Maria Maksoudian, Senior Brand Manager for Johnson’s Baby talks to us about cleansing and moisturising tiny tot’s skin, and the importance of baby massage.
Nobody knows a baby’s needs better than his or her mother; first-time mothers included. They learn very quickly how to respond to their baby’s cues and yearn to provide the best care they can for their bundle of joy.
But caring for a baby is not always easy, especially when it comes to their skin, as there could be unwanted irritations, rashes and infections that distress the baby and worry mums. When this happens, new moms are seeking advice on how to care for their baby’s skin either from paediatricians or from their own mums and other young mums in their circle of trust, who all rush with information and support to enable them to cope.
Knowing beforehand how to best treat a baby’s skin can prepare young mums to take care of their baby more efficiently, without getting stressed and alarmed. It’s important for them to understand the physiology of skin in general, especially the differences between the skin of a baby and that of an adult. Skin, the biggest organ of the body, as we all know, acts as a protective barrier against attacks from external organisms and toxins, including irritants and allergens. So, healthy skin is a baby’s first line of defence.
But a baby’s skin is more delicate and vulnerable, and less resistant to bacteria and harmful environmental substances, and therefore more prone to irritations and allergic reactions than mature skin. In fact, an infant’s skin is more than ten percent thinner than adult skin and undergoes a number of changes during the first months of life. For example, during this period, the layers of skin, the epidermis and the dermis, are further developing and there is a noticeable change in the baby’s skin pH surface and desquamation (the peeling of the skin, a very common aspect in the neonatal stage). As a result, an infant’s skin gains and loses moisture more rapidly and it requires a higher level of hydration and moisturisation than mature skin.
The ABC of cleansing and moisturising a baby’s skin
A fine balance is necessary between cleansing newborn skin and preserving its natural defence properties. The cleansers used need to be extremely mild in their properties to prevent the excessive removal of oils from the skin’s surface, which are essential to protecting the newborn’s skin. It’s highly recommended to use cleansing products that are specifically made for babies, and are mild for a sensitive baby’s skin to prevent various skin conditions, such as irritant dermatitis and allergic dermatitis.
Your baby’s brand-new skin is not only thinner and more sensitive than yours, but it also produces fewer moisturising oils; that is why it gets easily irritated and dry. Both humid and cold air can be particularly damaging.
To help you protect your baby’s skin and prevent it from getting dry and irritated, we rounded up some tips and advice that will help moms navigate through the first year and beyond as smoothly as possible.
Follow the steps below, which will help you provide a healthy skincare routine and an important bonding experience for you and your little one:
1. Keep baths short and sweet, and use lukewarm water because it’s less drying (and safe too) than hot water. Add a few drops of baby oil to the bath water to help soften baby skin. If you need to remove cradle cap, gently massage baby’s scalp with oil, then shampoo his fine hair.
2. Make sure to always use baby products that are gentle, mild and hypoallergenic, such as baby oil, which is pure, safe and gentle. It is made of only three ingredients and does not contain any preservatives, additives or colouring.
3. After bathing, gently pat baby’s skin because it’s time for moisturising. Pour a coin size amount of oil in your palms and rub hands together to warm it, then gently spread and massage all over the baby’s body.
4. Fast absorbing, the baby oil is specifically formulated to moisturise and protect your baby’s soft and sensitive skin: it locks in up to 10 times more moisture on wet skin than many lotions on dry skin. What’s more, it doesn’t strip any natural oils from the skin; and it helps strengthen your baby’s natural barrier to keep your baby’s skin protected.
Massaging oil on baby’s skin boasts a huge array of benefits. It has a great effect on soothing and calming infants, who show fewer stress behaviours (it has been proven to lower saliva cortisol levels, which is an index of stress), and also helps to promote better and longer sleep patterns. It stimulates the circulatory and digestive system to help relieve colic and it facilitates weight gain in preterm infants. It also encourages muscular coordination and suppleness to prepare babies for physical skills such as walking. In short, it fosters a sense of contentment and well-being for both the baby and the mother.