. Making it part of your nightly routine also helps your baby wind down for bedtime—a double win.

What’s the right water temperature for my baby’s bath?

The doctor says: Aim for bath water around 100 F (38 C). If you do not have a baby bath thermometer, touch the water to the inside of your arm. The sensation should be warm, not hot.

Can I use bubble bath, shampoo and body wash products on my baby?

The doctor says: In general, it is best to limit bubble baths, because they can be irritating to your baby’s skin. Gentle, non-soap cleansers are most often recommended by dermatologists for baby’s bath time.

 

Pipette says: Good news: Our Baby Shampoo & Wash is formulated entirely without harsh sulfates or surfactants that can irritate skin. Instead, it’s made with extra-gentle, sugar-derived glycolipid cleansers that are mild enough to use daily without stripping moisture from your baby’s skin.

How do I cleanse the remaining part of the umbilical cord?

The doctor says: Gently clean around the umbilical cord stump with a soft, cotton wash cloth. Do not scrub or use fragranced, harsh cleansers, as this can create irritation and inflammation to this sensitive area.

Moisturizing

Do babies have to have baby-specific products for their skin?

The doctor says: I like products that are specially formulated for this age. That being said, it’s most important to consider that any products you choose should be gentle and made with the right ingredients, whatever your age.

Pipette says: We go above and beyond with our safety guidelines, banning over 2000 potentially toxic or irritating ingredients from our baby products. (Our mom products, too!). Every formula is EWG Verified™, and we rigorously test each product with third parties for purity and efficacy so our entire line is as nontoxic and gentle as it can possibly be.

How often should I moisturize my baby?

The doctor says: The skin barrier is a protective layer tasked with keeping water locked in, and unwelcome irritants out. It is important to maintain skin barrier health by moisturizing daily. Adding hydration to our largest organ is one of the most paramount parts of a skin routine.

 

Pipette says: Every one of our formulas is designed to replenish the protective moisture barrier of babies’ skin. We use moisturizing superhero squalane, a sustainable, sugarcane-derived ingredient that babies’ skin already recognizes, along with other powerhouse hydrating ingredients like glycerin, ceramides, jojoba esters, vitamin E, and more. Our Baby Lotion gives babies’ skin an instant dose of long-lasting hydration, and our multipurpose, lightweight Baby Oil helps lock in additional moisture. Both can be used as part of a daily moisturizing routine.

What ingredients should I avoid?

The doctor says: It’s always best to avoid heavily fragranced moisturizers. Although the smell may be pleasing, the potential for irritation is high. Avoid harmful ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance and other toxic ingredients. 

 

Pipette says: Every baby product in our whole line is available in fragrance-free form. Because safety is our top priority, we’ve blacklisted over 2000 potentially toxic and skin-irritating ingredients from our formulas—absolutely no synthetic fragrances, parabens, phthalates, or irritating natural extracts. If an ingredient is even a little bit suspect, it’s out.

Diapering

How often should I change my baby’s diaper?

The doctor says: Changing your baby’s diaper every two to three hours is usually sufficient. If there are bigger bowel movements in between, getting your little one into a clean bottom can help to avoid discomfort and rashes.

How do I prevent diaper rash?

The doctor says: To avoid diaper rash, be attentive to diaper changes. Don’t let your baby stay soiled for any long periods of time. Use gentle, non-fragranced wipes to clean, and a barrier cream in liberal amounts to protect the skin. Pipette says: Our nontoxic, fragrance-free wipes are infused with moisturizing, sugarcane-derived squalane, so they’re as naturally gentle and non-irritating as they can possibly be. And our extra-nourishing Baby Balm is packed with skin-comforting, plant-derived ingredients like squalane, natural fatty acids, and pomegranate sterols that help and calm and care for the delicate diaper area

Should I use a diaper cream even if there is no diaper rash?

The doctor says: Using a barrier cream with diaper changes, even without a rash, helps to keep the skin barrier healthy and strong. Consider this a protective coating that shields your baby’s skin from any potential irritants.

 

Pipette says: Our multipurpose, extra-rich Baby Balm is perfect for the diaper area and any delicate spots in need of a little extra love: it’s formulated with nurturing ingredients like squalane, natural fatty acids, and pomegranate sterols that lock in moisture and help replenish the skin barrier.

How do I alleviate diaper rash and discomfort?

The doctor says: A hydrating, protective, thick barrier cream can often work well to soothe diaper rash. Be extremely gentle with the skin, avoiding scrubbing or fragranced wipes. In any circumstance, if there is a concern, you should seek the advice of a dermatologist.

 

Pipette says: Our fragrance-free Baby Wipes are the easiest, gentlest way to clean skin without irritation. And because our Baby Balm is formulated with so many super-moisturizing, plant-derived ingredients, it’s the ideal skin-comforter for the delicate diaper area. 

When should a diaper rash require a doctor’s visit?

The doctor says: If the diaper rash is persistent for a few days, painful, accompanied by a fever/systemic symptoms, or if there are any open, crusted areas, it is very important to see a dermatologist immediately.

Common Skin Conditions

I’ve noticed flaking on my baby’s scalp that won’t go away, even when I shampoo. What is it?

The doctor says: This could be cradle cap, or seborrhea, a common skin condition in babies. Don’t worry, this isn’t harmful to your child! Seborrhea happens when the oil (sebaceous) glands are a bit overactive, making a greasy, adherent scale. Cradle cap is often self-resolving, so patience is important. Most importantly, do not try to pick off the scales…ouch!

My baby has dry patches. How should I deal with them?

The doctor says: Use gentle, non-soap cleansers and moisturize within minutes of getting out of the bath. To dry, pat your baby with a soft towel—don’t rub the skin dry. Avoid fragranced products and choose ingredients that help to strengthen the skin barrier. Always seek medical attention by a dermatologist if you have any concerns regarding your baby’s skin.

 

Pipette says: We have a four-pronged approach to dryness: For bathtime, our fragrance-free Baby Shampoo & Wash is exceptionally gentle, so it cleans without stripping away much-needed moisture. While your baby’s skin is still damp after the bath, massage a small amount of our Baby Lotion all over for instant, long-lasting hydration, and follow with our silky Baby Oil to lock in additional moisture. Rub our extra-rich Baby Balm into stubbornly dry spots like elbows and knees.

Is cradle cap caused by poor hygiene?

The doctor says: No! Not at all! Cradle cap is the result of excessive sebum secretion (hyper seborrhea), due to the transfer of maternal hormones at the end of pregnancy, and a proliferation of Malassezia Furfur, a micro-organism present on the skin.

My baby has pimples on his/her face. What should I do?

The doctor says: Baby acne is very common, not worrisome, and thankfully, temporary! It can occur anywhere on the face, but we see it mostly on the cheeks, nose and forehead. Although the exact cause is unknown, it’s thought to result from maternal hormones passed along to baby in pregnancy. Usually no treatment is necessary, however, as with any skin concern, it’s important to see a dermatologist who can help to advise you.

My baby has tiny white bumps on his/her face. What are they?

The doctor says: These white bumps, or milia, are tiny cysts filled with the skin protein keratin. They are commonly seen on baby skin. Do not worry, milia will go away almost as quickly as they appeared. In the interim, avoid the urge to pop or squeeze.

How do I treat a rash around the mouth caused by excessive drooling?

The doctor says: This condition, called irritant dermatitis, is very common from food or binky drool. Barrier creams to help the skin should be top of mind in this instance, as they act as a protective layer between skin and irritant (drool).

 

Pipette says: Our extra-rich Baby Balm is formulated with gentle, skin-comforting ingredients like squalane, natural fatty acids, and pomegranate sterols that lock in moisture and help replenish the skin’s barrier.

I’m prone to eczema. Will my baby have a greater chance of developing eczema?

The doctor says: Although it’s not always the case, eczema does have a tendency to occur more frequently in those who have a family history of the skin condition, asthma, or seasonal allergies. If your baby has eczema, use gentle, non-soap cleansers, avoid irritants such as fragrances or wool clothing, and moisturize often so that skin barrier health is maintained. Seeing a dermatologist to guide your baby’s daily skin routine further should also be a priority.

 

Pipette says: From shampoo to lotion to wipes, our whole line is available entirely fragrance-free, and every product is formulated with hydrating plant-derived ingredients to replenish babies’ moisture barrier. We take a No Compromise™ approach to our safety guidelines, blacklisting over 2000 potentially irritating ingredients from our formulas so they’re incredibly gentle and effective for extra-delicate skin.

I think my baby has heat rash in the folds of his neck, arms, and thighs. How can I clear this up?

The doctor says: Keep the baby cool, especially on humid summer days. Stay in the shade and hang out in airy rooms. Avoid excessive clothing layers and dress the baby in light cotton.

When does a rash require a doctor’s visit?

The doctor says: See a dermatologist if the rash has any of the following traits: rapid onset, accompanied by a fever/ systemic symptom, is persistent, or characterized by blisters, dusky skin, or open crusted areas. In general, it’s best to have any new eruption evaluated.

Pregnancy and Postpartum

What specific ingredients should I avoid on my skin?

The doctor says: Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and retinols are three ingredients which are available over the counter, but are best avoided during pregnancy—and in the case of retinol, the post-partum period as well. Also avoid harmful ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance and other toxic ingredients. I recommend sharing your skin routine with an OB/Gyn, dermatologist, or pediatrician, so that they can reinforce do’s and don’ts.

 

Pipette says: We take safety to an entirely new level: we blacklist over 2000 potentially toxic ingredients from our formulas for expecting moms, and our products are EWG Verified™. You’ll never find any of the above ingredients in our products—if it’s suspect, it’s out.

Sometimes my skin feels tight and even itchy. Is this normal?

The doctor says: The tight feeling is from the extending or stretching of the skin. Keep skin supple with clean, hydrating formulations, wear loose-fitting clothing, and avoid hot showers or baths which can dry out skin and cause it to have reduced elasticity. However, be sure to mention your itchy symptoms to your OB/Gyn or dermatologist to ensure it’s not something more serious.

 

Pipette says: If you’re plagued with skin tightness or itchiness as your belly grows and stretches, our lightweight, fast-absorbing Belly Oil is designed with skin-comforters like calendula, winter cherry extract, vitamin E, and squalane to calm and moisturize. Massage it into skin any time skin feels tight, or apply after Belly Butter for an additional level of hydration and support.

Will pregnancy change my face?

The doctor says: Changes can happen all over our body in pregnancy. Hormonal influences, and the physiologic stress and stretch of pregnancy all play a part!

How do I prevent dark spots from appearing on my face?

The doctor says: Sunscreen, sunscreen and more sunscreen! A broad-spectrum SPF30 or higher is key in preventing hyperpigmentation. Remember that ultraviolet light is not the only culprit! Even light bulbs can contribute to discoloration. Also, seek shade, wear a broad-brimmed hat, and whenever possible avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm. Vitamin C serum and other antioxidants are good protectors as well.

Will the dark spots on my face go away when the baby is born?

The doctor says: Sometimes hyperpigmentation will fade, and other times it persists. In the case of the latter, there are certainly effective treatments that a dermatologist can recommend. Most importantly, make sure to protect yourself from ultraviolet and visible light by wearing a mineral, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher.

How do I prevent stretch marks? Are there skincare products to help prevent or repair them?

The doctor says: The million-dollar question! The tendency to get stretch marks, also called striae, is genetic. We’re all different—some people get stretch marks, others do not. Look for safety-tested, hypoallergenic products that will promote suppleness and elasticity as your skin extends. Apply twice a day on all vulnerable areas that feel stretched: Belly, bust, thighs and buttocks. After your childbearing years, your dermatologist may recommend retinols or lasers to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. But these medical procedures should never be performed when pregnant or even when considering pregnancy.

 

Pipette says: Our rich, nourishing Belly Butter is completely clean and nontoxic, and formulated with a unique complex of peptides, shea butter, ceramides, and sugarcane-derived squalane to help minimize and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. For an additional level of hydration and support, massage our lightweight, fast-absorbing Belly Oil into skin after Belly Butter (particularly if your skin feels tight or itchy).

Are there products to help with cellulite?

The doctor says: No, the cause of cellulite is complex process which creams, and oils cannot address. Cellulite occurs when fibrous bands, pull to tether the skin to deeper layers (similar to a decorative button which creates a minor pucker on a sofa cushion). Cellulite can happen in women with many different body types.

Can I use skincare products while I am breastfeeding?

The doctor says: Sure! Just make certain that the ingredients are safe! Check with your OB/Gyn, dermatologist or pediatrician if there is any question.

 

Pipette says: Your skin still needs a little extra love, even after you’ve had your baby! Our clean, gentle products for expecting moms transition seamlessly into post-partum life, and help to safely replenish, moisturize, and nurture post-partum skin.

Can I use my baby’s bath and skincare products on myself?

The doctor says: Most certainly! I often recommend this to new moms!

 

Pipette says: This is one case where you have total permission to steal from a baby! Every product in our clean baby care line is extra-nourishing, extra-safe, and made with the highest quality plant-derived ingredients to replenish skin—whether that’s baby’s skin, or your own.

Dr Mona Gohara

Dr Mona Gohara

Mona Gohara, MD, is an Associate Clinical Professor at Yale School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, and a dermatologist in Danbury, CT.

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.