Have you ever stroked a baby’s face and felt their soft and gentle skin? Baby skin is untouched and pure, just the way nature intended it to be. Haven’t you heard of the phrase “as smooth as a baby’s bottom?” Now you know what that means!
Baby skin is super soft, but it’s also super vulnerable. It’s more susceptible to dryness as it is a lot thinner than an adult’s skin. It is also more permeable, which means that anything applied on the skin’s surface is easily absorbed into the body. Babies are also born with low immunity, and their skin is prone to infections and reactions to anything applied to it.
This is why experts recommend not applying any product on a newborn’s skin other than water. It is important to give baby’s skin some time to get accustomed to the world outside the womb. As a baby grows older, you have to start applying products to hold the moisture in and prevent the skin from drying out.
This is where baby skincare products enter the picture. Using off the counter products can be extremely drying to baby skin, and the ingredients can cause allergic reactions. This is why child care experts recommend using products specially formulated for babies.
Then again, there are so many options out there that it’s easy to get confused. Since this is a question of baby’s health, you want to be sure you’re picking the right baby skincare products. Let us help make your task easier with these helpful tips to choose the right skincare products for your baby.
- Stick to Basics
Babies need a lot of care and by sticking to the essentials, you make life easier for yourself and safer for your baby.
Baby soap or baby wash is something that most parents can’t do without since it’s necessary for cleansing. For most babies, parents use soap to wash their hair as well. However, if your baby has thick hair, you should opt for baby shampoo.
One of the main purposes of baby skincare products is to prevent dryness, which is why a baby lotion may be needed. This is usually applied after baby’s bath. Your baby will also need a diaper rash cream, which is specially formulated for the baby’s delicate skin.
Another baby essential is baby oil, which is used more as a massage oil rather than as a moisturizer since baby skin doesn’t absorb oil very well. Excess oil on the skin can also make baby slippery and can be dangerous.
Besides these, nothing else is necessary for babies. Make sure that you don’t use baby powder as most of them contain talc, which can cause serious respiratory issues.
- Avoid Synthetic Ingredients
You should always read the ingredient label before making any purchase for your baby. Make sure the products you buy for your baby are free from synthetics of any kind. You’ll be surprised how many how harmful chemicals are present in most baby products.
Look out for these ingredients:
Parabens – Parabens have been banned in the European Union, but can still be found in other countries. They have been known to cause infertility, breast cancer, and other hormone issues.
Phthalates – Phthalates can mimic estrogen and can lead to infertility and birth defects. They are also linked to asthma, ADHD, and many other cognitive issues.
Mineral Oil – This is usually a category of petroleum products, and besides causing cancer, it can also clog up pores and prevent the skin from breathing.
Dimethicone – This is a skin irritant and is not easily absorbed. As a result, it sits on the skin, preventing it from breathing.
Fragrance – It used an umbrella term that can refer to practically anything. Baby products should not contain fragrance as they can cause skin reactions and irritations.
Anti-Bacterial/Anti-Microbial – This may sound like it’s extra safe for babies, but it actually isn’t. Overuse of anti-microbial products can lead to issues like antibiotic resistance in the long run.
- Look for Naturally Healing Ingredients
So you know what ingredients are bad and that you should avoid them. But it is equally important to know what ingredients are safe for your baby and can help nourish their delicate skin. Here are some natural healing ingredients.
Aloe Vera – Aloe vera is one of the gentlest ingredients for skin. With Vitamins A, B, C, and E, aloe Vera is excellent for moisturizing skin and also soothes irritated skin.
Almond Oil – Almond oil is nourishing for both skin and hair, thanks to Vitamin A, B2, B6, and E. This helps lock in moisture and keeps baby skin smooth.
Olive Oil – Olive oil also helps keep baby skin soft and smooth. It contains Vitamin E, the skin-friendly ingredient, that’s safe enough to be eaten.
Chickpeas – Traditionally, chickpea flour has been used to heal skin problems and cleanse the skin. This is an excellent and safe way to keep skin soft and nourished.
- Go Organic
Nowadays, organic products are more easily available than earlier, and if you can get your hands on organic baby products, that’s the best you can do for your little one’s health and safety.
Just ensuring that your product contains natural ingredients is not enough – you need to know how they are grown. Organic skincare products for babies contain ingredients that are grown without any kind of chemicals, whether fertilizers or pesticides. Several studies have linked the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to cancers and endocrine disruptions.
They are good for the environment and the planet as you are not polluting the soil and water by washing harmful chemicals down the drain.
- Look for Certifications
Going organic is great, but make sure you are choosing a brand that is indeed organic and is not just claiming to be so. To be known as ‘organic,’ a product has to pass certain tests, and the manufacturing process has to fulfill certain conditions. Check for certification from an authentic authority. Multiple certifications from various boards are a good sign. Reach out to support and ask questions to clear your doubts.
Another thing to remember is that not everything that is labeled ‘natural’ or ‘herbal’ is safe for babies. In fact, some herbs and plants may actually be harmful or cause allergies. Speaking of allergies, go for products that are hypoallergenic. This means that they have a very low risk of an allergic reaction when applied.
- Consider the pH Balance
After a few weeks of birth, your baby’s skin pH gets slightly acidic. This is a protective mechanism by the skin as the baby adjusts to the world outside the womb. Getting a pH level as close to the baby’s skin will be the least harmful for her.
Products that are more alkaline, like regular soaps, can irritate and dry out baby skin. Many brands mention the exact pH level, so you can decide if it’s alkaline or acidic.
Some brands mention ‘pH balanced’ or ‘pH neutral’ on their packaging; these are okay for most babies. Some brands only mention mild or ultra-mild, which does not represent how acidic or alkaline the product really is.
Whatever product you choose for your baby, make sure to do a patch test first. Apply a small amount of the product on a small portion of the baby’s arm or leg and wait for 24 hours. The product is safe to use if there is no reaction. If you notice any redness or rashes, don’t use the product for your baby.
If your baby is vulnerable to dry skin or has skin conditions like eczema, use skincare products recommended by the pediatrician. You may have to go out of your way and take extra care to avoid certain ingredients to keep them safe.