A Beginner’s Guide to Toddler Skin Care

Even on your toddler’s cute little body, the skin is the largest organ. Every part of it plays a vital role in your son or daughter’s health. Taking care of it properly can help to give it everything it needs to keep problems away and to make sure your little one is comfortable.

Taking care of your toddler’s skin and building great skin care habits right from the start can be a great way to keep him or her well. It can also promote healthy practices that he or she will learn to carry on into adolescence and adulthood.

Here are some great steps to follow to make sure your own toddler’s skin remains clean, healthy and comfy.

Hand washing

Routine hand washing is one of the top most recommended practices for reducing the risk of infection and disease. Help your little one wash his or her hands before eating, after using the bathroom, and after coming inside from outdoors.

Use warm water and lather soap over your child’s hands. Don’t forget to pay attention to areas where there are skin folds, such as knuckles and palms, as well as around and under fingernails (a nail brush can be handy for getting grime out from under nails).


Regular bathing helps to keep the rest of your child clean and will reduce the risk of infections, diseases, and other skin problems beyond what can be washed away on their hands. How often your toddler needs to bathe depends on many things. Your pediatrician will likely recommend that you bathe your toddler a few times per week and check him or her over on a daily basis.

Use gentle cleansers, such as the Little Sleepy Head Gentle Hair & Body Wash, to wash your little one’s skin and hair. The best options are tear-free products that are designed for sensitive skin and that don’t contain any artificial fragrances dyes/colorants, sulfates, petrolatum, or other potentially harmful ingredients that can cause irritation.

Rub a bit of the cleanser into a soft washcloth and start at the top, working your way down. Give extra care to washing your toddler’s face, behind his or her ears, and anywhere that there are skin folds such as elbows, knees, the belly button, and the groin.

If your toddler is less than enthusiastic about bath time or is going through an anti-bathing phase, check out our “7 Ultimate Parenting Solutions for Kids Who Hate Bath Time” blog post.


A gentle moisturizer can help to support your skin’s natural protection barrier against harm and infection. Don’t wait until the skin is dry, itchy, red, or scaly to start moisturizing. Those are all indicators that irritation has already occurred.  Instead, apply a product such as the Little Sleepy Head Hydrating Baby Lotion to help stop these problems before they can happen.

Sun Protecting

When you’re headed outside, use light colored clothing, hats with brims, parasols/stroller sun shades, and sunscreen to prevent sunburn, other forms of UV damage and reduce the risk of skin cancer later in life.

Make sure to use a sunscreen appropriate for a child’s sensitive skin such as the Little Sleepy Head Daily Rehydrating Sunscreen (and don’t forget to apply some on yourself, as well). Generously apply the sunscreen to areas of the skin that will be exposed to sunlight, not forgetting areas like the backs of ears. Re-apply every couple of hours or sooner if your child has been in water or has been sweating.

Regular Monitoring

Check your child’s skin for problems on a regular basis. Pay special attention to areas where extra moisture can occur such as around the eyes, nose and mouth, the hands as well as the thighs, and bottom. Keep an eye on scrapes, bumps, and bruises. The sooner you spot a problem, the sooner you can treat it or bring it to a doctor’s attention so it won’t be allowed to worsen.

Working proper skin care into your toddler’s routine is an important activity.  It can be a calming time to spend together and can even contribute to a soothing bedtime routine.