How to Wash a Baby's Face
Considering a baby's skin is five times thinner than an adult’s, it's important to be extra careful when doing the washing and cleaning routine and remember not to overdo it.
In the earliest months of their lives babies don't get very dirty and bathing them 2-3 times a week, and washing top and tail in between is just enough to keep them clean. Giving them full baths every day is counter-productive and is very likely to dry the already sensitive baby's skin.
However, certain parts of the baby's body need to be cleaned daily - areas such as the face, neck, and hands as the most important ones - and this is where the top and tail method comes in as pretty handy.
The baby's face is especially important because it's always exposed and can easily get irritated and inflamed for one reason or another. That's why it requires special care and attention every day of the baby's life until the skin becomes more resistant and thicker.
Now we'll cover the essentials on what you’ll need to know when setting off to the daily routine of washing your baby's face. We’ll try to answer some of the basic questions that you might be grappling with when it comes to your baby’s hygiene.
What Should You Use for Your Baby's Face?
In the earliest months of your baby’s life, their immune system is still in development, so it’s best to use the mildest cleansers possible, as well as small bits of lotion. Search for skin care products that are dye-free and fragrance-free, as well as phthalate- and paraben-free, because they’re considered to be harmful to infants. Products that are made from natural ingredients are always a better option, but you have to be careful because some of them contain ingredients that might cause an allergic reaction or allergic sensitivity in your baby (this is more common if you or your partner have allergies or asthma).
Can I Wash Baby’s Face with Soap?
Using soap on a baby’s face is not recommended, especially not on newborns. One of the main reasons for this is because the soap can actually act as an irritant to the baby’s skin, especially the delicate skin on the face. Another reason is that the skin of a newborn is slightly acidic, and this a good thing because it helps prevent infections – but the problem with soap, is that it can lower the acidity of the newborn’s skin and make it drier.
But if you need to use soap-like substances because of baby-acne and accumulation of dead skin cells, as well as saliva and regurgitated milk, what you can use as an alternative is a ph-neutral substitute for soap, such as a gentle skin cleanser. Applying this on the baby’s face and then going over the areas with a soft washcloth will help remove dead skin and dirt without doing any harm to the baby’s skin.
Can I Use Baby Wipes on my Baby’s Face?
Some babies don’t have a problem with baby wipes being applied on their faces, but it’s actually not a good idea to use them very frequently, because, like soap, they can also dry out a baby’s skin and cause an acne breakout and other types of irritation.
How to Wash Your Baby’s Face
When starting to wash your baby’s face, first make sure to have a clean washcloth or cotton wool and then wet them in warm water. Pay attention to the temperature of the water and see that it is not too hot – it’s always a good idea to try it out on your own skin first.
- Start with the eyes – gently wipe the eyes from the inside corner (nearer to the baby’s nose) to the outside one.
- Continue towards the nose – clean the areas around the nostrils and see if there’s any accumulated mucus in the nostrils that might obstruct the baby’s breathing – if there is, you can clean it with a cotton swab by gently going inside the nostrils, but not too far inside! (also, make sure to use a clean cotton swab for each nostril).
- Cleaning the mouth – if the baby has dried matter around their mouth (or eyes or nose for that matter), first tap out the spots with the damp washcloth to soften them and then wipe them clean.
- Ears – clean the back of the ears and the outer portions (the shell of the ears) with a washcloth or cotton wool, but never put a cotton swab or anything similar in your baby’s ear to clean the earwax – otherwise, you run the risk of pushing the earwax even further into the ear or damaging the eardrum itself. Washing the external part of the ear will do enough to remove the earwax.
- Washing the neck area – gently lift your baby’s chin and go over the neck area. The neck can get dirty quite often especially when babies drool, eat and spit, causing irritation to the folds of their skin if not washed frequently.
How do You Clean a Baby’s Face With Eczema?
Eczema in babies is not that uncommon and it usually appears in the first five years – but most frequently in the first 4-6 months - of a baby’s life.
Causes can be numerous, usually linked to environmental factors (like pollution for example), food allergies, as well as certain chemicals and materials. Babies with eczema experience periods of relative calm and flair-ups that can become rather serious when the affected area comes into contact with irritants such as sweat, saliva, soaps, breast milk, and infant formula
. In babies, eczema usually appears on their scalp and forehead, as well as the cheeks and the neck. That’s why it’s important to properly clean these areas so you can prevent further flair-ups. Eczema in babies tends to go away on its own as they get older.
A face-cleaning routine for babies with eczema would include the following:
- Getting a gentle face cleanser that’s fragrance-free – apply it to the baby’s cheeks along with water and then gently pat the cheeks with a dry and soft towel.
- After this, it’s also important to moisturize and make an additional protective barrier. While the cheeks are still damp, apply a layer of emollient to ensure they’re moisturized enough, as well as to prevent irritation from drool, sweat or food.
- Keep your baby’s nails short and without any rough edges so you can minimize wounds from scratching; you can also find baby mittens or a similar type of clothing item which you can temporarily put on your baby’s hands so they avoid scratching their face.
- Enough moisture is very important when it comes to eczema, so maintaining a routine of skin care throughout the day (after napping, eating or playing) may greatly ease the symptoms of irritation and itching.
- Regularly wash the places where your baby sleeps, but use more natural based, fragrance-free detergents.
- Vacuum more frequently than usual if you have any pets – pet dander is another possible cause of eczema and allergies.
How do You Clean a Baby’s Face With Acne?
Baby-acne is another very common skin condition in infants that goes away on its own but can be quite the nuisance when it’s there on your little one’s gentle face. The routine around washing a baby’s face with acne is similar to washing a face without one – too much washing will only make it worse because it dries the skin, but also makes the oil glands overproduce natural oils which can contribute to creating even more acne.
- Wash your baby’s skin with warm water and mild cleanser or mild baby soap for more severe acne – if you opt for a soap always use one that’s specially made for babies (moisturizing facial soap or soap with a high percentage of emollients), because the regular soaps can often be too harsh for the baby’s skin. Most of the time it’s best to just use plain warm water though.
- Wash your baby’s face once a day – as we said earlier, overdoing it can cause an additional breakout of acne.
- Also, keep in mind to avoid scrubbing the skin and the affected acne-area. Instead, try and pat the face gently and then slowly wipe it. Scrubbing won’t help with acne because they’re not caused by dirt, so it’ll just make the face more irritated.
- You can use a soft sponge or a terry washcloth to wipe the skin of your baby.
- Also, make sure to properly dry the area, but, again, don’t use the scrubbing method - just pat the skin gently till it’s completely dry.
- Refrain from using lotions that are oily and instead use non-oily creams, or don’t use anything at all.
How Often Is It Recommended to Wash Baby’s Face?
Babies’ faces tend to get dirty throughout the day so it’s good to do a mild, gentle wash at least once a day, and whenever is necessary after a feeding or more active play – drool, regurgitation, parts of food and sweat may leave traces on the baby’s face, so it’s best to clean them up as soon as you notice them. The baby will certainly thank you and you’ll prevent further possible irritation that might occur during the day.
If you’ want to know more about baby skin products, you can check out our article on "Best Baby Face Wash
" and quickly and efficiently inform yourself on the best skin-care that you can currently find for your little one’s face!