Skincare for Baby
3 Reasons Why Your Baby’s Skin May Be Dry—and How to Care For It
We expect a baby’s skin to be smooth, soft to touch and pretty much perfect. So why does your infant have rough, flaky skin? Discover what makes your little one’s skin different, and how to keep it hydrated.
What You Need to Know
Baby skin is fragile. Due to its structure, it’s prone to dryness—and that makes the topical treatments you apply to your baby all the more important. It’s best to use cleansers and moisturizers that contain lipids and humectants to maintain skin’s protective barrier. Lipids include cholesterol, free fatty acids, and ceramides, while humectants are substances that preserve or sustain moisture. Formulas containing these ingredients can help seal in moisture and keep out external aggressors—which can help alleviate dryness.1
Tips to Help Baby’s Dry Skin
- Bathe your baby only two to three times a week.2
- Skip fragranced bath products and use gentle washes that are soap-free, fragrance-free and formulated with skin-barrier protecting, hydrating ingredients.
- Gently pat dry with a towel and moisturize immediately after a bath to help seal in moisture. Choose a lotion with skin-barrier replenishing lipids.
It’s common for babies to have dry skin, and that’s associated with the structure of newborn and infant skin. One underlying factor of dry skin, whatever one’s age, is an impaired skin barrier. The barrier is the outermost layer of skin, made up of skin cells that are held together by fat molecules called lipids. Ceramides, like the one’s found in CeraVe Baby products, help create a barrier that aids in the prevention of water loss while sealing in moisture and keeping external aggressors from entering the skin.3 There are key distinctions between a baby’s barrier and that of an adult—and it’s these differences that can make babies prone to dry skin.
Fact: The outer layer of skin is thinner than adult skin
Baby’s outermost layer of skin is 30% thinner than in an adult4. That makes baby skin more prone to moisture loss. When a baby is born, their skin isn’t fully functionally or structurally complete compared to adult skin. It takes between two and four years to fully develop. And for up to the first five years, the average hydration levels are lower than they are in an adult.
Fact: Baby’s skin has a higher PH than adult skin
In adults, a slightly acidic skin surface mantle helps defend the skin against external pathogens. Baby skin has a higher pH than adult skin, which makes it more susceptible. Skin care products formulated at the proper pH for baby’s skin, along with essential ceramides, can strengthen skin’s barrier to help protect it.5
Fact: An impaired skin barrier has been linked to eczema
An impaired barrier has been linked to eczema—specifically atopic dermatitis, the most common form of this inflammatory skin condition that causes dry, itchy, and scaly patches. There’s no cure for this condition and it may extend into adulthood.6 However, there are ways to manage flare-ups and help prevent future damage. Look for baby skincare products with the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance, which have been deemed suitable for care of eczema or sensitive skin.7
If you suspect your baby has eczema, you’ll want to reach out to your pediatrician or dermatologist, who can recommend specially formulated washes, lotions and other products to keep baby’s skin moisturized.
The Dry Skin Solution for Baby Skin
There are many baby dry skin remedies parents can choose from, but those that focus on restoring and maintaining the skin barrier may offer additional benefits. Lotions, creams and washes that contain ceramides can help keep skin hydrated and healthy. Research has shown that using these ingredients early in life may even help to prevent atopic dermatitis in adulthood.8 CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Cream, is a rich formula that includes three essential ceramides to help maintain baby’s skin barrier and keep skin hydrated all day.
Other hydrating ingredients to look for in baby skincare products include hyaluronic acid, a humectant that binds water to the surface layer of skin9, and dimethicone, a silicone-based polymer that helps create a seal on the skin, locking in moisture.10 CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Lotion contains both, providing all-day moisture while being gentle on your baby’s delicate skin.
Now that you have a sense of exactly how your little one’s skin is different than your own, as well as how to nourish dry, sensitive baby skin, following a skincare routine will be simple. Here’s to smoother days ahead!
- Schachner, L., Andriessen, A., Benjamin, L., Bree, A., Lechman, P., Pinera-Lllano, A., Kircik, L.. (2020). “A Consensus About the Importance of Ceramide Containing Skincare for Normal and Sensitive Skin Conditions in Neonates and Infants.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology 19 (8), 769-775.
- Telofski, L., Morello, .A, Mack Correa, M., Stamatas, G.. (2012). The Infant Skin Barrier: Can We Preserve, Protect, and Enhance the Barrier? Dermatology Research and Practice. 198789.
- Stamatas, G., Nikolovski, J., Luedtke, M., Kollias, N. (2010). “Infant Skin Microstructure Assessed In Vivo Differs From Adult Skin in Organization and at the Cellular Level.” Pediatric Dermatology. 27(2).
- Schachner, L., Andriessen, A., Benjamin, L., Bree, A., Lechman, P., Pinera-Lllano, A., Kircik, L.. (2020). “A Consensus About the Importance of Ceramide Containing Skincare for Normal and Sensitive Skin Conditions in Neonates and Infants.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology 19 (8), 769-773.
- “About the NEA Seal of Acceptance.” National Eczema Association. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema-products/about-nea-seal-of-acceptance/. Accessed 4/19/21
- Lowe, A., Leung, D., Tang, M., Su J., Allen, K. (2018). The skin as a target for prevention of the atopic march. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 120(2), 145-151.
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