Ask an Expert: A Baby Skincare Q + A with Dr. Joyce Teng

The pediatric dermatologist and mom of three shares her expertise.

by Coterie Team

Babies are getting acquainted with the world around them, and their skin is too. It needs a gentle introduction! With that in mind, we talked to pediatric dermatologist (and mom of three) Dr. Joyce Teng about caring for your baby’s skin and why the right diaper does matter.

Q. What are the baby skincare basics?

A. Babies, especially infants, may not need to be bathed daily. When you do bathe them, use lukewarm water with a fragrance-free, gentle cleanser, followed by oil-based moisturizer applied before the diaper is placed.

Q. What should I look for when choosing diapers?

A. Diapers that hold moisture well and absorb quickly will reduce skin irritation. Because of the close skin contact, pick a diaper with fewer chemicals and without fragrance to help reduce the risk of diaper rash.

Fragrance, dye, adhesives, and preservatives like formaldehyde are a few ingredients in diapers and baby products that can contribute to skin barrier disruption. When choosing wipes, look for ones that are free of alcohol, fragrance, and essential oils.

Q. What exactly causes diaper rash?

A. It’s very common! About half of all babies develop diaper rash at some point during the first year or two. The diaper area may be damp and warm—wetness, as well as enzymes in stool, encourages growth of bacteria and yeast, increasing the risk of skin irritation and barrier disruption that can result in diaper rash.

Q. Any other ways to help prevent diaper rash?

A. Keep the diaper area as dry as possible and change diapers as soon as they’re soiled. Washing each time your baby urinates can be irritating, so just dry gently. However, it is important to cleanse as soon as possible after each bowel movement.