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Natural Skin Care for Babies

August 10, 2017

Natural Skin Care for Babies

A Baby's Skin Needs Special Care

A baby’s skin is different from our own, and premmies, or Preterm birth babies, have their own very specific needs.  So while these tips are great for most newborns, you should check with a professional for your premmies’ skin care routine.

Skincare for Newborns

A babies’ skin acts like our own, locking in moisture and keeping dangerous fungal and bacterial infections out of our bodies.  The big difference is that their skin is much thinner in the first year – the top layers of a babies’ skin are about 20-30% thinner during this time. It gradually develops over the year to become more like our own skin.  

Newborn Skin Care and Toxins

Babies’ skin in the first year is also very absorbent, offering less of a barrier to toxic substances. Their systems (like kidney and liver) are also developing, so they can’t process and remove toxins from their bodies as well as older children.  

Their small size also makes them more vulnerable to absorbing toxins through their skin –basically they have a higher skin to body volume ratio than adults. So babies can absorb more chemicals through their skin on a per weight basis when compared to us.

This means baby skin care needs to be pure and very gentle.

Chemicals in Baby Skin Care Products

We have grown-up surrounded by lots of traditional ‘baby fragrances’, most associated with popular multi-national brands. These fragrances, found in baby talcum powder and shampoos, can be deeply nostalgic; making us feel all safe, cosy and clean.  But many of these baby fragrances and products are actually made from coal and petroleum derived synthetic chemicals.  They can trigger flare-ups in skin conditions like eczema and other baby skin allergies.  For babies, who have much thinner skin for absorbing chemicals, this can lead to irritations.  

Baby Skin Care Australia

Baby skin care ranges are only as pure and gentle as their sources.  Ingredient lists shouldn’t read like a chemistry book and include coal or petroleum by-products. There are lots of great natural sources that are from chemical free environments, many grown without pesticides or near polluting contaminants. The options for all natural, synthetic free skin care are growing, and some of the best baby skin care products are made here in Australia, so check labels for ingredients and sources that avoid chemicals.

Natural Skin Care Products for Babies

Here’s a simple approach to finding the right range that will minimise irritation, moisturise and avoid contact with nasty chemicals.  As a guide aim for baby skin care products that are:

  • Free from PEG’s (polyethylene glycols are petroleum-based compounds)
  • Contain no mineral oils or sulphates
  • No artificial fragrances or colours

How to Care for Baby Skin

Here’s how to keep babies’ skin clean, hydrated and irritant free. This routine won’t upset the skin’s natural pH balance and creates a calming and happy bath time.

Newborn Skin Care Bath Time

  • Try short baths (5-10 minutes) in warm water, about 4-5 per week (or as needed)
  • Use a cleanser with a natural pH (5.5. to 7.0). Use fragrance-free, hypo-allergenic products. Avoid perfumes and dyes
  • Add a few drops of natural oil to moisturise skin. Careful as they may be a bit more slippery to handle when wet.
  • The natural oil also makes a great conditioner for baby’s hair
  • Very gently pat dry with a towel. Avoid fabric softeners in towels – they make them feel soft, but they also load them up with fragrances and chemicals.

Babies Skin Care – Massage Time 

A post-bath massage is a lovely time to add moisture to protect their skin, relax bub, and do some calm bonding.  This can be a very emotionally comforting routine for both parents and baby.

  • Choose a baby oil base that is all natural. Additional calming ingredients include chamomile oil (also contains alpha-bisabolol that has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties) or small amounts of lavender oil.
  • Basically, use oil formulas designed for babies that are free of chemicals, hypoallergenic and low on fragrances (even natural ones.)

Treating Baby Skin Conditions

There are many common baby skin conditions, and most clear in their first year. Even the best routine won’t prevent the occasional nappy rash.  Other skin conditions include cradle cap, a dribble rash, eczema, pink pimples (neonatal acne) and dry skin. 

Depending on the cause you’re probably trying to heal a combination of:

  • Inflamed skin
  • Blistering – with raw patches
  • Itchy patches
  • Dry, flakey skin
  • Blogged oil glands – Milia (little white bumps on face and nose)

Natural Baby Rash Treatments

Natural oils can enhance overall healing. For example, jojoba ‘oil’ has the unique ability to ‘mimic’ our own natural skin sebum.  It forms a protective layer over delicate skin. Jojoba is also great for healing and soothing because it’s naturally:

  • antibacterial
  • antiviral
  • antifungal
  • analgesic (reduces pain)
  • anti-inflammatory
  • hypoallergenic

Simple apply a small amount of jojoba on irritated or inflamed area morning and evening.

Nature Skin Care – Vitamin A

Jojoba 'oil' also contains naturally occurring Vitamin A, known as a skin healer.  Unlike synthetic Vitamin A, it’s safe for babies and to use during pregnancy.

Vitamin A – is an antioxidant vitamin, it helps skin repair, stay moist, and produce enzymes that are used in the production of collagen. Collagen is the base for skin repair

Baby Skin Care Tips for Nappy Rash

While it’s natural for babies’ skin to be exposed to urine or faeces in a nappy, long periods without a nappy change can lead to discomfort, irritation, and infections.  Nappy rashes can be avoided and healed by making some easy changes to your routine and products.

  • Change nappies often
  • Keep nappies loose & avoid plastic cover pants that block air flow
  • Don’t use talcum powder
  • Don’t use baby wipes that contain perfume or alcohol
  • Avoid scented soaps or baby lotions
  • Use a barrier cream or oil to protect and calm inflamed skin
  • Avoid perfumed detergents or fabric softeners if using cloth nappies
  • Make sure cloth nappies are thoroughly rinsed in clean water and completely dry

When to call the doctor? If your babies’ rash doesn’t improve in a few days, becomes oozy, spreads further or they develop a fever (this could be an infection) — time to consult a doctor.

Sun Protection for Babies

Babies and sunblock creams offers lots of complicated choices.  However there’s little disagreement over the absolute need for sun protection. Damage from UV radiation starts very early and accumulates over the years, with serious consequences later, like skin damage and cancer.

Here are some simple guidelines:

  • Infants under six months should avoid direct sunlight because they have a higher chance of overheating
  • Use clothing, hats and shade clothes to provide sun protection
  • Use sunblock creams that are designed specifically for children
  • Minimise the need for sunblock by wearing high SPF protection sun shirts or ‘rashies’ and sunglasses while playing outdoors

Baby Skin Care Products – Keep it Simple

When it comes to baby skin care it’s best to keep it plain and simple, no dyes, artificial colours or fragrances, and no synthetic chemicals.  Their skin, much like ours, will thrive on gentle cleaning, moisture, sun protection and mild healing formulas when it comes to allergies or rashes.  Throw in a little post-bath massage time together and watch them beam with joy.


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