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Why Is My Newborn Skin Peeling?

skin peeling

You had planned a themed photoshoot to take beautiful portraits of your newborn after the birth. But you suddenly notice that your baby’s soft, delicate skin has suddenly become rough and is peeling off. 

Worried and concerned, you start looking for answers about why is my newborn’s skin peeling. Don’t worry we have got answers for you. Rest assured, there is nothing wrong with your baby, and this skin peeling is quite normal.

Is Newborn Skin Peeling Normal?

You might wonder if this skin peeling is happening to only your baby or if others experience it too. Newborn skin peeling is completely common and is experienced by almost all babies. 

A newborn’s skin and appearance change a lot within the few weeks after the birth. Newborn peeling skin is one of those changes. In the first few weeks or days after the baby is born, they shed a layer of skin that was protecting them inside the womb. This shedding is the skin that you see peeling off.

Newborn skin peeling usually requires no treatment and resolves in a few weeks. But if the peeling persists for a longer period or gets worse, it is best to consult a pediatrician as it can be a symptom of common skin conditions like eczema.

Why Is My Newborn Skin Peeling Off?

When they are inside the womb, babies are surrounded by amniotic fluid, which can cause their skin to become dry. To protect the baby from it, a protective layer of skin is developed on the baby’s skin known as vernix caseosa.

Most of the vernix is removed once the baby is born. The removal of this vernix can cause newborn skin peeling. Babies who are born past the due date or 40 weeks are more likely to experience it. 

Most of this vernix is removed when the baby is cleaned by the nurse or is given the first bath. Some of it can be left behind, especially in the skin folds. This later on falls off and can also appear as skin peeling. 

Skin Conditions That Can Cause Baby Skin Peeling

Apart from natural skin peeling after birth, there are some common skin conditions that might be causing it, such as

Dry Skin

Dry skin is one of the most common causes of peeling and scaling skin in babies. Dry skin is caused when there is a lack of moisture in the skin. This can be caused by a number of reasons like weather conditions, dry air, and dehydration. Learn more about the causes of dry skin in our blog.

Baby’s skin is delicate and is more prone to dryness. And once their skin becomes dry, it has a deeper impact on their skin than it does on our own. 

Cradle Cap (Seborrheic Dermatitis)

Cradle cap is a common skin condition in babies in the first few weeks or months of their life. It may cause flaky, scaly skin that may appear as if it is peeling off. But the truth is this peeling skin that you notice is actually crusty flakes and scales.

Cradle cap, scientifically known as seborrheic dermatitis, is caused due to the overproduction of sebum on the skin that, when combined with Malassezia yeast, creates a byproduct that irritates the scalp and causes flaking and scaling.

Cradle cap in babies can appear on the eyebrows, behind the ears, in the armpits, and diaper area. But it is most common on the scalp.

Eczema

Eczema, also referred to as atopic dermatitis, is another skin condition that causes dry, flaky, peeling skin in newborns. It is more common in babies between the ages of 6 months to 3 years.

Baby eczema can appear anywhere on the body, but it is more common on the face, elbows, knees, wrists, and ears. Babies who have a family history of eczema, asthma, or allergies are more prone to developing it.

It mostly causes dry, red rashes on the skin, but in severe cases, the skin may crack, peel, and bleed. 

Ichthyosis

Ichthyosis is a genetic skin condition. This means it is not caused by something outside the body but by the genes. Babies with Ichthyosis are born with an extra shiny layer of skin called a collodion membrane.

This layer was supposed to shed off before the baby was born, but some babies are born with it. It takes a few weeks for this skin to peel off. Babies who are experiencing this condition are usually kept in the NICU under observation.

Psoriasis

Flaky, peeling patches of skin are a common symptom of psoriasis. It usually appears as silvery-white flakes that resemble fish scales. Psoriasis is caused by an autoimmune disorder. 

The overactive immune system triggers the excess growth of skin cells.  As a result, new skin cells are produced at a much faster rate causing itchy scales on the skin. Psoriasis would be extremely rare in a newborn. It is found in older children. 

How To Get Rid Of Your Baby’s Dry, Peeling Skin?

A baby’s peeling skin is something that is out of your control. It is not painful or harmful to the baby’s health unless it is caused by another disease of the skin. Skin peeling can also lead to dry skin in babies. Here are a few things you can do to manage dry, peeling skin and prevent it from worsening.

  • Moisturize

Moisturizing is the key to soft, smooth skin. Babies have delicate skin that can be easily affected by environmental factors like dry air or sun. Which is why it’s important to keep the baby’s skin moisturized most of the time.  Babies less than 6 months old should not be exposed to the sun. 

  • Apply moisturizing cream at least twice a day.
  • Remember to moisturize your skin immediately after a bath.
  • If you suspect that the baby’s skin is becoming dry more often, then increase the use of moisturizer.
  • A moisturizer free from harsh chemicals like fragrances, dyes, and parabens is best for the baby’s skin.

If you are looking for a moisturizer for your baby, then try using Happy Cappy Moisturizing Cream it is infused with natural ingredients like licorice root and glycerin that hydrates the skin. This cream is fast absorbing and non-greasy, making it easy to incorporate into your baby’s daily skincare routine.

  • Bathtime Care

Bathtime care can help alleviate and prevent dry, peeling skin in babies. Bath your baby more than once daily is not advised. 

Excess bathing can strip away natural oil from the skin. Also, Try keeping the bathtime short, between 5 to 10 minutes. 

  • Avoid Hot Water

Either for bathing the baby or for just washing them, never use hot water. Hot water can irritate the baby’s soft skin and cause dryness. Instead, use lukewarm water. 

  • Keeping The Baby Hydrated

It is important to keep the baby hydrated, especially during the summer or hot weather. However peeling and flaking skin is usually not a result of dehydration.

Water should not be given to babies under the age of 6 months, they can be kept hydrated by providing enough breastmilk or formula.

  • Choosing The Right Products

Products that contain harsh ingredients can be harmful to the baby’s delicate skin. This is a reason to make sure never to use adult products on the baby’s skin. 

Use products that are specially formulated for baby’s sensitive skin.  And avoid using baby products that contain

  • Fragrances
  • Artificial dye
  • Parabens
  • Sulfate
  • Phthalates
  • Avoid Using Soaps

For washing or bathing the baby, avoid using soap instead, go for a mild cleanser. Soaps have the tendency to strip away oil from the skin and make it dry, flaky, and peeling. 

Use a cleanser that is infused with natural ingredients, as it will not only cleanse your baby’s skin but will make it soft and smooth.

  • Don’t Peel The Skin

It may look tempting to peel off the flaky, crusty skin. But never do it. The germs and bacteria on our hands and nails can easily penetrate into the baby’s skin as their skin is delicate and vulnerable.

These bacteria can cause infection and trigger common skin conditions like eczema and irritant contact dermatitis in babies.

  • The Fabric Matters

People with sensitive skin know the importance of choosing the right fabric for clothes, blankets, and bedding. The same is the case with babies. Their skin is also sensitive and harsh fabrics like synthetic ones can irritate their skin and cause skin peeling.

Use fabric like cotton that is lightweight, soft, and breathable. Make sure to dress your baby in loose-fitting clothes to avoid issues like heat rash and miliaria.

  • Use a Humidifier

Dry air inside the house can cause dry, peeling skin in older babies. To avoid it, use a humidifier inside the house or their room. It helps keep the air moist and prevents the skin from dehydrating.

  • Protection From Sun

Sun’s UV rays are much more harmful to newborns than it is to us. It can cause rashes on their skin. Try keeping the babies away from direct exposure to the sun in the first few months of their life. 

While going out in the sun, cover the baby’s skin as much as possible. For babies above the age of 6 months, you can use sunscreen to protect their skin.

When Will Infant Skin Peeling Stop?

Infant skin peeling usually happens within the first few days and weeks after they are born. The skin on hands, feet, soles, and ankles is more prone to this peeling. It usually resolves on its own in a week or two.

If the skin peeling persists beyond 4 weeks, then consult a doctor.  

Is Newborn’s Skin Peeling Painful?

Newborn skin peeling may look a little weird, and you might be concerned that it can be painful for your baby like it does when adults experience dry, flaky, peeling skin. 

The good news is that it is not at all painful for your baby. In fact, for any baby that is experiencing skin peeling, it is a natural phase of their life outside the womb. 

This skin peeling is actually beneficial for your baby because, after this, they develop a much stronger layer of skin that is suitable for the external environment.

When To Consult A Pediatrician?

If your baby is experiencing normal skin peeling, then you do not have to visit a doctor for that, as it will resolve on its own. But if you notice that the baby’s skin peeling is persistent beyond four weeks or your baby is experiencing any of the following symptoms along with peeling, then consult a pediatrician.

  • Fever
  • Redness
  • Skin swelling
  • Skin oozing
  • Any signs of infection

Managing Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) With Happy Cappy

skin peeling article

Dr.  Eddies’s Happy Cappy Two-Step Eczema Skincare Routine is a great option to soothe red, dry, itchy, irritated skin associated with eczema. It contains an eczema shampoo that helps to gently cleanse and moisturize your skin and protect its normal barrier function.

And an eczema cream to soothe and hydrate eczema-prone, sensitive skin. It is infused with Oatmeal extract, licorice root extract, aloe vera, provitamin B5, and hyaluronic acid that help draw moisture into the skin and soothe irritation caused by common skin conditions like eczema and dryness. 

The best thing about this bundle is that the products are dermatologist-tested and free of fragrance, dye, sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. For best results, apply the cream two or three times a day.

FAQs

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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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What to put on newborn peeling skin?

The best thing to put on newborn skin peeling is a moisturizer.

How often to bath the baby with peeling skin?

You can bathe your baby daily, if like they like it, but bathing them at least two to three times a week is advisable if they are experiencing peeling skin.

Does newborn skin peeling goes away on its own?

Newborn skin peeling usually resolves on its own within a few days or a week or two. But if it persists more than four weeks then it is best to consult the doctor as it might be caused due to some other skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or cradle cap and needs proper attention.

Why do post term babies experience peeling skin?

The more exposure a baby has to vernix the more chances they have of experiencing skin peeling. Because they are exposed to the moisturizing elements of the uterus for a longer period. It becomes harder for their skin to adjust in the new environment after birth.

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