Dry Skin In Babies
What’s the best way to look after your baby’s skin? That’s a question which causes a great deal of anxiety for new parents: newborns are so tiny, and their delicate, almost translucent skin seems so very fragile. After nine months in a gentle sea of amniotic fluid, anything you put on their skin is new to them, and many babies do indeed react with rashes, irritation, dryness, and cracked skin.
In fact, dry skin is so common as to be almost normal in little ones, and as a qualified antenatal teacher and the community manager at Balmonds Skincare, I’m often asked to explain what causes it and how best to manage it. Here are my top tips for keeping your baby’s skin soft and smooth.
Less is more
Daily baths aren’t necessary and can even be counterproductive! Babies need a healthy skin microbiome to support their developing immune system and keep the skin barrier functioning effectively. Sadly, frequent baths don’t help: prolonged contact with hot water can cause trans-epidermal moisture loss, so keep any baths short, sweet and cool. Daily top and tailing with warm water or a neutral oil is really all you need! Top tip: if your baby loves a bath, add a splash of Balmonds Bath & Body Oil to the water, or smooth it on immediately after drying.
Ban the bubbles & the scents!
It’s worth avoiding bubbles - foaming washes, shampoos, soaps - for as long as possible. Detergents bind to grease and are washed away: great for cleaning dirty hands or clothes, but not so great for the natural oils in skin, which also bind to detergents and get stripped away, leaving skin dry and vulnerable to cracking. Perfumed products have a similar drying effect, so keep bubble baths and nice-smelling shampoos until your little ones are older; you’ll find that babies rarely need their hair washed until they’re smearing themselves with breakfast!
Top tip: if you want a foaming wash, find an unfragranced SLS-free alternative like Balmonds Natural Shampoo & Body Wash.
Dry or eczema-prone skin needs emollients, and plenty of them! A good, unscented moisturiser will act as an extra layer of protection for the skin barrier - a kind of oily raincoat to keep moisture in and the big wide world out. If your baby’s skin looks
irritated, dry or cracked, apply an emollient ointment or oil frequently throughout the day; you can’t overdo moisturising, so feed that thirsty skin whenever necessary.
Top tip: reach for an oil-based ointment or balm rather than a water-based cream for really intensive hydration without the sting.
Go natural! So many ingredients can cause irritation on sensitive new skin: fragrance, SLS, preservatives, alcohol etc. Look for products (like Balmonds Skin Salvation) that have a short, simple, easy-to-understand ingredients list, and which contain nourishing natural extracts to support the regeneration and repair of dry skin.
Top tip: look for emollients that contain EFA-rich oils like hemp seed, borage, safflower to act as a kind of topical vitamin supplement for depleted skin!
Lucy Gulland, Balmonds Skincare
You can visit our baby eczema friendly product page here