In your baby’s first months of life, many of the body’s most important systems are still developing, and the skin is no exception.
We adults have a tough, protective layer on the outside of our skin called the stratum corneum, which helps form an essential barrier between our inner systems and the outside world. In babies, however, this layer is very thin and delicate. In addition, young babies haven’t yet built up an important extra layer of natural skin oils called the acid mantle, which acts as an important barrier to bacteria and germs.
What all this means is that babies’ skin is much more sensitive than ours, and they are more vulnerable to bacteria and contaminants. They also have a higher ratio of skin to body weight than we do, so any chemicals they absorb through the skin are likely to affect them more. Babies’ thin skins absorb moisture faster than ours, but they also lose moisture faster, which can easily lead to dry skin in cold weather or in areas that are exposed to harsh conditions – like the nappy area.
Ideal baby care products, then, need to be as natural and gentle as possible, avoiding irritating synthetic chemical additives and anything that would damage that delicate skin barrier. The pH is important, too – a slightly acidic pH is best to encourage the developing acid mantle. Mild hydrating ingredients can help to replace moisture that’s lost during the day, and give your little one’s delicate skin what it needs to grow strong and healthy.