As the weather heats up, it’s important to take precautions to keep baby’s delicate skin protected from seasonal irritants and other summertime skin stressors. Babies naturally have skin that’s more sensitive than adults, so it’s important to take the appropriate measures to prevent and treat rashes, dry skin, eczema flare-ups, and other common skin ailments that may be exacerbated in the summer months. Elizabeth Mullans, M.D., Board-Certified Dermatologist at Uptown Dermatology shares her advice on how parents can avoid skin issues and alleviate symptoms, so that families can enjoy the summer worry-free.
“Baby’s sensitive skin is more susceptible to irritation from harsh elements, particularly during the summer,” says Dr. Mullans. “Because environmental triggers, such as increased humidity and exposure to air conditioners, can trigger flare-ups on baby’s skin, parents need to be extra cautious throughout the warmer months.”
Dr. Mullans recommends the following tips to protect baby’s skin in the summer:
Keep clothing clean + breathable. Cotton is the ideal fabric for breathability, helping to prevent moisture buildup that keeps your baby’s skin dry and free from irritation. I recommend dressing babies in loose, lightweight clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt and pants for added sun-protection, while avoiding synthetic fabrics, which can trigger rashes. When doing laundry, it is important to use a detergent specifically formulated for babies such as Arm & Hammer Baby Detergent, which is Pediatrician and Dermatologist-tested.
Cool down with frequent baths. The summer heat increases perspiration which can lead to a host of skin irritations. To prevent this, it is best to bathe babies twice a day in lukewarm water, focusing on the skin folds that are most susceptible to accumulating sweat. Throughout the day, you can also use a face cloth for 10–15-minute increments to prevent overheating.
Apply sunscreen regularly. Babies younger than six months old should be kept out of the sun, but even in the shade, it is important to use a baby sunscreen. I recommend using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF higher than 30 for optimum protection against UVA and UVB rays. Opt for a mineral sunscreen, as chemical sunscreens are more likely to irritate your baby’s skin and be sure to apply 10-15 minutes before heading outside.
Use a baby moisturizer. Excessive exposure to sun and air conditioning can leave baby’s skin dry and dehydrated. Parents can treat irritation by moisturizing frequently with fragrance- and dye-free ointments, creams, and lotions. It is always a good idea to check the ingredients of the products and monitor skin reactions to avoid irritants and triggers.
“Caring for your baby’s delicate skin throughout the summer months can seem overwhelming, but taking the appropriate precautionary measures, educating yourself on what works for their skin, and being mindful of triggers and irritation are all simple steps to alleviate common skin ailments,” adds Dr. Mullans.