All babies have soft and fragile skin. In fact, a baby’s skin is up to 30 per cent thinner than adult skin, and is therefore weaker and more prone to irritation. Here are some tips for caring for your baby’s skin from the very first weeks of life and beyond.
Whether brand new or older, all babies have sensitive skin that needs special care. But caring for it doesn’t need to be difficult. Here are six ways to make sure you’re on the right track.
1. Bathing your brand new baby
Babies are born with wrinkly skin, and many still have the layer of vernix (a white, cheeselike protective material that coats the skin) that acted as a kind of waterproof coating when they were in amniotic fluid. Don’t be in a rush to wash off this vernix as it provides other benefits after birth, with skin hydrating, antioxidating and antibacterial properties. Contrary to popular belief, newborns aren’t dirty! They don’t move enough to sweat and clearly aren’t jumping in muddy puddles. A simple sponge down every couple of days can work instead of a bath.
2. Choosing the right nappies
Your baby’s bottom is a sensitive area, and since babies regularly sit in wet nappies, it needs special care and attention. A nappy like the new Huggies Ultimate range is a great option for your baby, as it keeps your baby’s skin dry with a DryTouch layer. These nappies are breathable and now have a handy blue stripe wetness indicator in all sizes (not just in the newborn size).
3. Soaps for baby
Once you do start bathing your baby, consider eliminating soaps that are fragranced and contain artificial ingredients. Plain old water is fine. If you’re worried about bub’s skin drying out, you can use naturally occurring oils.
4. Oils and massage
Many parents like using organic oils to hydrate and moisten their baby’s skin after a bath (and you can even add a few drops in the water, too).
When choosing an oil, keep in mind that cold-pressed oils are nourishing and easily absorbed by the skin, whereas mineral oils tend to leave a greasy film that’s hard to wash off. Steer clear of paraffin-based, peanut-based and non-organic oils. Oils that are popular for baby massage are almond, coconut and sesame.
You can also rub the oil into their scalp and fingernails too.
5. Perfumes and washing powder
Adult perfumes are typically very strong in smell and contain a potent mix of chemicals which could irritate your baby’s skin. The same goes for many washing powders. Powerful scents can confuse and upset your baby. You may even notice that after a visitor with a distinct smelling clothing or perfume fragrance has held your baby, your little one may be irritable, hard to settle and cry more than usual. Stick with washing powders for sensitive skin and steer clear of anything heavily fragranced. After all, a beautiful baby’s skin doesn’t need any help to smell good!
6. Baby sun safety
A baby’s skin is extremely vulnerable to the harsh rays of the sun and as they spend more and more time outside you need to be careful that they don’t burn. Current government health regulations specify that babies under 12 months of age should not be exposed to direct sunlight (when the UV index is 3 or above). When your baby is exposed to the sun for longer periods, they should be protected with a hat, protective clothing and shade wherever possible.