Baby Skin Care Tips that Parents Should Always Remember
Touching baby's skin makes anyone giddy and happy. It seems like this act has a calming effect. You can't help but slowly caress the baby's skin and nuzzle it a bit. The softness of baby's skin is from the vernix that was produced during pregnancy. Add to this the fact that baby's skin has not been exposed to pollutants, chemicals, and other skin products.
The softness of baby's skin is from the vernix that was produced during pregnancy. This wax-like substance served as the moisturizer of the baby’s skin. The vernix protected the fetus’ skin from drying while inside the mother’s womb. Add to this the fact that baby's skin has not been exposed to pollutants, chemicals, and other skin products.
Newborn skin has layers similar to adult skin; there are the epidermis, dermis, and the hypodermis. However, baby’s skin tend is composed of thinner layers because these skin structures are not yet fully developed. The epidermis and dermis are not fully attached to one another which will result to absorption of substances more fast and easy. Baby’s skin has natural antibacterial barrier on the skin but the thin skin layers still allows penetration of allergens and irritants.
This is the reason why newborn skin is very delicate and proper neonatal skin care is essential. Baby’s skin still lack the fatty layers that accumulate as the day passes. This means that a mere scratch can bring damage to the baby’s skin.
As a mother, you want to preserve as well as nourish the delicate state of your baby's skin. How do you achieve this? The skin care industry is filled with different products labelled with organic, hypoallergenic, and chemical-free. How are these products different from one another? Let’s look into these concepts one by one:
- Organic - baby skin care products can be considered organic when no genetically modified plants, synthetic fertilizer and pesticides, or artificial ingredients are used to manufacture them. This term is also used in marketing natural skin care products.
- Hypoallergenic - makers of this type of products are claiming that they use ingredients are free from allergens thus less likely will result to skin allergies when used on babies or even adults.
- Chemical-free - babies skin care line marked with the words “chemical-free” or sometimes “non-toxic” claim to eliminate ingredients that are connected with lead, formaldehyde, and other deadly substances during production.
Bear in mind that skin care manufacturers and companies have one goal: to sell their products. These brands use various marketing strategies and will interchangeable print these terms on their packaging to win more consumers. Make sure to read the labels carefully before using them on your baby. Always keep a keen eye on harmful ingredients and better yet, list down the chemical names which can bring danger to your child. If you are still not sure about a new product, do a skin test on your forearm or at the back of your ear before letting this touch your baby’s skin.
Taking Care of Your Baby's Skin
Taking care of baby skin involves four major concepts: cleanse, moisturize, heal, and prevent. It can be quite intimidating and scary for first-time parents to perform these tasks but you will be eventually get used to these things as months progress.
Cleansing time for the baby can be very simple in the first few months and will eventually turn into a full-blown bath time when your child starts sitting or crawling. Babies may only need one to three baths in a week.
- Sponge bath - babies skin care can just involve sponge or cloth baths in the first few weeks or until the baby’s umbilical stump comes off. Wet the clother or sponge with warm water and carefully wipe baby’s mouth, legs, hands, armpits, and skin folds. Use a gentle head to toe wash if you want. To clean baby’s face particularly the eyes, ears, and nose, moisten a cotton ball with warm water and gently dab it onto the baby’s skin.
- Using a tub - the first thing to do is make sure all the necessary things you need during bath time is within reach (especially when you are doing this without assistance).. Fill the tub with about 2 to 3 inches of warm water. Remember to test the temperature of the water before gently placing your baby inside the tub. Place one hand on the baby’s neck to support the child’s head. With the other hand, slowly dispense small amounts of water and baby wash onto the baby’s hair and body. Rinse baby’s body thoroughly and check that no soap residues will be left behind. Lift baby’s neck and head as well as the lower body onto a clean towel. Pat dry your baby’s body. Dress your child according to the weather or the occasion.
- Diaper-changing - this task should not as agonizing as others perceive it to be. You just need to stick to a proper routine when doing the diaper-changing duty. When it is time to change the diaper, grab the changing pad and slide it down under your baby’s bottom. Open the soiled diaper, fold it, and throw it into a nearby trash bin immediately. Use baby wipes to remove traces of urine and poop. You can also use a squirt bottle or wet wash cloth. Dab a small amount of baby cream or powder onto the baby’s skin and let it air-dry for a bit to avoid rash and chafing. Slide in a fresh diaper and the baby is good to go.
As mentioned earlier, baby’s skin is still lack the sweat glands and can dry out easily. Add to this the inability of an infant to maintain the recommended pH level. Baby’s skin needs to be kept hydrated at all times by applying quality baby moisturizer or lotion. There are a lot of baby skin care products in the market and choosing the right moisturizer for your baby can be tricky but the most important thing is pick the ones without the excessive fragrance or dyes.
You can maximize the effectiveness of baby lotion by applying it right after you pat dry your baby during bath time. Applying the lotion within minutes allows the open skin pores to quickly absorb the moist.
Baby’s skin easily become flaky especially during the day. You can consider applying moisturizer twice a day. You can do this once after bath and another in the afternoon. Ointments are also best in keeping a baby’s skin hydrated though this can feel a little greasy. Use only a pea-sized amount when rubbing on baby’s arms and legs.
No matter how protective mothers can be to their babies, the harsh weather conditions can bring different baby skin conditions. It is an inevitable situation but can be managed by keeping yourself informed with the common skin issues that usually occur in infants:
- Eczema - Eczema is a form of very itchy rash that can appear on the baby’s skin during the first four months. These red, dry areas can erupt on the baby’s cheeks, neck, limbs and body. Extreme weather conditions can cause these eczema outbreaks. If your infant has eczema, wash his or her skin with soap-free and fragrance-free body cleanser. Make it a habit to slather moisturizer onto your baby’s skin twice a day or when you see the rashes are inflamed. You can also let your baby wear mittens to prevent him or her from scratching the cheeks affected with eczema.
- Diaper Rash - No baby is exempted one of the most common skin problems, that is, diaper rash. The diaper area is frequently moist which makes the skin tender. Add to this the acidity of urine plus poop and this will likely result to the appearance of rashes. Diaper rash can make the baby uncomfortable and may even interrupt his or her sleep. To keep it under control, keep track of diaper changes and don’t let the baby wear wet diaper for too long. When changing to a fresh diaper, make sure to wipe thoroughly baby’s bum and let it air-dry. Rub a small amount of moisturizer or petroleum jelly on the affected areas. You can also occasionally allow your baby to be pantless to allow prevent moisture build-up.
- Acne - Babies can also develop acne on their skin in the first two months. This is a normal condition as the baby goes through hormonal changes. Acne can form as red lumps on the baby’s back and face. It is advisable to not use baby skin care products that are greasy as these can contribute to more breakouts. As for any other form of acne, it should not be forcibly pinched or squeezed. This will just irritate more your baby’s skin as the dirt will spread on the surrounding areas. It is better to let the acne dry out on its own.
- Sunburn - Since infant skin is not yet fully developed, it contains lesser darkening pigment called melanin. This is the pigment that shield humans against ultraviolet light. Therefore, babies are more vulnerable to sunburn than adults. Use of sunscreen on babies is not encouraged in the first few months. Mothers can try to venture out into the sun with their babies as long as it is early in the morning when the skin can be exposed to the sunlight to be able to produce Vitamin D.
- Skin Allergies - Baby’s skin is delicate and has a pH level that is almost neutral upon birth. This pH level of the skin gradually become acidic as the body ages. The goal is to protect and prolong the baby’s skin natural pH by avoiding allergens and using skin products with alkaline and ethanol. As much as possible, use hypoallergenic and soap-free body wash, shampoo, or soap on your baby. Read the labels of skin products and do skin test before using them. Introduction of new diet to your baby can also lead to skin allergies. Some babies have sensitive stomachs and may not be able properly digest food such as eggs, fish, and nuts. Food allergies usually manifest as rashes and swollen facial features. If shortness of breath takes place, the infant should be brought to the hospital as soon as possible.
As the old cliché goes, “prevention is better than cure”. Mothers will do anything to stop skin problems from occurring. Caring for baby’s skin may seem like a complicated task, but it can be prevented, managed, and treated. Be sure to follow these steps to protect your baby’s skin from many irritant looming around the environment:
- Use mild laundry soap - Buy a different laundry soap for your baby and wash his or her clothes apart from other family members’ clothing. Choose a mild and unscented laundry soap. Remember to wash first new pieces of clothing, blankets, towels, and beddings before using them on your child. To make sure there will no soap residues, rinse your baby’s clothes and other items twice. There is also no need to use fabric softener with perfumes.
- Shield from ultraviolet light - The sun is the strongest from 10AM to 4PM and it is not encouraged to go outdoor at these times especially when the baby is six months or younger. If you want take your baby out, be sure to dress the baby in protective clothing made from lightweight and light-colored fabric. Fabrics in light colors reflect sun rays and keeps the cool feeling in the body. The baby can also wear a hat and sunglasses to shield the face from UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen lotion with sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 can be dabbed on older babies.
- Consult your pediatrician - Some skin issues can be treated using home remedies while some others need medical treatment. Ask your pediatrician for skin care tips for infants and recommended natural baby products whenever you and your child visit the clinic. Don’t hesitate to schedule a visit when your baby shows signs of skin problems and when home treatments don’t work.