“Help! My newborn’s skin is peeling”: What Sri Lankan parents need to know

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It's a common occurrence that usually goes away on its own. Yet, it's good to be in the know about your newborn's peeling skin - how to look after his skin, and when it's a cause for concern...

A newborn’s appearance changes — sometimes dramatically — over the few weeks after birth.

For example, you might notice that your little tot’s eyes and hair change in colour, and his skin may become lighter or darker.

One of the things that will almost always change is your baby’s skin.

Before you leave hospital or even a few days or weeks after coming home, there is a possibility that your newborn’s skin will start peeling or flaking.

But before you start worrying, rest assured that is perfectly normal, and soon, your little one will have that fabled “baby smooth” skin you hear of.

So if you are curious to find out why your baby’s skin peels and how you can look after his delicate skin when this happens, you’ve picked the right article to read — here’s all you need to know about newborn peeling skin.

Why does a newborn’s skin peel?

Seconds after birth, a newborn is covered in various fluids and substances, including blood, amniotic fluid and vernix.

Vernix is a waxy, cheese-like substance that naturally occurs in the last trimester of pregnancy, thickly coating a baby’s body. The main purpose of vernix while your baby is still in your womb, is to protect his skin from amniotic fluid.

But vernix also has an important function post-birth, that is related to your newborn’s skin. According to research, it helps keep your baby’s skin moist and hydrated, which “may facilitate postnatal skin hydration.”

In other words, it acts as a natural moisturiser.

However, once the vernix (along with the amniotic fluid and blood) is wiped off your baby’s skin soon after birth, your little one will begin to shed the outer layer of his skin, says Healthline

newborn skin peeling

Newborn peeling skin: Newborn skin peeling usually occurs on the hands and feet. Image from Pinterest- Stanford Medicine.

How much peeling will occur?

The amount of peeling depends on whether your baby was born prematurely, on time, or was overdue. Generally, the more vernix a baby has on his skin at birth, the less he may peel, say medical experts.

For example, a premature baby will usually peel less than a full-term or overdue baby, because he is covered with more vernix at birth.

You will usually notice newborn skin peeling within a week to three weeks after birth, most often on your baby’s hands and feet.

Please head to the next page for more useful information

Newborn concerns