Savvy Tips Guru

Top tips to stop a baby from scratching their face


You’ve probably imagined what your baby would look like before they were born, maybe even sharing ultrasound pictures with everyone. Now that they’re here, their tiny faces may seem perfect to you. But finding scratch marks on it can be upsetting. Wondering why your baby is scratching their face and how to stop it? Don’t worry, we’ve got answers and tips to help prevent and treat those scratches.

Why do babies scratch their face?

Your baby might have a few scratches on their face for various reasons. Some usual ones are:

Uncontrolled movements and reflexes

When babies are born, they can’t control their movements completely, and that’s one of the reasons why a baby keeps scratching their face. One reflex they have is called the Moro reflex. When they’re startled, they might arch their backs and stretch out their arms and legs, sometimes scratching themselves by accident. But don’t worry! This reflex usually fades away between 3 and 6 months old. You’ll notice your baby’s movements become more controlled. To help, give your baby room to stretch each day, which helps them build their muscles!

Skin irritations and itchiness

As your baby’s skin adapts to life outside the womb, it might become a bit dry, with rough patches, acne, or peeling, which is normal and usually resolves on its own. However, this can lead to scratching. If your baby has very sensitive skin or develops eczema, they may be more prone to irritation and scratching. In such cases, it’s best to identify triggers and talk to the doctor about treatment options.

Sharp nails

Baby nails might be small, but they grow fast and can be sharp! Since babies often have their hands near their faces, they can accidentally scratch themselves if their nails aren’t short. Plus, baby nails grow back quickly, making it easy to miss keeping them trimmed and leading to more scratches.

How to prevent your baby from scratching their head and face

If your baby keeps scratching their face or head, it’s important to figure out why and try these solutions:

Give regular nail trims

If your baby’s sharp nails are causing scratches, trim them when they’re sleeping or feeding, when they’re calm or distracted. Stay calm, and don’t worry if it takes a few tries. If cutting nails makes you nervous, try filing them instead, which is safer but takes more time. Keep your baby distracted and calm during filing.

Make them wear mittens or use swaddles

If your baby’s uncontrollable movements are causing scratches, try using mittens or baby socks to cover their hands. You can also swaddle them with their arms down to prevent scratching, especially before they start rolling over. But be prepared for a wriggly baby—swaddling might not be easy! Luckily, there are many swaddle options available to help keep their face scratch-free.

Treatments for skin irritations and itchiness

If your baby has scratches from dry or itchy skin, try moisturizing or using a baby-friendly anti-itch cream. If these don’t help, talk to your pediatrician for safe advice on other options.

Give them a bath

Giving your baby a bath can help ease their itchy skin. Adding colloidal oatmeal to the bathwater can make it even more comfortable. Colloidal oatmeal is made from finely ground oats that dissolve in water, leaving a soothing film on the skin. It helps to relieve itching, irritation, and dryness, making bath time a more pleasant experience for your little one. Just sprinkle some colloidal oatmeal into the warm bathwater and gently bathe your baby as usual.

Use lightweight or breathable fabrics

Choosing clothes made from breathable and lightweight fabrics like cotton or silk can really help your baby if they have irritated skin. These fabrics are gentle on the skin and allow air to flow freely, reducing the chances of irritation or discomfort. Cotton, for example, is soft and absorbs moisture well, keeping your baby’s skin dry. Silk is also smooth and hypoallergenic, which means it’s less likely to cause any allergic reactions. By dressing your baby in clothes made from these materials, you can keep them comfortable and happy throughout the day.

What should you do if your baby scratches their face?

If your baby gets scratches on their face, it’s important to clean the area gently. Dry it carefully, and consider using a moisturizer or antiseptic cream to help it heal.

Some experts say scratches heal better when they’re a bit moist. You can use products like Vaseline, Aquaphor, or Bacitracin to keep the skin moist and protected from germs. Depending on how big or deep the scratch is, you might need a small Band-Aid, but usually, it’s not necessary. If you do use one, check it regularly and change it if it gets dirty or loose.

It’s also important to address why your baby got scratched in the first place. You might need to cover their hands and nails or use a treatment for dry skin. While seeing scratches on your baby’s face can be worrying, they usually heal quickly without scarring. Keep an eye on deeper scratches to make sure they don’t get worse or infected.

Take Proactive Steps to Keep Your Baby from Scratching Their Face

Remember, you’re not alone in dealing with your baby’s scratches. By understanding the reasons behind their scratching and taking proactive steps to prevent and treat it, you can help keep your little one comfortable and happy. From regular nail trims to using gentle fabrics and moisturizing creams, there are plenty of ways to minimize scratches and promote healing. So, stay calm, be patient, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician if you need further guidance. Your baby’s well-being is worth every effort!


  • Diane Silva

    Diane is a travel enthusiast, content creator, and master storyteller, capturing her adventures through captivating blogs and engaging vlogs. With a passion for the great outdoors and a love for literature, she brings a unique perspective to the travel world. Whether she's exploring hidden gems or discussing the latest trends, Diane is your go-to source for all things travel and beyond.