Woman putting lotion of baby's skin

Baby skincare made simple

Babies have delicate skin, so it's important to look after it with care. You don't have to bath your little one every day – young babies don't get very dirty, apart from the obvious areas such as their face, neck, hands and bottom. This means 'topping and tailing' is fine, with a bath two or three times a week (but, if your baby enjoys it, a daily bath is a great way for you to bond).

Common skincare questions

It can be difficult to know which products and techniques to use on your baby's delicate skin so that he or she stays clean, fresh and happy. Check out our Q&As that help explain some baby skincare basics.

What should I use to bath my baby?

Wash your baby with water only for the first month, as using products can easily cause young skin to become dry or irritated. After that, look for paediatrician-approved, hypoallergenic cleansing products. Never leave a baby unattended in the bath.

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Newborn baby being bathed
Baby wrapped in towel

How should I dry my baby?

Make sure you have a clean, dry towel within arm's reach whenever you bath your baby. Pat your baby dry gently, avoiding vigorous rubbing that can cause dry skin problems. Babies lose heat faster than adults, so it's important you keep them warm after they've been in the tub. Hooded towels are good, to stop heat escaping through your little one's head after bath time.

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How can I ease my baby's nappy rash?

A sore bottom usually means you need to change your baby's nappy more often. Clean their bottom gently with cotton wool and warm water, then make sure it's completely dry. Leave the bare skin exposed to air for a bit if you can, then put on a clean nappy. Barrier creams can help prevent nappy rash. You can use a nappy cream to treat nappy rash – ask your public health nurse or doctor for advice.

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Close up of baby in nappy
Parent washing baby's hair in bath

Does washing irritate cradle cap?

Gentle washing with a mild, baby-friendly shampoo may actually help prevent a build-up of cradle cap. You can also try gently massaging baby oil into the scalp at night to help loosen crust so it can be brushed out in the morning. If cradle cap becomes inflamed or infected, see your GP.

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How can I help clear up sticky eyes?

Use cotton wool dipped in cooled, boiled water. Wipe from the inner corner of the eye to the outer corner, using a different piece of cotton wool for each eye, to avoid cross-contamination. If it doesn't clear up, or if your baby's eyes are sticky from birth, speak to your public health nurse, doctor or pharmacist.

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Close up of baby on blanket
Close up of baby's ear

What's the best way to keep little ears clean?

Cleaning inside your baby's ears can increase the risk of damage or infection, especially if you disturb the natural protective wax that's found there. So use a damp cloth outside, behind and around the ears, but never inside them.

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Skincare for baby

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