When babies are born they remain in hospital on average for 1-5 days. During this time parents receive information on how to manage the needs of their child such as feeding and bathing. Information about skincare for your baby can be conflicting, here are The Two Great Myths About Baby Skin Care:
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Only 1 in 10 of adults with children under the age of 12 claim to have developed a skincare routine for their child from day one, according to research from leading sensitive skincare expert, La Roche-Posay. However, this goes against expert advice, which confirms that it is essential to adopt a nourishing skincare routine from birth to help avoid skin conditions in later life. Here are two big myths that new parents can get conflicting advice on:
Myth 1: Baby Skincare is Not Advisable from Birth
There is a misconception that baby skin does not require a skincare routine from day one.
According to Dr. Nikki Ralph, Consultant Dermatologist with La Roche-Posay, advises starting your baby’s skincare routine from birth, as studies now show that transepidermal water loss begins shortly after a baby is delivered.
Children who are at risk of developing atopic dermatitis may still do so, but to a lesser degree than if they had no regular emollient therapy.
Dr Ralph advises new parents to apply an emollient daily from day one of birth.
Myth 2: Babies Do Not Need to be Bathed from Birth
There’s also a misconception that babies do not need to be bathed from birth. Dr. Ralph, who recommends daily bathing from day one, points out that parents are most commonly advised to bathe their baby once a week in a gentle soap or baby shampoo.
However, she suggests bathing your baby once daily for a couple of minutes as an infant, and then gradually increasing to 5-7 minutes as they grow, no longer than 10 for a child.
Babies should not be exposed to any fragranced products, instead opting for fragrance-free gentle emollients.
Once they are bathed they should have a layer of emollient applied to the entire skin and then be clothed in cotton clothing.
For babies who develop eczema or are from a high-risk family they may have emollients applied with each nappy change.
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Tips for managing dry skin/eczema from infancy:
#1. Start from birth
Studies show that transepidermal water loss begins shortly after a baby is delivered, therefore if one includes regular emollient use from day 1 the child knows no different and will accept that this is “routine” and this may prevent a child with a known family history of eczema and a genetic predisposition to this condition, from developing dry skin or at least from reducing the severity of atopic dermatitis
#2. Apply an emollient at nappy change time
Emollients should be applied with each nappy change in infancy
#3. Increase the applications as baby grows into toddler
Emollients should be applied 3-4 times/day for toddlers/young children
#4. Soften the emollient if it’s cold
Some emollients should be softened prior to application if they are cold/firm
#5. Follow the direction of hair growth
Apply the emollient in smooth, long downward strokes, in the direction of hair growth so that one does not cause folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle, which looks like spots on the skin)
#6. Encourage your child to learn how to apply their own emollient from an early age
This allows them a certain amount of independence and results in responsibility for their own skincare with time.
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Parent Opinions on Baby Skin Care
The recent study on behalf of La Roche-Posay* showed that more than half (58%) of adults with children under 12 claimed that their child has suffered with a dry/sensitive skin condition.
A similar cohort (53%) of parents claimed their child’s sensitive skin condition developed in the first 3 months after birth, with almost 8 in 10 (77%) claiming it developed within the first year.
Of these, the most common skin conditions experienced were dry skin (56%), nappy rash (48%), cradle cap (45%) and eczema (44%).
Over 2 in 5 (44%) of parents surveyed with children who have had a skin condition, claim to have felt undue stress, anxiety or guilt as a result of their child’s skin condition.
* Research was conducted by Empathy Research across a nationally representative sample of 1005 adults aged 18+. In the total sample of 1,005, there were 293 parents of children under 12. Fieldwork was conducted from 9th – 16th March 2018.
Over to you now. What’s your experience of baby skin care? Did you bathe your baby from day one? Tell us your experience in the comments below.