Caring for a baby can be intimidating. They have delicate skin, hair and nails. Caring for a Black child’s skin and hair can be even more challenging because they tend to have sensitive skin that is prone to dryness and dark spots and hair that is kinky and can tangle easily. Luckily, according to an expert from the American Academy of Dermatology, there are six simple steps that can make it easier to care for your child’s skin, hair and nails.
“With their tiny hands and feet, babies can seem so fragile and vulnerable,” dermatologist Dr. Kachiu Lee says. “However, babies are more resilient than you might think, and parents can maintain good hygiene for their baby by following a few general guidelines.”
Keep your baby clean with gentle bathing two to three times a week. Do sponge baths until your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off and heals. Then, you can switch to traditional baths.
Use lukewarm water and mild, fragrance-free baby soap and shampoo. Apply soap only to dirty areas, such as creases in the neck and diaper area, and rinse off thoroughly after cleaning.
Be careful to not let your child spend too much time in a soapy tub as it can dry out their skin.
Black skin tends to be drier. Excessively dry skin can become itchy and uncomfortable. Regular use of a gentle moisturizer can soothe and protect dry skin. Dry flakes on darker skin may give an “ashy” appearance and can be commonly found on the elbows, knees, legs, feet, and back.
BabyCenter recommends the following for easing dryness with moisturizer:
- Look for a moisturizer that’s free of harsh or toxic ingredients such as formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.
- Look for products that are free of alcohol and perfume, which can dry and irritate the skin. Use thicker creams, rather than thin lotions, to treat ashy skin.
- Moisturizers with ceramides are especially helpful in hydrating the skin.
- Apply the moisturizer within minutes of taking your baby out of the tub to seal in the moisture that’s still in his or her skin from the bath.
- If your baby’s skin becomes excessively dry and store-bought moisturizer isn’t helping, consult a doctor, who may recommend a medicated lotion, cream, or ointment.
Change dirty diapers as soon as possible, even if they are just wet, to prevent diaper rash. If a diaper rash develops, be gentle when cleaning the diaper area and apply a zinc oxide diaper cream.
Additionally, to avoid a diaper rash, DESITIN® recommends the following: