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You and Your Baby's Skin

Skin is always at its best in early childhood when weather changes, poor hygiene and the aging process have yet to wreak havoc on its smooth, supple surface. A child's skin especially, requires great care as it is fine textured, delicate and prone to allergic reactions.

Many anxious moms have probably dealt with an assortment of rashes and skin irritations over the years. My now four-year-old child had a terrible allergic reaction at four months old to milk that had dribbled onto her neck and dried within folds of skin, causing her neck area to develop painful blisters. Her pediatrician took one look at the blisters that had been causing crying spells during bath time and recommended a topical ointment. From then on, I had learned to keep a look out for milk or sweat that tend to accumulate within the folds of my daughter's skin that can cause bacteria to grow and irritate the skin.

Heat can also make baby's skin to develop rashes that not only is unsightly but, when left unchecked, can spread to other parts of the face, neck area and body.

Only recently she again had to see a dermatologist as she had these itchy bumps on the skin which looked to me like a fungal infection or buni. She's been having these on and off for months even as I had tried to give her an over the counter ointment like Canesten cream.

Well, it turned out that "Dr. Mom" has been prescribing the wrong type of medicine as the dermatologist said that what had caused the reaction was the soap that I had been using for my daughter.

He recommended a mild soap. But I said, I thought Safeguard is mild soap. Not for baby skin, it isn't, he said.

He said temperature changes, some detergents used for washing baby's clothes and even alcohol (used on the skin) can cause irritation, leaving the skin red and blotchy. So is using washcloths and rough face towels, and loofah that, over time, can grow molds in it as bacteria and mold tend to grow on damp places.

As part of the daily regimen, it is always best to use a mild soap like Dove for bathing and a soap-free cleanser for the child's face. Baby skin has naturally occurring moisture that no lotion or moisturizer is needed anyway but for adults, think in mind that what is best for baby is most surely best for you.

Invest in moisturizing creams to keep the skin well hydrated. A helpful tip is to moisturize skin everyday within three minutes after bathing, to lock in the moisture. Choose one that has no potential allergens such as fragrances, preservatives and silicone. There are soaps, shampoos and other baby care products with perfumes or botanical dyes to make them smell good and look pretty, but these ingredients irritate the skin.

Not everything that is labeled hypoallergenic is safe for you and baby's skin. Hypo is a Latin prefix meaning "less than normal" hence hypoallergenic means there are fewer, not no, ingredients in a product that might irritate your skin. If skin is unusually sensitive, a reaction even to these products labeled as hypoallergenic may be triggered.

Most conventional creams and lotions contain emulsifiers that bind water and oil. When introduced into the skin, it can accumulate in the upper layers of the skin and, during washing, the crucial skin lipids dissolve into it and are washed out of the skin when you rinse. The result? Skin not only ends up dryer but loses its natural protective barrier, leaving it prone to environmental ravages.

For dry, sensitive skin, what one needs is a product that contains ingredients that mimic the natural and essential composition of normal skin to help retain skin moisture. I've tried Physiogel and it has worked wonders for my dry skin. It is emulsifier-free and when applied on the skin, it is able to transport the beneficial lipids and ceramides into the deep layers of the skin, preventing moisture loss.

Skin care need not be complicated to be effective. It's a fact that women nowadays seem more predisposed to complicated procedures to skin care in the belief that more time, more money spent could guarantee beautiful, supple skin when in fact, it's as simple as one-two-three. That is, if we understand how the layers of the skin work and how to take care of it.


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