There is nothing as soft and delicate as your baby’s skin and, as a new parent, you naturally want to do everything possible to protect and nurture it. But did you know that skin plays a powerful role in the body’s immune function? Your baby’s skin is a barrier between them and the outside world—keeping water in and banishing unwanted things like bacteria, allergens and dust. Treating it right in the first months of life can go a long way to reducing sensitivities later on.
That’s why the products you use on your baby’s skin—and how you use them—are so important for your baby’s well-being. “During the first month of your newborn’s life, irritating skin products can disrupt the skin barrier, which protects against infections and inflammation,” explains Dr. Marissa Joseph, a paediatric dermatologist in Toronto as well as the medical director of the Ricky Kanee Schachter Dermatology Centre at Women’s College Hospital. There are a number of things to keep in mind when it comes to family skin care.
To keep your baby’s skin from drying out, only bathe them a few times a week in lukewarm water using a mild cleanser free from dyes, phthalates and fragrances. Be sure to rinse away all the cleanser so nothing is left on your baby’s skin. In between baths you can spot-clean any soiled areas by gently washing with a soft washcloth.
Lock in moisture
It’s very important after your baby’s bath to lock in the moisture from the water so your baby’s skin doesn’t dry out and to replenish the skin barrier. Start by patting your baby dry (don’t rub!), then applying an emollient-style moisturizer in a thin layer all over their body. (Avoid letting the moisturizer build up in skin folds.) In addition, you can incorporate moisturizing into your routine several times a day—maybe as a nice massage before naps or after a feeding—especially if your baby’s skin feels or looks dry. And lather it on yourself while you’re at it!
Keep an eye on your baby’s skin. “Skin irritation, inflamed patches or bumps on baby’s skin can be very painful for a baby,” notes Dr. Joseph. This is especially true in the winter when skin loses moisture more rapidly due to low humidity. Keep moisturizing and consider a healing and repair cream, she suggests.
A note on eczema
Eczema is an itchy skin rash that often shows up on your baby’s forehead, cheeks or scalp. It can look like dry, itchy, scaly skin or tiny red bumps that blister, ooze or become infected. If your baby has signs of eczema, increase your baby’s baths to once a day and moisturize afterward. Dress your baby in loose, cotton fabrics, and if the rash persists, see your doctor.
Bioderma’s Atoderm Cleansing Oil is a gentle, dermatologically-tested cleanser free from parabens, soap, colourant and preservatives ideal for your baby’s bath and suitable for all family members, from older siblings to mom and dad. Endorsed by the Psoriasis Association, the cleanser is non-greasy and hydrates for 24 hours.
For a go-to moisturizer—whether it’s after the bath or any other time of day—Atoderm’s Intensive Balm goes the extra mile by helping to improve the skin barrier, reducing visible redness, limiting irritation and reducing the urge to scratch—key for any family members with dry, itchy skin or eczema—even babies as young as six months. This rapidly absorbing balm is endorsed by the Eczema Society of Canada.
These products, as well as the rest of the Atoderm line, is available at Shoppers Drug Mart.
Keep an eye out on the Today’s Parent feed for Bioderma’s Parent’s of Influence program in the fall, featuring three popular Canadian moms who are trying the Atoderm line on themselves and their families.