Such fragile skin
April 01st, 2011 by Lynda Proulx, Dermo-esthéticienne/Phytothérapeute
A baby’s skin, not quite finished developing, is different from adult skin on many points, notably on it’s great fragility. This is why it is so important to adapt skin care by taking these differences into account. In this article, we are attempting to shed the light on these differences and offer skin care suggestions for their beautiful, yet so fragile skin.
1. The epidermis of babies and children is much thinner and therefore much more permeable than ours. The hydrolipidic film (protective coat) is not perfectly formed. The sweat glands are not yet fully active which is why babies do not tolerate the heat from fevers very well.
Limit the number of baths and/or their length, in hot water. Avoid any « scouring » products that may thin down their skin which is already so thin. Abstain from using products with a PEG base or with polysorbates (substances obtained from toxic gases). Greater permeability increases the impact that these substances will have on the skin. The use of gels and soaps that are free of chemical agents are highly recommended. Be watchful and read the labels.
2. Melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) do not produce enough melanin to protect baby’s skin against the sun.
During the first months of life, completely avoid the sun altogether. Afterwards, protect the skin using a good, non-waterproof sun block with mineral screens that is applied every 2 hours. When exposure is over, remove all residues of the sun block because no matter how good they may be, the majority of them contain chemical agents. For children playing in a late afternoon sun, a biological Shea butter balm may be sufficient.
3. Baby’s skin pH tends to stay neutral and its lack of acidity renders the skin vulnerable to infections. Moreover, many skin problems may appear such as eczema, atopic or contact dermatitis, baby acne, etc.
Wash gently and adequately hydrate the skin and the environment. Our Quebec winters often bring us to overheat our homes, already properly insulated, which lead to low levels of humidity. Without water, the skin becomes dehydrated and the pH is affected which creates the perfect playing field for all sorts of dermatitis. Baby oils, balms or hydrating creams with paraffin liquidum (paraffin oil) are not recommended. Highly occlusive and foreign to the skin, they are obtained from petroleum. Unfortunately, they are abundantly present in baby products. Once again, give priority to natural products without chemical agents and ideally biological.
Books: La vérité sur les cosmétiques by Rita Stiens