Baby skin is different from the adult skin as it is much thinner. This simply means that it is more delicate and sensitive. It is more susceptible to environmental changes like changes in humidity and temperature. Hence it is more prone to allergies, infections, rashes and irritants.
The skin is a baby’s first line of defence against the external world. Therefore, caring for baby’s skin may require special attention and protection to keep it healthy. Even though taking care of baby’s skin may appear complicated, the important thing to remember is to keep it suitably moisturized and hydrated at all times.
The best approach towards baby’s skincare is “less is safe”. It may not be a good idea to use adult skin care products for the baby as well. A baby’s skin is also vulnerable to allergies triggered by the use of harsh products. Chemical soaps and shampoos, harsh detergents, and over bathing should be avoided.
How to Take Care of Baby’s Skin?
How to care for baby skin is a question that may appear complex and be confusing with the wide-ranging variety of products available and the diverse opinions of various people. Here is a list of baby skin care tips home remedies which may help ease the dilemma
- Cleaning: A new-born baby’s skin is generally creased and coated with a white wax-like matter called vernix which slowly peels off during the first few weeks after birth. This natural procedure requires no help in terms of rubbing the skin or applying creams to it. It may be enough to simply sponge the baby clean during the initial weeks after birth with particular attention to the mouth and diaper area of the baby.
- Bathing: Excessive bathing can rob the baby’s skin of its natural oils and result in dryness and flaking. So, bathing a baby 3 -4 times a week may be adequate. Make sure you use a mild soap and lukewarm water to bathe the baby. The temperature of the room in which baby is later dried off should be warm enough to protect him from a chill or a cold. Always use soft, cotton towels to gently pat the baby dry.
- Powdering: Powdering a baby after a bath may not be necessary if enough time is given for air drying. But if you must powder the baby after bathing it is best to use a safe, baby talcum powder which is not likely to irritate the delicate skin. Avoid using perfumed powders which contain chemicals, or grainy ones, particularly for the nappy area for it may result in unnecessary skin problems later on.
- Natural products: Babies have very tender and fragile skin. After birth, baby’s skin requires time to get accustomed to the new harsh environment and its varying changes. Therefore, natural and organic baby products which are devoid of any chemicals are a safer option than perfumed or harsh antibacterial products which may cause rashes and dryness. It is not recommended to test any new products on the baby’s skin to avoid any possible reaction. It is advisable to use products which are specifically designed for babies like mild baby soaps, tear-free shampoos and gentle lotions. Be mindful of your baby’s reaction to any probable reactions to the products being used.
- Diaper rash: A diaper rash may develop if the baby has been wearing a dirty diaper for long, if the diaper is too tight, or if the baby is allergic to a specific brand of diapers. It is desirable to change the diapers immediately after the baby has soiled it in order to avoid rashes and skin infections. Select diapers that are absorbent and soft. Most rashes may not be a cause of any serious concern but if the rash persists, then it is prudent to consult a paediatrician.
- Skin problems: Some babies may develop acne which is different from adult acne. In such a case, it is best to seek treatment from a doctor. Sometimes, babies have eczema or atopic dermatitis, a kind of skin rash. As a result of eczema, red patches appear on the skin and it becomes dry, itchy, thickened and scaly. Eczema is difficult to cure as it is an inherited skin condition but it can be contained with the correct treatment. Most babies who develop eczema usually grow out of the condition gradually.
- Massages: Massages are a great way to bond with your baby. Gently massaging the baby’s skin with natural oils also helps in nourishing and moisturizing it. Coconut oil, olive or almond oil are commonly preferred. You may like to avoid using commercial oils that usually contain perfumes and chemicals which may distress the baby’s skin and cause reactions.
- Sun exposure: It is not recommended to expose the fragile skin of a baby to direct sunlight, especially during the initial months of birth, as it may result in sunburn. When venturing out in the sun, it is wise to keep the baby suitably covered with long sleeved clothes, full pants, caps and to apply baby safe sunscreen on the exposed skin.
- Cotton clothes: Babies are prone to prickly heat rashes because of sweating in skin folds. It is best to clothe the baby in loose cotton clothes as they are soft, more absorbent of sweat and therefore comfortable. Avoid using synthetic clothes as they may be abrasive and can cause allergic reactions. Mothers may find dressing the baby in layers of clothes useful in altering baby’s clothing to suitable clothing according to the changing weather conditions.
- Moisturizing: Moisturizing is a vital step in skin care for babies, as baby skin is prone to dryness. Applying moisturizer after bathing may help lock in the moisture and keep the skin supple and hydrated. Alternatively, ointments or baby lotions may also be used.
- Gentle detergents: It is advisable to always wash the newly bought clothes and bedding of the baby before using them. They may seem clean but it is sensible to wash them once with a gentle, non-perfumed cleaner to free them of any germs and to soften them. Also, bear in mind that baby’s clothes may be washed separately from the family’s laundry.
The single most important thing to remember when it comes to baby skin care is to handle it with extreme care. Make sure you wash your hands clean before touching your baby and maintain a high degree of personal hygiene. Think of your baby’s skin as wings of a butterfly – it requires the same amount of tenderness and gentleness!
Also Read: How to Massage a Baby