With skin so smooth and delicate, it’s hard to resist stroking your baby’s face and admiring your little bundle of perfection. However, as your newborn’s skin adjusts to life on the outside, it is highly sensitive and vulnerable to chemicals, sun exposure.
So you might wonder – like many new mums and dads – how to keep your baby’s skin away from potential irritants. Well, here are a few simple tips:
Choose a gentle soap-free wash
A newborn’s skin is very sensitive and is still adjusting to the outside world. The surface of their skin is very permeable, so whatever you put on may be absorbed into the body.
Many skin care products contain chemical ingredients, preservatives and fragrances that can strip the skin of its natural oils and make it more vulnerable to irritation. However, some mild skincare products exist that help keep your baby’s skin soft while cleansing and refreshing the skin gently. One example is Dermeze, a non-irritant soap-free face and body wash, which contains moisture boosting glycerol that won’t block pores or leave your baby’s skin feeling dry.
Prevent nappy rash
Nappy rash can be very painful for little ones, leaving skin red, tender and sore. The cleaner and drier your baby’s bottom, the less likely skin irritation is to occur.
Keep baby clean by wiping or washing their bottom during each nappy change, avoiding the use of alcohol-based wipes. Allow the skin to dry completely before putting on fresh nappies, and be sure to give them a few minutes of nappy-free time each day to allow skin to breathe.
Skip the fragrance
As much as you want your baby to smell heavenly all day, it's best to choose a cleanser that is free of any scent. Perfume, as well as soap and alcohol, is a known skin irritant that can cause an allergic reaction. The same goes for natural fragrances, such as plant extracts or essential oils. Although natural products may seem gentler, they are not necessarily a safer bet.
When looking for a baby-care product, the fewer ingredients the better. Familiarise yourself with the ingredients and claims used on product labels such as 'alcohol-free' or 'fragrance-free' to become more savvy in looking after your baby’s skin.
Moisturise to keep hydrated
Massaging a bit of moisturising cream onto your little one’s skin can increase hydration after a bath. However, it's best not to use the same product on your baby as you do on your own body. Find a moisturiser that’s especially formulated for the sensitive skin of babies – it should be a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic ointment or cream, rather than a lighter lotion.
Skip the night-time bath
Many parents tend to obsess over keeping their baby clean, making sure their little ones don’t go to bed without some bath time. The thing is babies don’t need much cleaning at all.
In fact, it is recommended to bathe an infant only three times a week or less to keep the skin from drying out. Excessive washing can dry out skin.
So unless your baby absolutely needs a bath before being put to bed, consider simply wiping them clean with water instead.
Wash clothes wisely
It’s an extra task but it pays to wash your baby’s clothes using a gentle fragrance and dye-free laundry detergent, resulting in less chemical residue being left behind. It's also advisable to wash new clothes and linen before their first use, to avoid the new material causing any irritation.
These tips are relevant for the care of all babies, but are also helpful if you personally have sensitive skin, as some skin conditions appear to be hereditary.
The information provided in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about the topics discussed, please speak to a healthcare professional.
Dermeze is the registered trademark of Aspen Pharmacare Australia.