You can forget cashmere jumpers, fluffy pillows or snuggly teddy bears… there’s nothing quite as soft as a baby’s skin. Because it’s brand new, it needs to be handled with care – especially when it comes to choosing the best lotion for children’s skin. In this article we’ll look at what’s important in caring for babies’ skin, helping you create a child-friendly routine that protects them from their head to their tiny toes.
What’s the difference between child and adult skin?
By the time we reach adulthood, we’ve spent a lot of time outside, tried out a few different beauty products (especially in our teenage years) and had our fair share of grazed knees – so our skin can start to knows how to protect itself from the outside world.
For children, however – and babies in particular – this barrier isn’t quite so strong. The top two layers of adults’ skin (the epidermis and the dermis) are tightly sealed together, but this seal hasn’t fully formed yet for a baby, making their skin a bit like a sieve. As it’s much more permeable, it’s more affected by the substances you apply – and loses water five times faster than an adult’s This all means it needs extra protection and hydration from the best baby skin care products.
How do I take care of baby skin?
There’s so much to learn when you are caring for a baby, skincare might not be at the top of the list – but it’s really important to treat it with a gentle touch while it’s still developing. Here’s a few tips for providing the tender-loving skincare babies need.
Keep it natural for newborns 🍃
Current research suggests that it’s best to avoid any cleansing or moisturising products and baby wipes for the first few weeks of their life. This will give their skin time to mature naturally.
Try topping and tailing 👶 🦶
We know this might go against some of those motherly instincts, but the youngest babies don’t need a full bath everyday! Instead, you can try what’s known as topping and tailing, which involves just washing their face, neck, hands and bottom using cotton wool and warm water. This will keep them clean without aggravating their skin in any way.
No bubbles in the bath 💦
When it is time for a bath, there’s no need to add any liquid cleansers for the first month. Wash their hair and bodies with plain water that’s warm but not hot, and pat them dry when you’re finished – paying extra attention to the creases in their skin.
Keep any irritants away 🧴
As we mentioned earlier, baby skin is much more porous than adults’ – so it’s much easier for things we use all the time to potentially cause contact dermatitis. Common irritants include soaps, detergents, perfumes and dyes, so these are important ingredients to avoid in skincare. If you do want to use moisturiser, the best baby cream for dry skin would be free of any of these elements – and can be used once they’re over a month old.
Stay safe in the sun ☀️
Even the toughest skin needs help staying safe in the sun, so it’s really important to protect that soft baby skin from the rays. Children under 6 months should be kept out of direct strong sunlight, which the UK gets between March and October (even though it doesn’t always feel like it!) During this time, babies need to be covered up with suitable clothing, spend time in the shade (particularly between 11am and 3pm) and wear a minimum of factor 30 sunscreen on any parts of their body not protected by their clothes.
Are there skin conditions that are common for babies?
We know it’s easy to panic when you see even the slightest hint of a spot, redness or irritation on your baby’s precious, perfect skin – but most of the time, it’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Baby skin is understandably susceptible to all kinds of different rashes, including nappy rash, cradle cap and one of the most common – eczema.
20% of children in the UK have eczema, and it usually appears during the first six months of their life - often behind their knees or elbows. If they have paler skin, this will appear red and itchy, or for darker skin, it’s more likely to appear as darker patches. There’s no single cause of eczema in babies, so it could be down to any number of genetic or environmental factors.
What are the best products to use when caring for babies' skin?
When you’re looking for the best cream for children’s dry skin – particularly baby skin – you need a product that’s doesn’t contain irritants like fragrances, alcohol and SLS. (Otherwise known as sodium laurel sulphate, this is the foaming agent that’s often added to bubble baths, body washes and shampoos.)
This means you need a product just like Epaderm. Free from all these potential irritants, the cream contains six simple ingredients and the ointment just three, which are all gentle enough to use on the softest baby skin. Both the cream and ointment are also available in our special Junior range, which puts our tried and tested Epaderm formula in friendly packaging, designed to help parents show their little ones that moisturising is fun!
Another thing that makes Epaderm Ointment one of the best moisturisers for children’s dry skin is the fact it’s an emollient that can be used in the bath – which is a great way to treat eczema. Just melt a small blob with some warm water and add it to the bathwater instead of any bubble bath, soap or baby washes. (It’s best to keep the water tepid as heat can also aggravate eczema and be careful as it can get slippery.)
Doing this every time you bath your child will help keep skin hydrated which can help calm that itching and redness right down. Or if you prefer, you can also apply the Junior cream after a bath too – it’s an equally effective emollient for baby eczema. Apply to damp skin to really lock in the moisture!
So there’s a bit of Epaderm advice to help you keep your baby and children’s skin as soft as it deserves to be. But if you spot anything on their skin that worries you, just speak to your doctor or pharmacist and they’ll be able to help.