How To Care Of Baby Skin?
Extremely fragile and reactive, baby’s skin requires special attention and the use of products adapted to its needs, whether for daily hygiene or care. How to care of baby skin is very easy. Every day, hygiene and daily care for babies must be carried out gently and simply. Physiological serum or cleansing water are particularly indicated. Special moment between the baby and his parents, the bath allows to wash the body and the hair at the same time. Two to three baths per week are sufficient in the first months of life. Depending on the infant’s skin type, several products can be used: cleansing oil or cream, surgras soap, cleansing gel, etc. Hydration then effectively protects baby’s skin from external aggressions. It also prevents skin discomfort such as diaper rash. In the case of atopic skin, specific moisturizers are recommended. Finally, sun protection is essential as soon as you go out and baby is at risk of being exposed to the sun’s rays.
Physiological serum is a solution of purified water and sodium chloride (sea water and salt). The presence of sodium chloride makes it an antiseptic product. There is physiological saline in the form of sterile single doses that can be kept for 24 hours once opened, provided you can close them – on the end of the cap, there must be a small pin that allows you to reseal the pod – or in the form of a spray which allows you to send a larger spray. The interest of physiological saline is that it is available without a prescription, that there is no contraindication, underlines the childcare worker. You can absolutely buy the physiological serum sold in supermarkets, it is the same product as that sold in pharmacies!
1. Know the specificities of baby’s skin
Until the age of three, a baby’s skin requires the utmost care because it does not have the same characteristics as that of older children and adults. Its tolerance threshold is much lower and its cellular capital is extremely fragile. Five times thinner than adult skin, infant skin is immature and reacts very quickly when exposed to aggression. It is thus prone to skin conditions such as diaper rash or atopic dermatitis (eczema). It dries quickly and is very permeable, which is why it is necessary to use products adapted to its needs to protect it and help it to defend itself until its barrier function is more effective and resistant.
We recommend that you do not use too many different products to take care of your baby’s skin on how to care of baby skin, especially during the first months of life. Make sure that hygiene is not excessive, at the risk of promoting skin dryness, irritation and tightness. Favor gentle formulas specially designed for the skin of toddlers, with short lists of ingredients (INCI list). Avoid using products containing irritating components such as perfume, alcohol or essential oils.
2. The daily hygiene and bath
Daily cleansing is an essential step in taking care of baby’s skin because it eliminates the impurities and dirt that accumulate there during the day. There is no medical reason to give a baby a bath every day and the daily hygiene care can be done with very easy to use products.
With sensitive areas such as the eyes and the nose, daily facial cleansing must be carried out very gently. In the absence of persistent dirt such as food scraps or dust, a soft cotton ball soaked in warm water or saline solution is more than enough. Turn to a cleansing water if the face is dirtier. This type of product is generally “without rinsing” but we advise you to follow it with a mist of thermal water in order to perfectly eliminate the cleaning agents which could irritate the baby’s skin. To clean the eyes, use a gauze pad for each eye, previously soaked in saline solution, and gently pass it from the inside out. Proceed in the same way for cleaning the nose and ears. Do not use a cotton swab or clean baby’s ears beyond the pinna and ear canal. This will limit the risk of a wax plug forming.
For daily body cleansing, a simple cleansing milk applied with a cotton ball is enough to clean baby’s skin. Most often composed of fatty substances and hydrating, nourishing and soothing agents, baby cleansing milks gently eliminate impurities and guarantee maximum comfort. Some formulas do not need to be rinsed off and leave a protective film that will isolate the epidermis from external aggressions and protect it durably.
The delicate seat area requires special attention. During the first months of life, a baby needs to be changed regularly, up to 8 times a day. Redness and irritation may appear, signs of a very common skin inflammation called diaper rash. This phenomenon is favored by humidity, contact with stools and urine and repeated rubbing of the diaper. To prevent diaper rash, it is important to change baby as often as necessary and to use specific hygiene and care products. Oil-limestone liniment is particularly indicated in this case. Its original formula based on lime water (calcium hydroxide) and olive oil helps neutralize the acidity of urine without attacking baby’s skin. The nourishing phase protects, softens the epidermis and prevents feelings of discomfort. Some liniments contain other ingredients that will reinforce the protective and soothing action: glycerin, beeswax, aloe vera, vegetable oil (sweet almond, sunflower), floral water. After applying it to the baby’s bottom with a cotton ball, apply a diaper cream to soothe any redness and irritation. Talc is not recommended because it promotes maceration and diffuses harmful particles for the respiratory tract. To find out more, see our advice sheet: “Preventing and treating diaper rash in babies”.
Although very practical and easy to use when you do not have access to a water point or a space reserved for changing babies, wipes pre-impregnated with cleaning product are to be reserved for exceptional situations such as outings. or travel. They can indeed be irritating to baby’s skin.
Baby’s bath ritual
Generally very appreciated by baby, the bath is a moment of relaxation which allows him to find a familiar environment, close to that in which he lived during pregnancy. It is also a privileged moment synonymous with sharing, complicity and awakening. In the first months, it is not useful to bathe the baby every day, two to three per week is enough. For the newborn, baths should preferably be short and last no more than five minutes. As the child grows, the duration and frequency can be gradually increased.
Which product to wash your baby?
The choice of cleanser used for baby’s bath depends mainly on his skin type. If he has dry or atopic-prone skin, opt for a superfatted bread, a cleansing cream or oil whose formula is enriched with nourishing agents (shea butter, vegetable oils). Limit excessively detergent and perfumed soaps as well as bubble baths as much as possible. If your baby’s skin does not present any particular problems, you can use a superfatted liquid soap, a cleansing gel or a neutral pH balance. Before submerging it in the bathtub, you can add a few drops of bath oil to the water to soften it and prevent it from drying out baby’s skin. To apply the cleanser, simply use your hands or a vegetable sponge rather than a washcloth, which can be rough, irritate the skin and trap bacteria. Rinse thoroughly then gently dab the skin with a towel, not forgetting the folds, to absorb all the moisture and reduce the risk of irritation.
Regarding the cleaning of baby’s hair, this gesture on wow to care of baby skin and hair can be carried out at bath time once or twice a week. Use a mild shampoo suitable for the hair of toddlers, which does not sting the eyes, and lather gently by massaging the scalp. If baby has cradle cap, apply specific care and then use a very soft brush or comb to remove the scales.
3. Hydration and prevention of skin reactions
Every day, moisturizing baby’s skin is an essential step. This contributes to its protection against external elements such as wind, cold, dust and pollution. Not all babies have the same hydration needs and some are more sensitive.
Dry and normal skin
In case of dry skin, prefer rich textures such as balms and formulas based on cold cream. Babies with normal skin will be satisfied with a moisturizing cream or milk. As with other hygiene and care products, choose a moisturizer designed to meet baby’s needs. Apply it once or twice a day on the clean skin of the face and body, massaging gently. Pay attention to the area behind the ears, prone to redness and irritation, which is often forgotten!
Atopic skin: a special case
More than one in ten infants is affected by atopic dermatitis (or eczema). It usually begins around the age of three months, but some babies are affected from their first weeks of life. It is favored by a familial atopic background, a very reactive immune system and an anomaly of filaggrin. This molecule normally allows the stratum corneum to organize itself in the form of a very tight network of keratin filaments allowing the cohesion and impermeability of the skin.
Atopic dermatitis is characterized by often intense skin dryness and different types of lesions: redness, itching, blisters, scabs. Periods of outbreaks alternate with phases of calm. In babies, itching can be difficult to recognize, but certain signs such as sleep disturbances are revealing. Baby eczema is present mainly on the face and more specifically on the bulging parts (forehead, cheeks, chins). Some infants have lesions on the outer arms and thighs or more diffuse involvement over the entire body surface.
There is no predictable age of disappearance of atopic dermatitis. The condition of the skin improves over time and then the eczema disappears during childhood. It may persist into adulthood, but this only concerns a small number of cases. The atopic skin of the baby requires special care, especially in terms of hydration. Dermatologists recommend using emollients once or twice a day to prevent flare-ups, restore the barrier function of the epidermis and limit dehydration and dryness.
What about sunscreen?
For children under 3 years old, only one rule prevails: no exposure to the sun! Indeed, the skin’s defense mechanisms against UV rays are not yet in place. In addition on how to care of baby skin, too much exposure in childhood has been shown to be a risk factor for melanoma in adulthood. If you go outside and your baby is at risk of exposure to the rays, we recommend that you wear covering clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and SPF 50+ sun protection. These recommendations are valid for all phototypes and regardless of the UV index. Choose special baby sun protection, preferably containing mineral filters to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction.
Here are the main criteria to consider when choosing baby sun protection:
- effectiveness on UVA and UVB rays;
- hypoallergenic and alcohol-free formula;
- product tested under dermatological and pediatric control;
- water and scuff or rub resistant.
Apply the product at least twenty to thirty minutes before going out and insist on the areas that are not covered. Reapply every two hours to maintain protection, even if baby stays in the shade or if there are clouds.