Baby Skincare Tips to Prevent Dry Skin in Winter

When the mercury drops, many of us increase our moisturising routine to keep our skin smooth and supple. But sometimes we forget that our baby’s skin is even more prone to dryness and irritation than ours. Babies have thin, fragile skin that can lose moisture easily. Fortunately, there are lots of things we can do to protect our baby from dry skin in those chilly winter months.

How do babies get dry, irritated skin?

It’s really common for babies to get dry skin during winter. Dry skin is most likely to occur when there is less humidity in the air and when the weather is overly hot or cold. Then to warm them up on those cold days, we often turn on the heater or pop them in the bath. Unfortunately, both the heater and the bath can increase dryness and irritation in your bub’s sensitive skin.


Fabrics more common in winter, such as wool or polyester can also be a cause of dryness and irritation. The material either overheats the baby causing a rash or the prickly nature of the fabric itches their delicate skin.


Dry skin can also exacerbate eczema, a skin condition that can affect some babies. It’s pretty common in young kids with around 20% of children under two developing it at some point. [1] Eczema impairs the integrity of the skin layers and can have a genetic basis. It causes red and itchy flare-ups in various spots over the body. [2]

What are the symptoms of dry skin?

Dry skin in babies looks like flaky, rough patches on your bub’s skin. [3] Your baby can get dry skin anywhere although it’s most likely on the uncovered parts of their skin such as their hands and cheeks.


If their skin has had prolonged dryness, painful cracks can develop which can bleed and become infected. Persistent itchy, red skin is a sign that your baby may have eczema and you should have a chat with your GP.

How do you prevent dry skin in babies?

Like many things, prevention is better than a cure. Here are some things you can do right now to help prevent your bub getting dry skin this winter.


Change your bath routine

Most babies love splashing around in a bath but unfortunately, frequent bathing can be a cause of dryness. Babies don’t sweat as much as older children and adults so they may not even need a bath every day. When they do have a bath, make sure is the water is warm, not hot, and avoid using soap as this can dry out the skin even more. [4] A cleanser like Cetaphil Baby Moisturising Bath & Wash is a great alternative. It’s enriched with Aloe Vera and 1/3 moisturiser, so it cleans your baby without drying out their skin.


Moisturise your baby straight after the bath

When you get your baby out of the bath, pat their skin dry with a soft towel rather than rubbing it. Patting dry will ensure there is some moisture left from the bath on the skin.


This is a great time to give your baby a massage. There are lots of benefits of baby massage including improving circulation, aiding digestion and of course, increasing the connection between you and bub[5]. As an added advantage, if you use Cetaphil Baby Massage Oil, there’s Shea Butter and Vitamin E which gently moisturises your baby’s skin.


Add a cotton layer

When you’re getting your child dressed, add a cotton layer of clothing such as a singlet or a long sleeve shirt to help the skin breathe. It’s important to have cotton against their skin if they’re going to be wearing a layer of wool or polyester as sometimes these fabrics can be a little itchy on bare skin.


Moisturise their cheeks before you go out

Red cheeks are commonly the first place to experience dryness in winter as they’re usually exposed to the wind. When you rug up your bub, add a dab of moisturiser to their cheeks to act as a barrier before you go out. [6]

What are some good treatments for dry skin?

Sometimes no matter what you do to prevent it, your baby still gets dry skin in winter. So, what’s the safest way to treat it?


Baby moisturiser

Your first step is to increase moisturising your baby. A baby moisturiser like Cetaphil Baby Daily Lotion is hypoallergenic and can be used many times a day to reduce skin dryness. It blends Glycerin and Shea Butter to soothe dry skin and is gentle enough to use on newborns.


Other household changes

If your baby has persistent dry skin in winter, you might also want to think about making some changes at home. For example, if the heating in your home is particularly dry, consider a humidifier which adds moisture to the air. [7]


Also, look at the types of detergent you’re using on your baby’s clothes and sheets. Sometimes detergents with fragrances or fabric softeners aren’t appropriate to use on sensitive skin. [8] You could try detergents that are free from perfumes and dyes and see if that makes a difference to your baby’s skin.

When to talk to your GP about your baby’s dry skin?

In most cases, dry skin will be relieved with a bit of preparation and lots of moisturiser. If your baby has persistent dry skin or you suspect they might have eczema, have a chat to your GP.