As with anything that has to do with health and wellness, it’s always wise to seek the advice of an expert when it comes to general baby care. With 27 years in pedia practice, Dr. Royce Mangubat shares useful baby care information on baby care, especially for babies with sensitive skin.
On all babies having sensitive skin
Newborn skin is ultra-sensitive to a host of potential irritants. Some might cause bumps, other a bright red rash. Most of these blemishes are perfectly normal and will pass with time, especially if you know how to treat them.
Some of the functional characteristics that may make your baby’s skin vulnerable:
- In babies, the dermis—the layer of the skin that protects the body from mechanical stress and temperature change—is much thinner than in normal adults. This makes baby’s skin less resilient.
- Infant skin can be more susceptible to infection. Infant skin has not yet fully developed the defenses to protect itself from certain bacteria, and babies do not have fully effective immune systems to fight off infection.
- Babies have reduced sweating capability, compared to normal adults. This affects their ability to reduce body temperature through sweating. In addition to affecting body processes, this decreased ability to sweat may contribute to rashes.
A baby’s skin is especially susceptible to external irritants. This may be related to the relatively higher lipid content of a baby’s skin, which makes it easier for fat-soluble substances (which may be irritants) to pass through the skin. Friction that occurs between clothing and skin, diaper and skin, or two areas of skin breaks down the skin and may make it easier for irritating substances to penetrate a baby’s skin.
On how to know whether your baby has sensitive skin or not
If your baby gets recurrent rashes and dry skin, you may need to take extra precautions to keep their delicate skin healthy. Babies with sensitive skin can be irritated by certain soaps, lotions, detergents, frequent bathing and temperature changes. If your baby’s skin reacts to any of these, they likely have sensitive skin.
On how premature babies tend to have sensitive skin
Babies who are born early can have very thin and tender skin. The earlier the baby was born, the more sensitive the skin. This thin skin can be easily injured. The skin will get stronger by the time your baby is three to four weeks old.
On baby care and bathing babies with sensitive skin
- Make the first baths quick ones. Fill the tubs with only 2 or 3 inches of warm—not hot—water.
- Use one hand to support baby’s head, then slowly lower him or her.
- Using a washcloth or baby bath sponge, wash the face and hair. When rinsing, protect the eyes with your hand across the forehead.
- Gently wash the rest of your baby’s body with water and a small amount of cleanser designed for babies.
- To keep your baby warm during the bath, cup your hand to let handfuls of water wash over your baby’s chest.
- Gently pat your baby dry. Apply baby lotion all over to seal in moisture.
- Now it’s time for a fresh diaper. Apply diaper ointment to protect against irritation.
- When bath time is over, wrap your baby in a towel right away, covering baby’s head for warmth.
On whether water is enough for baby baths
You can wash your baby with just water if you want to. Some babies love being in warm water, and a bath can become an enjoyable ritual for you both. However, there’s no need to give your baby a bath every day during the first month or so. In fact, doing so could dry out your baby’s skin, especially if you use soap or bubble bath.
You may think that water-only baths are the gentlest way to keep your baby’s skin clean, especially if he or she is very young. In fact, a lot depends on whether you live in a soft-water or a hard-water area. It may also depend on whether you have a family history of eczema and whether your baby has signs of dry skin.
On what to avoid or look for in a baby wash
After the baby is about a month old, it’s okay to use a daily moisturizer, depending on the dryness of your baby’s skin. Sometimes ointments are more effective than creams in keeping the skin moist.
It is also best to choose non-scented mild soaps and laundry detergents, avoiding fabric softener, and being careful with alcohol-based wipes and soaps.
Did you learn something new, mommies? Tell us what you think by leaving a comment below.
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