Maintaining healthy skin for your bundle of joy can be slightly overwhelming. How do you care for brand new skin?
Baby skin has never been exposed to city pollution nor been burnt from laying out in the sun too long. It has never suffered PIH from premature pimple popping or been scratched so hard it bled. Baby skin is fresh and perfect. Unadulterated, if you will.
You can keep your little darling’s skin fresh, vibrant, and clear by adhering to a few healthy skin tips along the way. But first, let’s dive into skin function and the importance of healthy skin.
Importance of Maintaining Healthy Skin
Before we delve into why healthy skin is so important and crucial to your overall health, let’s define healthy skin.
Healthy skin is smooth, hydrated, and warm with no visible cracks, bumps or lesions. Healthy skin has abundant collagen and elastin. Think of pinchable baby cheeks… Babies have loads of collagen and elastin in their skin, which contributes to those chubby cheeks we all know and love.
Why is Healthy Skin Important?
The skin is your body’s largest organ and serves the following functions:
- Protects the internal organs from external threats
- Prevents germs and bacteria from entering the body and impacting internal organs
- Regulates body temperature
- Alerts the body of external threat through your sense of touch (think: pain and extreme temperatures)
- Converts sunlight into Vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium (a crucial mineral for bone development)
- Prevents body dehydration by regulating TEWL (transepidermal water loss)
Have a little more appreciation for skin now? Good! Skin plays a crucial role in keeping the rest of your body healthy and disease free.
5 Tips for Maintaining a Baby’s Healthy Skin
Aside from being plump, silky smooth, and downright squeezable, baby skin is ultra sensitive. One day your tot has a perfectly healthy tummy and bum, and the next day you’re staring straight into a painful-looking rash. Sometimes you just can’t win.
Here are a few tips to keeping your baby’s skin healthy and smooth:
Keep Baths Simple
Up until your love bug starts crawling around the house, you really only need three baths a week. While this seems counterintuitive to our adult daily showers, baby skin is very sensitive and prone to dryness and irritating rashes.
After moving to daily baths to remove the dirt, sand, poop, or various other sticky textures from your child’s hands and feet, you may feel tempted to use ample amounts of shampoo to remove the goo. Not so fast! You only need to use sensitive, baby-specific shampoo every other bath (unless there’s a blow-out) and you don’t need very much to get the job done - about a teaspoon-sized amount should suffice.
Opt for Natural Ingredients
While natural isn’t always better, choosing natural or plant-derived ingredients to use on your bean is the best option. Organic skin care or body care products are more likely to be free from irritants like synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and more.
Say “No” to Powder
Diaper rash is an inevitable reality. Whether you just started solid foods and a particular ingredient did not agree with their tummy, or you tried a new brand of diapers since they were out of your go-to brand, your cutie pie will get a rash.
You may be inclined to use baby powder after wiping the area clean with a wet wipe, but experts now advise against the use of baby powder. Instead, opt for an organic or natural diaper rash cream and wipe clean every change.
If you have loads of baby powder sitting in your baby’s nursery, baby powder actually works great as a dry shampoo in a pinch, so save that full bottle of powder (maybe put it in a fancy glass jar) and keep it on your vanity.
Dress in Layers
Not only are your baby’s brain, appendages, muscles, and countless other things developing in the early stages of life, their sweat glands are also in development! This fun fact makes your tiny more inclined to develop an uncomfortable heat rash. Dressing your little one in layers allows you to control the temperature by removing or adding layers as necessary according to the thermostat.
Use a Humidifier
The fall and winter months bring colder weather and dry winds. We combat those cold temperatures by cranking the heater to stay warm. The combination of cold weather and higher thermostat temperatures can lead to a serious case of dry air.
Extended exposure to dry air can cause a bevy of health issues for not only you, but your munchkin as well. Some of these health issues include: dry eyes, dry skin, congestion, sore throat, a proclivity for catching the flu or cold viruses, and more.
Using a humidifier in your baby’s nursery can help raise humidity levels to a comfortable range, which will help your precious baby battle the elements with ease. In order to reap the benefits of humidity, a humidifier must be used for the nursery to reach optimal humidity (40-60%). Always use an evaporative humidifier, to avoid the spread of bacteria and potential mold growth.
How Can a Humidifier Help a Baby?
A humidifier is one of the most useful tools for your baby’s nursery. Whether you are a first-time parent or a seasoned veteran with multiple children, a humidifier is an important device to have on-hand.
Regular use of a humidifier in your baby’s nursery can help to ease cold symptoms including congestion and sore throat, improve dry or irritated skin, and a humidifier can serve as a preventative tool to keep your bundle of joy safe and healthy all year long.
Ease Cold Symptoms
When your little one catches a cold, which most children do at some point in their early life, it can be heart wrenching to watch them struggle. Congestion interferes with their breathing, a dry and itchy throat leads to excessive coughing, and they wriggle in uncomfortability.
A humidifier can help to ease cold symptoms in both adults and children. The increased moisture content from your humidifier device will help to lubricate the throat and nasal passages resulting in congestion relief and the improvement of a dry, scratchy throat.
Improve Dry, Irritated Skin
As we discussed in the previous section, baby skin is very sensitive and requires a little extra TLC. For new parents, it can seem like dry skin or rashes appear out of thin air.
Regular use of a humidifier in your child’s nursery can reduce TEWL resulting in higher levels of moisture on the skin. TEWL is the process of the skin releasing water into the surrounding environment by way of evaporation. Dry and cold weather conditions increase TEWL while warm, humid environments decrease TEWL.
Optimal humidity can improve the moisture content of the skin, which hydrates the skin and reduces the likelihood of eczema flare ups (atopic dermatitis affects 13% of children under 5-years-old).
You don’t have to wait until your little angel gets sick or has an unpleasant eczema flare up to run your humidifier. Humidifiers can serve as a preventative tool, as well.
Maintaining optimal levels of humidity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year can ensure a comfortable, safe, and healthy environment for you and your family. Optimal humidity levels can help to:
- Reduce the spread and survival of viruses
- Ensure proper lubrication of throat and nasal passages to prevent infection, congestion, and cough
- Keep the skin moisture barrier in tact, preventing dry or dehydrated skin
Use your smart thermostat or a handy hygrometer to measure your home humidity levels. Optimal humidity range is 40-60%