A baby when born is very delicate and gentle. The environment outside the womb is new to them. Add to that their delicate skin which is usually very sensitive in most babies. When born, babies have thin skin so special care is necessary for nourishing and taking care of their skin.
Luckily, skin care essentials for babies are simple to follow and implement, where the key mantra is ‘less is more’.
Nourishing skIncare for babies
A few basic pointers to keep in mind while caring for a baby’s skin are mentioned below.
- Use water sparingly
A baby’s skin is wrinkly at birth along with being dry. The dry skin slowly clears out on its own in a few days. However, if a small baby is given frequent baths the skin will be robbed of its natural moisture and become even more dry and scaly. Thus, baths should be kept at a minimum for a small baby, say 2 to 3 times in a week. Or you could even give sponge baths and just clean the genitals and creases more thoroughly, albeit gently. A cleanser can be used to get rid of dirt and bacteria. In case the baby has hair, a shampoo can be used every time you give a full body bath. Once the little one has grown by a few months the regularity of baths can increase.
- Choose ingredients and products carefully
Ideally, a baby must not be smothered with a number of products. Choose just a few basic ingredients and choose them with care, ensuring they are free of chemicals, fragrances, and any other ingredients that can cause irritation to a baby or is a health hazard. A basic cleanser is necessary to clean away the dust, sweat and bacteria from the body. Soap-free cleaners are best recommended along with tearless shampoos for the hair. A moisturizer is a must for the baby’s skin but a good option would be to choose from petroleum jelly or ointments, or creams over commercial lotions. Wet wipes must be alcohol-free, or a better alternative to clean the genitals is to use a washcloth and water. A diaper cream is a must to avoid infections but either petroleum jelly or zinc oxide creams are best for the baby. The ingredients and composition of all the products must be carefully read before choosing an appropriate one.
- Protection against the sun
A baby is too small to have skin thick enough to provide protection against the sun. Therefore, for babies upto 6 months, direct exposure to the sun must be avoided. Also, cover them with full sleeve clothes and pants plus hats that keep the harmful rays of the sun away. If at all exposure to the sun cannot be avoided, use a sunscreen with spf 30 and one containing zinc oxide.
Additional skincare tips
Apart from keeping in mind the basic skin care essentials, remember to change your baby’s diapers regularly. Staying in soiled diapers for long can lead to rashes and infections. So, change diapers often and use a cream or jelly after cleaning the area. Also, clean the drool or spit of a baby immediately before it dries and irritates the skin. And remember to moisturize the baby especially in the areas exposed often to water and drying.