Skip to main content

Newborn skin

Your newborn baby’s skin is different to your own skin, and needs extra special care. Here you will learn why your baby’s skin is so important, how to take the best care of it, and also some common conditions to look out for.

About baby skin

Your newborn's skin is not just amazingly soft, it is also a unique and essential shield that offers protection from the outside world. It plays an important role in maintaining health, and in defending against irritants, toxins and infections. Skin also regulates your baby's internal temperature, and is a tool for exploring the world through touch.

Baby’s skin is different to adult skin and needs extra special care throughout the first years of life. Compared to an adult’s skin, a baby’s skin:

  • Has a greater tendency to dryness
  • Is more prone to allergies and irritation
  • Absorbs more water, but loses it faster

For these reasons, it’s important that mild and gentle products, developed especially for babies, are used when caring for your little one’s skin.

Caring for baby skin

Given how different baby skin is to adult skin, it’s important to use products, which have been specifically formulated for use on delicate baby skin.

We have been bringing our baby care expertise to moms across the world for over 125 years, with a product range trusted to provide mild and gentle care for delicate baby skin. We take safety very seriously, which is why each product undergoes rigorous testing for gentleness – as symbolised by the NO MORE TEARS® and CLINICALLY PROVEN MILDNESS® certification.

Read about common skincare conditions your baby may experience.

Ways to protect baby skin

You can also keep your baby's skin protected by dressing her in loose-fitting clothing, to prevent chafing. Protect your baby's skin from all direct sun exposure with a hat and other forms of shade. As your baby grows, her skin will adapt and grow with her. With your care and attention, you play an important role in keeping your infant, and your infant's skin, healthy.

And whether you're bathing your baby's skin or smoothing on a moisturiser, you're doing more than helping to keep her skin healthy-looking. With your gentle hand, you're also forming a special bond with your infant through the power of your touch.

Common conditions

There are several common skincare conditions your baby might experience, and in most cases they are completely harmless.

Please click the links below to read about some of the most common conditions, but always bear in mind that if you do have any worries or concerns, it’s best to speak to your doctor, midwife or clinic sister.

Cradle Cap

Of all the things you envisioned while preparing for your baby, you probably didn't imagine dandruff-like flakes covering her scalp. But your newborn may indeed have scaly patches on her scalp and eyebrows. It's called cradle cap or seborrheic dermatitis, and is very common in young infants. It usually begins in the first weeks of life and slowly disappears over the next several weeks or months. Most cases of cradle cap clear up by the time your baby is between 8 to 12 months old.

Although it may be tempting to do so, do not attempt to pick off the patches with your fingernails! One way to gently remove the symptoms of cradle cap is to soften it first by massaging a baby oil, such as JOHNSON'S® Baby Oil  into her hair and scalp. Leave the oil on for a few minutes to help to loosen the crusty patches. Then use a fine-toothed comb and clean your baby's scalp with a mild, gentle cleanser that will not sting her eyes. You can use a mild cleanser like JOHNSON'S® Baby TOP-TO-TOE® Wash or if your baby has a lot of hair, you may wish to use JOHNSON'S® Baby Shampoo. Add a little to a washcloth and use a gentle, circular motion to remove the flakes and oil from your baby's head. Although cradle cap can be unsightly at times, it is harmless. However, if you have any questions, or if cradle cap thickens, becomes red and irritated, or spreads to other areas of your baby's body (beyond her scalp or eyebrows), call your midwife/clinic sister or doctor.

Remember to be extra gentle when massaging or washing around the fontanels, or soft spots, on your baby's head.

Read more about cradle cap and its treatment here.

Nappy rash

Many babies experience nappy rash at some point. For information on nappy rash care and protection, visit our nappy care guide

Eczema and dry skin

Up to one in five babies is affected by eczema, so it’s a fairly common condition you might need to deal with. The key is to ensure you keep the skin moisturised properly, and follow professional advice to manage the condition. For information on eczema, visit our eczema and dry skin page.

Infant Acne

Infant acne occurs in approximately 20 percent of all babies. It generally resolves itself during the first few months. It may take the appearance of pimples, whiteheads or a minor rash. Small white pimples or spots called milia usually appear on the face, especially the nose and chin. They aren't itchy and won't bother your baby. They are just the result of immature sweat glands, and possibly hormones from your pregnancy, and will disappear without treatment.


You may also notice during the first few days that your newborn's skin peels slightly – especially on the palms of her hands, soles of her feet, and her ankles. This is perfectly normal, especially if your baby was born past her due date. After a few days the peeling will go away. Just remember to apply a moisturiser made for babies to help maintain her soft skin.

Use transparent background for content area?: