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Protect Your Baby’s Skin

Use the right stuff. For your little darling’s first year, especially during the first two to three months, use only products—including moisturizer, shampoo, body wash, lotion, and even laundry detergent—that are made for babies or are free of dyes, fragrance, phthalates, and parabens, all of which can cause irritation.

Go easy on baths. Given that babies don’t do much, daily bathing is not required. In fact, it can actually dry out their skin. “Bathe your infant two to four times a week, using warm—not hot—water and mild soap, and limit bath time to about five minutes,” recommends Bernard Cohen, M.D., director of pediatric dermatology at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Apply baby lotion immediately after; it better penetrates moist skin.

Keep the rays away. Because babies’ skin is on the thin side, they’re at higher risk for sunburn. Avoid exposing your tot to direct sunlight during his first six months. “I was a maniac with the sun protection,” says Jeannie Kim, a mother of one from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “My baby wore pants in July, hats, hats, hats, and we attached one of those big sun shades to the stroller.” Once your child is 6 months old, during warm-weather months, dress her in sun-protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and kiddie sunglasses, and apply baby-safe sunscreen.

Don’t stress about breakouts. Restless hormones during your baby’s first six weeks may trigger acne (although unlike you, she won’t be desperate for concealer). Some babies get eczema, an itchy red rash. Most of the time, these conditions clear up on their own, but talk to your pediatrician if you’re concerned. And, no worries, your baby will always be beautiful to you.

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