Why an Ideal pH 5.5 is Important for a Newborn’s Skin
Bringing your newborn home is one of the most exciting yet terrifying things you’ll experience as a parent. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first child or your third; they’re so tiny, delicate, and innocent. You’d do anything to protect them from their harsh surroundings and help them grow up to be charming individuals. That’s a lot of responsibility, we know. And that’s why we’re here to help.
Your newborn’s environment constantly interacts with them, whether it is emotionally or physically. Physically, your baby’s skin is the first thing their environment interacts with. The skin is the largest organ of the body, and it acts as an essential protective barrier between the baby and the baby’s environment. A baby’s skin is one of the most sensitive parts of their body, but it also performs some important functions.
A newborn’s skin –
- acts as a barrier against water loss, light, and irritants
- helps in infection control and immunosurveillance
- provides resilience against external trauma
- encourages sensation and tactile differentiation
- supports thermal regulation
- boosts acid mantle formation
Although a baby’s skin appears to be fully developed at birth, it undergoes a rapid change in structure and function throughout the first year. It needs to be protected and nurtured carefully for a few months after birth with a little extra care. There are many little details to keep in mind, and one such aspect is the pH of your baby’s skin.
What is pH and What Role Does Skin pH Play?
To put it simply, the pH scale is used to specify the acidic or basic nature of a substance. pH stands for “potential of hydrogen” and ranges from 1 to 14, with point 7 being neutral. A pH lower than 7 indicates that the substance is of acidic nature, while a pH of point 8 and above indicates that the substance is of basic nature. At 7, the substance is deemed to be of neutral nature.
Similarly, the skin’s pH depends on a lot of factors, such as diet, environment, and use of products. It is the skin’s surface and glands that regulate pH. However, factors such as pollution and environmental temperature also affect the pH of our skin.
The surface of healthy skin in humans (from infancy through adulthood and in old age) has a slightly acidic pH. This is called the acid mantle of the skin. Depending on the part of the body, the pH values of the skin lie in the range of 4.5 and 6. The slightly acidic pH inhibits the growth of some pathogenic microorganisms but favours the growth of non-pathogenic bacteria microbiomes.
The acidic pH also plays a role in the formation of epidermal lipids in the stratum corneum and is important for the function of the permeability barrier in the epidermis. Any imbalance of this pH or having even neutral skin pH can lead to disruption of this natural barrier.
Why a Baby’s Skin Should Maintain a 5.5 pH?
The activity of the sebaceous glands in the skin is not fully developed as the acid mantle, and the hydrolipid film are not yet stable. At birth, the pH value of the skin is about 6.5 and gradually decreases during the first days to weeks after birth.
The baby’s skin has reduced alkali neutralization capacity, and the immune system of the skin is still immature. In babies, the acidic film takes about three months to self-generate. Until then, you need to take care of their skin and ensure that it is not exposed to harmful substances. Most soaps in the market are highly acidic in nature, which is why they are not recommended for babies. These soaps wash away the skin’s natural oils, which create a pH imbalance, making your baby’s skin more prone to dryness and infection. If a baby’s skin pH is high, it becomes prone to dermatitis, inflammation or irritation.
How to Maintain a Newborn’s Skin pH at 5.5?
Since our skin is well-equipped to maintain a healthy skin pH on its own, we typically don’t need to do anything to do so. The skin of a newborn baby, however, needs special attention.
Regular bathing can further strip your baby’s skin of its precious oils and of the protective acidic film. It is essential to use products that not only restore but also retain these protective properties of your newborn’s skin whilst keeping it moisturised. Sebamed’s Baby Gentle Wash is one such product that helps maintain your baby’s skin pH during bath time and after. It is a mild body wash that is fit for daily use too.
To further lock in moisture and balance your newborn’s skin pH, you can use Sebamed’s Baby Cream Extra Soft. It promotes the development of the acid mantle, which protects your baby’s skin from the environment; until your baby’s skin can form its own acid mantle.
While taking care of your baby’s skin, do not forget their scalp! Taking care of your baby’s scalp will promote good scalp health, which in turn will promote the growth of healthy hair. Sebamed’s Baby Shampoo with ‘no tears’ formula is one such product that has botanical extracts from chamomile that helps with extra mild cleansing of hair and scalp, natural moisturizing agents help to protect against dryness & alleviate irritation and soothe the skin.
Making sure your baby’s skin pH is appropriate can help to keep their skin healthy and clear of infections as they grow, giving you more stress-free moments to make sweet memories with them!