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How to take care of the skin of infants and children?

The skin serves as the body's primary defence against external aggressors. To maintain its protective functions, it is crucial to take care of it. This is even more true for newborns and children, whose skin is more delicate than that of adults and requires special attention. Here are all our tips for taking care of baby's skin.

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Advice No.1: Use suitable skincare products.

Baby's skin tends to be thinner and drier than that of adults. The fragility of their skin barrier necessitates the daily application of nourishing and protective balms and milks, rich in avocado oil, mango butter, or shea butter. It is preferable to use one's hands to apply the treatments and to rub gently. Indeed, a washcloth can be too rough for a baby's soft skin and harbour bacteria. Rinse thoroughly then pat gently the skin with a soft and fluffy towel, not forgetting the folds, to absorb all the moisture and reduce the risk of irritation.

When it comes to selecting products to use, we recommend opting for skincare products with a simple formulation as possible, in order to minimise the risk of allergies. In children and infants, colourants, fragrances, alcohol derivatives and foaming agents should be avoided as they often prove to be irritating and can cause redness, itching and skin dryness.

Advice No. 2: Space out the baths.

Water, particularly if it contains limestone, can disrupt the pH and the almost non-existent hydrolipidic barrier of a baby's skin. Indeed, even though it may seem counter-intuitive, water has a drying effect on the skin. Newborns are naturally prone to skin dryness, so it's better to minimise risks and limit baths to 2 or 3 times a week. On other days, a body milk cleanse is sufficient. During bath time, also ensure not to use water that's too hot, as it could irritate the baby's skin

Advice No. 3: Properly hydrate the skin of newborns.

It is crucial tomoisturise daily your baby's skin to protect it against external elements such as wind, cold, dust, and pollution. The application of a balm, milk, or moisturising cream in the morning and evening helps to partially compensate for the fragility of their skin. As with other care products, we recommend you opt for a moisturiser specifically designed to meet the needs of infants and has a minimalist formula. Apply the care product to the entire face and body, gently massaging it in, and don't forget the area behind the ears, which is prone to redness and irritation and often overlooked.

Advice No. 4: Choose soft materials for clothing and household linens.

Caring for the skin of infants and children also involves minimising friction. The rubbing against clothes, bed sheets or bath towels can irritate their still sensitive skin, so it is advisable to choose garments made of natural fabric such as cotton or linen. The same goes for household linens. Another tip: don't forget to cut off the labels to prevent itching.

Children's clothing, especially that of infants, should be changed daily, particularly in the event of nappy accidents, bottle spills, stains, etc... Furthermore, when it comes to cleaning household linen and children's and baby's clothes, it is recommended to pay attention to the choice of laundry detergent. A detergent without perfumes or allergens, specifically formulated for washing their items, is ideal.

Advice No. 5: Avoid exposure to the sun.

Still unable to protect itself from ultraviolet rays, children's skin must be rigorously shielded from the sun. Any direct exposure should be absolutely avoided, as studies have established a strong correlation between sun exposure in young children and the development of melanoma once they reach adulthood. When you go out with your child on sunny days, it is important that they wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, covering clothing and a sunscreen with an SPF of 50. Furthermore, it is preferable to use only mineral filters for children under two years of age, due to their skin's high permeability and the risk of allergies.

Sources

  • ATHERTON D. & MILLS K. What can be done to maintain the health of a baby's skin? RCM Midwives (2004).

  • KOLLIAS N. & al. Infant skin physiology and development during the first years of life: a review of recent findings based on in vivo studies. International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2010).

  • HACHEM J. P. & al. Infant epidermal skin physiology: adaptation after birth. British Journal of Dermatology (2012).

  • LOW K. Y. & WALLACE M. Prevalence of potential contact allergens in baby cosmetic products. Clinical and experimental dermatology (2019).

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