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5 Gentle Ways to Treat Scratches on Baby’s Face to Prevent Scars

Scratches on baby’s face may be self-inflicted or caused by pets. Regardless of how they occur, we’ve outlined how you can treat your babies scratches to prevent scarring.

What Can Be Put on Your Babies Cut or Scratched Face?


Vaseline Petroleum Jelly Original 1.75 oz

Vaseline is a product that almost every household has. From exfoliating chapped lips to helping treat acne, Vaseline has multiple uses.

Did you know this includes helping that scratch on your baby’s face?

Most experts agree that cuts and scratches heal best when they are moist. Drying cause scratches to scab, slow the healing process, and increase scarring likelihood – this is where Vaseline comes in.

Vaseline acts as a barrier to prevent bacteria from causing infections and keeps moisture locked in. Its lubricating properties are an excellent way to prevent scabbing on cuts that are not deep.

It’s not as effective on a cut that’s already moist from oozing so ensure the cut is clean and pat dry before applying.

Baby Wound Ointment

Aquaphor Healing Ointment - Moisturizing Skin Protectant for Dry Cracked Hands, Heels and Elbows - 14 oz. Jar

Like Vaseline, the purpose of wound ointments is to prevent infections and keep the scratch or cut moist.

You will notice a common theme when picking a product to apply to your baby’s cut is to use something that helps prevent scabbing with moisture.

However, unlike Vaseline which is a generally formulated product, there are wound ointments specially tailed for baby sensitivity.

Baby ointments contain gentle formulas created to accommodate the delicacy of soft baby skin. These ointments are in any place that sells baby products like your local supermarket or convenience store.  Some popular wound ointments used by parents are:

  • Aquaphor Healing Ointment
  • Burt’s Bees baby multipurpose ointment
  • Equate baby advanced healing ointment

Depending on the type of ointment, brand, and size, the price you pay will vary. You can purchase large tubes of ointments (14+ Oz) or travel-friendly portable tubes.

Antibacterial Ointment

Neosporin Pain Itch Scar Antibiotic Ointment for Infection Prevention and Pain Relief, 1.0 oz

Following Vaseline and wound ointments, antibacterial ointments are following – you guessed it – the theme of keeping scratches moisturized.

However, these ointments stand out with their antibiotic properties – preventing bacteria growth and skin infection.

This may sound like the other two products because this prevents bacteria growth is also achievable when the ointments create a barrier. Although, antibiotic ointments have medical elements for effective healing.

One well-known antibiotic ointment is Neosporin. Make sure you read the label because how often you use the ointment might be limited or have specifications.

Skin Glue

New-Skin Liquid Bandage, 1 Ounce

Another way to help keep your baby’s cut free of infection is to use skin glue. Have you heard of it? It’s an adhesive wound closure.

Before you immediately cross this off the list, know that it’s not like you are sticking Elmer’s glue on your little one’s face. It’s quick to apply and painless.

Also known as a “liquid bandage,” it has great qualities like flexibility, clear coated appearance, and is waterproof.

Most over-the-counter skin glues are first aid antiseptics. Also containing medical properties, read the labels for application directions. It’s best to consult with your baby’s pediatrician to ensure it is okay to use the skin glue you are considering.

Antibacterial Bandages

Curad Assorted Bandages Variety Pack 300 Pieces, Including Antibacterial, Heavy Duty, Fabric, and Waterproof Bandages

If you happen to not have any ointments or protective barriers available, you can temporarily use antibacterial bandages.

The fabric has antibacterial qualities that support cut and scratch healing better than typical Band-Aids. However, this should be used as a last resort.

Band-Aids are uncomfortable to wear and sometimes painful coming off sensitive baby skin.

When it accidentally comes off or is pulled off, it is a choking hazard. Practice safe behavior by only using an antibacterial bandage when you can monitor your baby to ensure there is no risk of choking.

To prevent skin aggravation, do not apply these products frequently and use warm water to help gently peel it off – baths work great for this!

NOTES: Please read the labels and warnings of products before application. Consult your baby’s pediatrician with questions or concerns. If you suspect your baby may be having an allergic reaction, immediately contact your baby’s pediatrician for further advice.

If ointment is applied without a covering, like a bandage or gauze, make sure your baby doesn’t accidentally consume the product by touching it and putting their fingers in their mouth.

Does Breastmilk Help with Scratches?

Breast Milk in Bottles and Bags

Breast milk has become increasingly popular for use besides feeding our hungry ones. For example, bodybuilders pay for breast milk because of the incredible qualities it has.

Although there hasn’t been substantial research, many medical experts support the belief that breast milk has healing properties like necessary antibodies; it has topical benefits too.

According to pregnancyinfo.net, breastmilk eliminates infection-causing bacteria when applied directly to the wound.

Of course, this is only applicable for minor injuries like small cuts and scratches. It’s a natural remedy that is readily available for breastfeeding mothers. However, this is not the sole solution.

As great as breastmilk is, it’s not a miracle worker. It would still be a good idea to apply other topical applications like the ointments previously discussed.

Speak with your baby’s pediatrician to ensure your baby’s wound is healing. For non-breastfeeding moms, you can purchase breast milk at a breast milk bank. If this is too expensive, then you can ask breastfeeding mothers you know to donate a few ounces.

How to Treat Minor Scratches on Your Baby

Baby With Scratched Face

As loving moms and dads, we don’t want to see our bundles of joy get injured. Even a minor scratch – most often accidentally self-caused by your baby – is frustrating.

Although treating minor cuts seems simple, “mom brains” and “dad brains” stumble over the process of treating a scratch sometimes.

What if you forget to do something? Are you using the right product? Is it causing your baby pain? If you find your mind going blank as you treat your baby’s scratch, reference this easy-to-use guide.

The Process Explained Step by Step

First, you need to clean the area. Using topical applications and bandages won’t help if the area is still dirty – leading to infections. To wash the bacteria away, flush the wound with water (a comfortable temperature) for 60 to 90 seconds.

If this is hard to accomplish because the scratch is on the face, gently pat the area clean with a wet, clean rag. Baby wipes can be used another second resort.

Second, wash the area with soap and water. Again, use patting techniques if flushing is not applicable. Use gentle soaps, preferably fragrance-free, to prevent skin aggravation.

Third, pat the area dry with a clean cloth.

OPTIONAL: If you are using breastmilk, add one drop at a time until the wounded area has been moistened with it. Allow it time to dry.

Fourth, apply ointment or another barrier of your choice. Reapply the barrier one to three times daily. If you are using badges, change them frequently to help keep the wounded area clean.

Fifth, make sure to prevent the wound from airing because it will cause scabbing. Check the wound every day, multiple times, to verify it is healing and not becoming infected.

NOTE: Do not use disinfectants that contain rubbing alcohol, iodine, or hydrogen peroxide. Not only do the cause discomforting sensations, but they also harm the healing process by drying out the skin.

How to Know Your Baby’s Injury is Healing Properly

Mother Closely Examining Babys Face

Now that you know how to treat a scratch and how often you should address it, you probably have another question. How do you determine how well your baby is healing?

Considering that babies heal faster than adults, the scratch should be noticeably clearing within days. Baby skin heals quicker than adult skin because it’s growing, and fast!

Quickly, new skin cells are forming to close the abrasion. However, how deep the cut is can determine the speed of the healing rate.

If you only need to treat the scratch a few times a day with ointment application, chances are the scratch isn’t going to take that long to heal.

It’s natural to feel worried, and parents want to know what’s happening as their baby heals. If you need help determining how well your baby’s scratch is healing, look at some useful tips below!

5 Tips for Dealing with Baby Scratches

Baby With Minor Scratches on Face

Tip 1 – Check the skin around the injury. Does it look normal or is it red and puffy? Inflammation and a color shade that does not match your baby’s natural skin color can be a sign of infection.

Tip 2 – Determine how sensitive the scratch is. Does your baby show discomfort if you touch over the bandage or apply pressure? Watch your baby. Does your baby appear to purposefully not lay on the side of his or her face the scratch is on? If it seems like the scratch is causing your baby pain, you should call your pediatrician and ask for his or her advice. Normally, deeper scratches will have higher levels of sensitivity and might require additional medication to treat it.

Tip 3 – Look to see if the wound is leaking fluid. The presence of blood, puss, or other fluids is a sign that the scratch is not healing properly and is possibly infected. If you are using bandages, check the fabric for discoloring to help determine if leakage is being absorbed.

Tip 4 – This might sound weird but take note if you notice a smell around the scratch. Odd, strong – sometimes bad – smells indicate an infection. Normally, scratches do not have an abnormal odor.

Tip 5 – If it appears the scratch is not progressing in healing or is worsening, that could be a hint something isn’t right.

For questions or concerns, contact your baby’s pediatrician for guidance.

Do Baby Scratches Turn into Scars?

Normally, small scratches won’t leave a scar – even on the face. As previously said, baby skin heals quickly.

However, the scarring could occur if other factors come into play. For instance, the depth of the scratch could leave a long-lasting mark.

A medical regime approved by a pediatrician could lessen or eliminate how noticeable the scar is.

Mentioned earlier, scabbing can lead to scars – especially if your child accidentally picks off a scab.

Use ointments to help prevent scabbing and keep the scratch covered if possible. Most likely, scratch marks won’t leave a permanent scar.

Be Prepared to Handle Your Baby’s Scratch

Baby With Scratch on Right Cheek

Babies don’t have great control over how hard or soft they touch their face; easily leaving scratches on themselves. No matter how careful you are, scratches are inevitable. So, learn how to take care of future scratches by treating the one you baby has today.

It’s important to keep the scratch clean and moist as it heals. Using soap and water is the best way to clean the wound. You can keep the area moist with products like a baby wound or antibacterial ointment.

Read the labels and directions to verify your baby won’t be unintentionally hurt. Monitor for signs of an allergic reaction and be vigilant of additional hazards like choking on an antibacterial Band-Aid.

If you want to try a more naturalistic approach, breast milk is believed to have healing properties with topical application. If you are not breastfeeding, there are other ways to get breastmilk – if you still want to use it.

Taking care of minor scratches isn’t difficult. Simply clean the scratch, dry it, apply ointments and barriers, and regularly check the wound.

Stay away from disinfectants like rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide as they can do more harm than good. You can monitor how well your baby’s scratch is healing.

Things like odor, leaking fluid, sensitivity and red inflammation can be signs of an infection.

You most likely won’t have to worry about scarring. However, take how deep the scratch is and scabbing into consideration. This might seem scary, but scarring can be prevented or lessened.


Above all, don’t hesitate to call your baby’s pediatrician if you have questions or concerns. It doesn’t hurt to inquire for information.

If it helps, take notes of whenever you examine the scratch, so you can compare details. Has swelling gone done? Are fluids leaking suddenly? Does the scratch appear to be getting smaller?

This kind of documentation can be useful if you must take your baby to the doctor’s office. Good luck and do what you feel is best for your baby!

Photo of author

Emily Perez

A proud mom of two, Emily is an Educational Consultant with a bachelor's in Education from the University of Texas who specializes in early childhood development.

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