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The doctor’s advice: Knowing the skin of your baby 

Babies are born with a fatty substance with different functions. One of them is to protect the baby against dehydration and infections of the completely new environment.

A lot of factors can contribute to a dry skin. Among the external causes we have to mention the climate, environmental and chemical aggressions. The dry environments, the cold, the wind and humidity as well as the excessive use of detergents can cause dehydration in the skin with apparition of dry or flaking skin, etc.

Maintain the skin’s baby hydrated

When bathing the baby, the usage of aggressive soaps should be avoided as well as sponges and other object such us an exfoliating glove, mitten, brushes, etc. which might irritate the cutaneous surface.

Do not apply any perfumes or cologne directly in the corporal surface because they can irritate and increase the dryness of the skin.

The election of gel and shampoo for the shower is something that should be paid more attention. When it comes to buying any of these products we should know their pH and always use a children’s line of products, created specially to protect and pamper their skin.

It is very important to maintain the skin well hydrated. In order to do so hydrating lotions and/or body milks with an emollient action, that soften the skin and increase elasticity will be used. So not use substances with a lot of perfume, the baby’s skin has more capacity to absorb substances from the environment.

Dryness can cause stinging and irritation.

For the scalp it is recommended to use shampoos with washing basis.

It is advisable for the parents or the person who takes care of the baby to cut their nails correctly. It must be taken in consideration that some clothes made of wool or artificial fibres or wrap up him or her too warm can increase the itching on the skin of the baby especially if he or she has atopic skin.

In the next posts we will explain in detail some of these aspects and advices. As we know so well, the skin is the most extensive organ in the human body and while in an adult it just represents a 3% of his or her weigh but for a new born it represents a 13%. This is just the starting point to determine why it is so important and necessary to take care and hydrate the children’s skin.

Additionally, there are some decisive factors that encourage to consider the hydration as an indispensable process in the children’s daily live.

Babies lose water through perspiration

In their early years babies can’t control correctly their perspiration, so that they lose “water” excessively, even more when they are too wrap up. That is why it is recommended bathing the kid frequently, otherwise eruptions or irritations can be produced in their skin especially the warm months.

 

The skin of the baby doesn’t produce the fat necessary

Unlike adults, the baby’s skin has sebaceous glands incapable of producing the necessary fat which can cause dryness. That is why if when bathing the baby, you sense rough zones, you should hydrate his or her skin with emollients or hydrating creams.

The pH of the baby’s skin makes him or her vulnerable

When being born the skin of the babies has an almost natural pH of 6.5 (level of acidity or alkalinity of the skin) which makes the skin prone to be habitat for microbes because lacks the necessary acidity level to be protected.

The most prone zones to suffer dryness or infections are the back, shoulders, elbows, knees, feet and hands. In addition, we can’t forget that the skin behind the ears is more prone to get flaky due to its thinness and delicateness, therefore it must be hydrated frequently.

It is necessary to recall that the baby’s skin must be cleaned everyday carefully and dress the baby with cotton clothes directly over the skin to avoid irritations.

Besides the skin, the hair and nails of the baby should be taken care of too

In the new born and breastfed the scalp doesn’t need any special care because it has a moult of hair called “telogen effluvium of the new born”, with it the hair is renewed completely before the last moult, typical of the human being, and it occurs normally in the first year of life.

It is important not only the care of the skin but also the care of the hair and nails. The nails will be kept well cut and clean from the beginning of the baby’s life in order to avoid self-scratches and contaminations or infections.

And we don’t have to forget that the behaviour acquired as a kid normally remain all the his or her life.

Dra. Montserrat Pérez  – Dermatóloga (Nº col 10630)

Clínica Dermatológica de Moragas - Carelia Petits