Baby skin is much more delicate than adult skin and hence needs much more care and protection. Here’s what you need to watch out for and do to keep it buttery soft.
Baby skin is delicate and doctors warn that overexposure to the sun during the early childhood years may increase the risk of skin cancers, besides causing wrinkles, freckles, and sunspots that may show up in later years. “Parents of fair-skinned babies have got to be extra careful,” adds Dr. Wadhwa, “since the fair skin has little melanin, a pigment that naturally protects the skin from the sun.”
Avoid taking your baby out in the mid-day sun or post-noon sun; always cover the baby in loose, full-sleeved clothes. Use strollers that come with a sunshade. “Use sunscreens sparingly in the ?rst six months since it can irritate the baby’s skin,” says Dr. Chhabra. “The ideal baby sunscreen should be waterproof with a minimum SPF (sun protection factor) of 20,” explains Dr. Wadhwa. Apply the sunscreen to all exposed parts of the body and reapply every two hours, especially after a dip in the pool or the sea. Sunscreens could be applied throughout the year, even during winter months and cloudy days. However, as the American Academy of Pediatrics, rightly warns, wearing a sunscreen does not make your child safe from UV rays. It merely reduces the number of harmful rays getting through your baby’s skin. Avoiding direct exposure to the sun is the best protection that you can give your child.
Everyday Skin Care
- Begin with bathing the baby. Use a fragrance-free bathing bar with a TFM of at least 75 (higher the TFM, better the bathing soap).
- Never rub the body dry. Use a soft towel and pat dry.
- Slather on a baby cream or moisturizer and gently rub it onto the skin while it is still damp. This will help the skin remain soft and supple.
- Make sure you do not place the baby close to the air conditioner or heater. If you happen to live in a cold area use a humidi?er in the baby’s room to restore air moisture. On the other hand, in humid areas, you can use a dehumidi?er; excess moisture is breeding ground for infection-causing bacteria.
Things to remember
- Skin care products containing dyes, fragrances, and chemicals can irritate the baby’s skin and should be avoided.
- Use only baby products for your child. Adult products, especially creams, and oils, are too thick to be absorbed by the baby’s skin and, therefore, clog the pores. Moreover, the strong perfume of these products may cause allergy.
- Products with natural ingredients (herbs, fruit extracts) are usually safe. However, you need to be cautious if there is a family history of allergy to any of the herbal ingredients.
- A product labeled “hypoallergenic” does not mean that it will not cause allergy but only that it produces fewer allergic reactions compared with other products.