When babies are first born their skin is smooth, soft and moisturized. Within a day or so however, the skin often begins flaking off in thin sheets. It is often most noticeable on the feet and ankles but can occur over the arms, legs and trunk as well.
This peeling skin comes off easily and the skin underneath looks normal and healthy. The entire process can take as long as three weeks to complete and requires nothing special in terms of skin care. This peeling is a normal process and you need not worry unless the skin looks red, tender or angry or the baby uncomfortable. Continue to sponge bathe your newborn every few days with a mild, unscented, dye- free soap. If the skin looks dry, adding a mild, unscented dye-free lotion or emollient to the dry areas is perfectly acceptable. Try it first on a small patch of skin to make sure your newborn does not have an allergy to the lotion.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, August 2019