Why does the newborn dry skin of the face, hands, feet, and what to moisten

Last reviewed by: Aleksey Portnov , medical expert, on 25.06.2018

To make a compliment to a woman and emphasize her blooming look, they say: "You have skin like a baby!". Elastic, smooth, velvety, pink - this is what most often the skin of children. But they appear in the world is not so. Shrinking, cyanosis, dry skin in a newborn is a typical picture accompanying the appearance of a person. A rusty and dry skin on the palms, feet, tummy, breasts worries parents, they are wondering whether this is normal? In the first days of a child's life the sweat glands are not fully active and unable to cope with sufficient moisture, which leads to dry skin. And yet such problems are temporary and in a few days everything should come back to normal. If this does not happen - it is necessary to understand what is wrong.


Dry skin, including atopic dermatitis, is observed in half the population of our planet, including newborn children. And such an hereditary disease as ichthyosis affects 1 person per several tens of thousands of people.

Causes of the dry skin in a newborn

The skin of newborns is very tender and sensitive, so it immediately reacts to any unfavorable changes in the external environment and the condition of internal organs. The causes of dry skin in a newborn can be as follows:

  • dry air in the room where the child is;
  • use of substandard and inappropriate for age hygiene products: soaps, shampoos, creams;
  • excessive wrapping of the child;
  • Use of clothes and diapers from synthetic fabrics;
  • pathology of the intestine;
  • hereditary disease of ichthyosis;
  • atopic dermatitis;
  • a shortage of retinol and vitamin PP - the most important substance involved in the metabolic processes of the body.

Risk factors

The risk factors for the appearance of dry skin in a newborn include poor nutrition of the pregnant woman, early artificial feeding or feeding, the presence of chemistry near the location of a child or toys from chemical materials, metabolic disorders, cold and viral diseases, hereditary factor.


The human skin is the largest organ and it performs numerous functions: respiratory, metabolism, thermoregulation, protection from an aggressive environment. Its outer horny layer - the epidermis contains only 20% of the body's water. As soon as water evaporates for one reason or another, the lower layers of the skin, unlike the epidermis, consist of living cells, begin to give up their own, which leads to disturbances in metabolic processes, the penetration of various infections, and the appearance of pathological conditions. The child in the womb 9 months immersed in amniotic fluid, and therefore was in 100% moisture. With the cutting of the umbilical cord, the whole system of vital activity is fundamentally restructured. Dry and a third less moist external environment, inability to thermoregulation - a real stress for the skin of a little man. But gradually there is an adaptation to new conditions of habitation, all processes come to norm.

Symptoms of the dry skin in a newborn

In the first month of the baby's life, dry skin is quite normal. But what are the symptoms of dry skin in a newborn? The first signs are peeling of the palms skin, stop, dry tummy skin. Parents should try to create a proper microclimate in a room where a small one lives, to observe all the rules of caring for him.

Very dry skin in a newborn

It can be a response to too hot a room or excessive wrapping of a child. Despite the poor thermoregulation, low humidity and high air temperature will only cause dryness of the skin and its peeling in the newborn. During swaddling, it is necessary to make air baths for at least two minutes, every day to bathe in warm water, without adding manganese, since it strongly dries out the skin, use a humidifier, do not turn on the air conditioner. If this is all right, and the newborn still has dry skin and flakes off - it is necessary to check the clothes and diapers in which the baby is wrapped. It is possible that they are made of synthetic materials, or the seams rub the tender body of the baby (in the children's clothes the seams on the front side). It is possible that the detergents are not suitable, they should be special, not containing chemical components. Pampers should be changed every 4 hours and immediately after defecation. Having removed it, it is recommended to wash or wipe the child with wet cotton pads, and allow a few minutes to take a bath in air. Also it is necessary to take special cosmetic means for moisturizing.

Dry skin on the face of the newborn

Most often, a reaction to the wrong diet of a nursing mother or an improper mixture for babies. We need to analyze what could cause such a reaction and exclude the product from the menu. If the newborn and the forehead have dry skin - it is possible that some kind of child's soap or other detergent is used. These funds should not contain allergenic fragrances in their composition and not every day they need to use, except to wash the inguinal area. It is enough to apply once a week for washing your head, twice for the body. The face of the baby requires special care: a cotton disc dipped in boiled water, rubs the eyes first, the cheeks, then the nose and lips, complete with the chin. Change the disc, repeat the procedure. The hair cover of the head before bathing is smeared with vaseline or vegetable oil because of natural formation in the parietal part of the scaly crusts. In water they soak and easily wash off.

The newborn has dry skin on his legs

In a newborn in the first days of life, dry skin on the legs is a consequence of intrauterine lubrication, which exists for better passage of the birth canal. Within a few days it is absorbed, helping to pass the adaptation period. Dryness and flaking in the anus folds are possible with diaper rash. To avoid them, it is necessary to adhere to the rules of hygiene: to bathe, wipe all the wrinkles with wet wipes, apply cream and sprinkle with powder. It is best to buy baby care products in pharmacies in order to avoid fakes.

Complications and consequences

Dry skin is not a harmless symptom, but a problem that can lead to itching, pain, and cracks in the skin. Consequences and complications are not only permanent unpleasant feelings for the baby due to which it does not sleep well, it behaves badly, but also getting pathogenic microorganisms into the damaged skin: bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Without taking appropriate measures, childhood eczema, psoriasis may appear.

Diagnostics of the dry skin in a newborn

The skin of a person, including an infant, is an indicator of his health. Therefore, the diagnosis of dry skin in a newborn is the need to determine the presence of congenital pathologies, the possibility of exposure to an allergen and its detection by means of analyzes and other methods of research. As a rule, they perform a general analysis of blood and urine, analysis of feces for the Ko-program, if necessary scrapings of the skin for histological examination.

Differential diagnosis

Differential diagnosis is designed to give an answer, whether disease, wrong care, nutrition of the mother, feeding the child gives the dryness of the skin, if such a symptom does not pass after a month of life of the baby. Differentiation of pathology occurs between atopic dermatitis, ichthyosis, metabolic disorders, intestinal diseases, etc.

Who to contact?

Treatment of the dry skin in a newborn

Treatment of dry skin in a newborn depends on the causes that caused this phenomenon. First of all, it is necessary to organize the proper care for the child. Always a daily bath. What to bathe a newborn with dry skin? The baby should have his own bath, thoroughly washed with soda and sponge before each bath. Water is used warm - 34-37 C and gradually decreases by a degree with each procedure up to 30-32 0. A solution of potassium permanganate should not be used; it will further dry the skin. You can apply a weak infusion of anti-inflammatory and antiseptic herbs. Children's hygiene products - soap, shampoo should not be used every day, 1-2 times a week is enough. After their use, it is necessary to wash the child clean water from under the shower or from a jug. An individual towel for wiping should be made of natural fabrics, and movements are blotting. Than to smear a dry skin of the newborn? For this, there are special means for skin care for babies. They also need to handle dry places, and especially carefully wrinkles.

What to do with dry skin of a newborn, if all these measures do not help and there are new places with peeling of the epidermis? Be sure to contact the pediatrician and find out the reason. The diagnosis of atopic dermatitis requires the use of anti-inflammatory, antihistamines, antibiotics, antioxidants.

Another unpleasant disease of ichthyosis is a genetic one and consists in violation of the process of keratinization of the skin. Unfortunately, no method for combating it has yet been found. The reason lies in the gene mutations, and the methods of influence on these processes are not yet open, then all the therapy is reduced to constant moisturizing and nourishing the skin.


The antiallergic drugs used in pediatrics with dry skin and its peeling include diazolin, tavegil, suprastin.

Suprastinum - prescribe to children from monthly age. It is available in tablets and injectable liquids. The main active substance of the drug is chloropyramine hydrochloride. The dose for small children up to a year is 5 mg or 0.25 ml with the calculation that a day can give no more than 2 mg per kilogram of the child's weight. Adverse reactions that may follow after taking the drug are increased excitability, prolonged wakefulness of the baby. In this case, the drug is canceled.

Soothing means for dermatitis apply such: persen, novopassit, Leonurus, valerian. Only a pediatrician can determine the expediency of using the drug and its dose.

Motherwort - there are 4 herbal medicinal forms: tablets, powders, alcoholic and aqueous infusions, but the latter is suitable for the newborn. This plant contains essential oils, tannins, organic acids, vitamins A and C. Thanks to this agent, the work of the nervous system and internal organs improves. The motherwort is contraindicated for allergies to it.

In case of abnormalities in the work of the gastrointestinal tract, babies are prescribed a plattex for newborns.

Plantex - a preparation in granules, consisting of natural components: fennel, essential oil of the same plant, auxiliary substances: lactose, dextrose. Apply, starting with the child's two-week age, immediately after a meal or in the intervals between feedings. To prepare a solution, one packet of granules should be poured into 100ml of warm boiled water and carefully unbuttoned until the granules are completely dissolved. In each procedure, make a fresh solution, do not cook for future use. You can give from a bottle or a spoon. If this makes it difficult to take a nursing mother, with her milk, the product will get to the child. Contraindications to the drug is intolerance to the components and insufficiency of the lactose enzyme. Side effects include allergies.

Irreplaceable with dry skin care products. Some of them are panthenol, beponen, dermopantenom.

Panthenol - there are various forms of this drug: cream, ointment, milk, aerosols with aloe vera, vitamin complex, menthol, etc. This drug is not toxic, does not have a carcinogenic property, therefore it is indicated for use from birth. After bathing or washing, the product is applied to the peeling areas, especially carefully folded wrinkles. Contraindicated in hypersensitivity to components, t. Allergy is possible.


Since one of the causes of dry skin in newborns is the lack of vitamin A and PP, then these vitamins are prescribed for its elimination. Vitamin E, fish oil, can also be solved. It is necessary to control the vitamin D content in the body, its overabundance reduces the calcium content in the body, which can cause allergies. External means for the care of the baby's calf, including vitamins, will also improve the skin condition, if there is no more complicated problem behind this.

Physiotherapeutic treatment

Physiotherapeutic treatment is effective in treating such serious diseases as atopic dermatitis, ichthyosis. It includes various methods of influencing the epidermis: ultrathin, oxygen, ozone, ultrasound, magnet, electric current, etc. In addition to the positive effects of such procedures on the affected areas, there are contraindications, which the doctor must take into account when appointing.

Alternative treatment

Alternative treatment of dry skin offers the use of trays with anti-inflammatory, antiseptic herbs, lotions, powder, prepared according to alternative recipes. Here are a few of them:

  • grate large potatoes on a small grater, squeeze a little, wrap this mass in gauze and attach it to the affected area, hold it for a while;
  • honey and Kalanchoe juice mixed in equal parts, insist a week in the refrigerator, lubricate the location of the peeling;
  • To process the inflamed sites a solution of vinegar and water in a proportion 1:10;
  • Combine geranium oil with refined sunflower oil, lubricate dry areas.

Herbal Treatment

Treatment with herbs for dry skin in newborns involves first of all the preparation of infusions for bathing. To do this, it is useful chamomile, celandine, calendula, thyme, lemon balm, mint, sage, lavender. The sequence, although known for its antiseptic properties, but dries the skin, so its use should be treated with caution, watching the reaction. A good healing effect in the pollen of lycopodium, it is used as a powder.


Homeopathy in pediatrics is used quite often, but if it does not hurt so small a child should decide the doctor.

As sedatives are used: "Caprice", "Nota", "Zaychonok", "Edas", "Baby Sed", "Valerianahel", "Nervoghel", "Shalun".

"Hare" - fruit syrup, which uses fruits of barberry, caraway, mint, lemon balm, motherwort, hawthorn, chamomile, valerian root, vitamins A and B6. The dosage is determined by the homeopath, but the general scheme of the intake is that the drug dissolves in water (on average it is a teaspoonful) given to the baby during feeding. Contraindicated if hypersensitivity to any of the components. Allergy is possible as a side effect.

With reddening of the epidermis, red spots apply aconite, pulsatilla, lycopodium. Alumina 6, 12 (dilutions) is prescribed for skin peeling, cracking, itching; Sulfur 6 - with rashes of an allergic nature; if the cause of dry skin and peeling - a violation of the digestive tract organs use iris 3, 6; dry crusts for dermatitis are treated with arsenicum, calcarrian carbonate; scaling of scales - arsenicum, procedure, calcara.

Here are some more homeopathic medicines that can be purchased in pharmacies and used for the treatment of children:

  • spenglersan koloid K - a spray for the skin, a clear liquid with a specific smell. Infants up to one year are recommended one spraying three times a day. No contraindications or side effects found;
  • traumeel C - ointment, has anti-inflammatory, protiekssudativnym action. You can apply to children from birth. Apply a thin layer on the inflamed area 2-3 times a day for 2 weeks. Possible additional rashes with hypersensitivity to the components of the drug;
  • Nocta is a soothing drug, for small children it is produced in drops. Stabilizes the autonomic nervous system. The dose is 1 drop per tablespoon of water or milk, used three times a day between feedings. Side effects are possible in the form of allergic manifestations;
  • irikar - cream, used for itching of skin of various origin, eczema. Before use, children under one year of age should consult a doctor. It is applied to problem areas of the skin with a light ball three times a day. There are cases of a hypersensitivity reaction to the use of the drug.


Surgical treatment for dry skin is resorted to if there is infection of the skin with pronounced signs of intoxication: high temperature, the appearance of deep abscesses or carbuncles. Other conditions do not require surgical intervention.


Preventative measures to avoid dry skin include: observance of a favorable microclimate in the room where the newborn is. For this, the room temperature should not be above 20 ° C, and the humidity should be at least 50%. It is also necessary to ventilate it periodically. Daily bathing in warm comfortable water with the addition of medicinal herbs, the use of certified children's cosmetics, natural clothes, feeding mother's milk with dieting will make it possible to avoid trouble with the skin.


The prognosis of dry skin in newborns, not complicated by genetic diseases, is favorable, provided that the rules of caring for it are complied with. Atopic dermatitis is also cured after long-term comprehensive treatment. But ichthyosis does not lend itself to complete cure, and therapy is only aimed at maintaining a condition that eventually becomes complicated by systemic pathologies. Detection of a child's disease in the womb gives the doctor every reason to offer an abortion.

It is important to know!

Elastoza perforating serpiginating (syn: keratosis follicular serpiginating Lutz, elastom intrapapillary perforating verruxiform Michera) - hereditary disease of connective tissue of unknown etiology Read more..

Found an error? Select it and press Ctrl + Enter.
You are reporting a typo in the following text:
Simply click the "Send typo report" button to complete the report. You can also include a comment.