Babies have thin, sensitive skin that is prone to dryness, especially during hot or dry weather or when bathed too frequently. Severely dry skin can make your baby uncomfortable and may itch or crack, potentially leading to fussiness, scratching and skin infection. Special soaps and moisturizing lotions are available to treat severely dry skin in babies, but professional attention is necessary if home treatment fails to improve symptoms, if your baby appears dehydrated or if skin cracks or cuts develop.
Bathe your baby less frequently and avoid using hot water, soap or shampoo unless absolutely necessary. Hot water and soap remove the natural oil from your baby's skin that functions to hold moisture in and keep the skin hydrated. Bathing twice each week with lukewarm water or a mild, moisturizing baby soap is sufficient for most infants, according to Kiwi Pediatrics. Do not add bubbles to bath water.
Apply a daily moisturizing ointment to your baby's dry skin. AskDrSears.com recommends applying a cream or lotion to your baby's entire body two to four times daily. Use a moisturizer within three minutes of bathing your baby to lock moisture into his skin.
Change your laundry detergent to a brand made specifically for babies with sensitive skin. Harsh laundry detergents can be irritating and drying. Children's Hospital Boston also suggests running your baby's laundry through an extra rinse cycle to remove detergent residue.
Dress your baby in natural fabrics, such as cotton, and avoid abrasive or scratchy materials. This also applies to your baby's sheets and blankets. Natural fabrics are less irritating to the skin and encourage air circulation.
Place a humidifier inside your baby's room during dry, winter months to restore environmental humidity and help with severely dry skin. Clean the humidifier daily to prevent mold growth.