We’re all aware that baby’s skin is more delicate and sensitive than ours but for those with dry or eczema prone skin, knowing the best way to take care of it, particularly over the colder months, can be tricky. To support parents and carers, we asked the skin experts at Hope’s Relief, Australia’s no.1 natural eczema cream, to share their top advice with us. Here’s what they said.
Are children more susceptible to developing skin conditions?
According to the National Eczema Society one in five children in the UK have eczema. Eczema is a dry skin condition that may be red, sore and dry and can cause itching. It is more common in children but can affect people of all ages.
Generally, bear in mind that children are developing at a rapid rate so are more vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals than adults – many of which can come into contact with skin. Children have underdeveloped immune systems and their organs are still developing so they are generally less capable of eliminating toxins and are more vulnerable to damage from chemical exposures. It’s therefore key to only use natural, organic products on baby’s skin where possible to avoid any aggravation from chemicals, even if your child doesn’t have any current skin conditions.
What causes skin conditions in babies?
There are a whole range of factors which impact skin and each one of us will be affected differently but there are clear triggers which we can be aware of to avoid aggravation. Dry skin affects most people at some point, so even if your baby’s skin is clear now, it’s good practice to avoid these. Some of the main triggers are:
Cold and wind dries skin out, so the autumn and winter months are harsher on skin. Coupled with this, central heating is warming up our homes which dries the air indoors and creates a better environment for dust mites which can cause allergies and exacerbation of skin conditions if susceptible.
In children with eczema food is the main trigger in about 10% of cases, yet food may be one of the causes or exacerbating factors in about 30% of children with eczema. Common food triggers to look out for include cow’s milk (dairy), eggs, soya, wheat, fish, nuts, solanaceae or the deadly nightshade family, which includes potatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. As we all know, it’s important for children to have a healthy balanced diet for growth and development, so speak to your doctor if you suspect food is a trigger before embarking on an elimination diet.
These exacerbate skin conditions. So, avoid anything containing chemicals coming into contact with your baby wherever possible. Examples of ones to avoid include sodium lauryl sulphate (also sodium laureth sulphate), parabens, fragrance and perfumes (which often contains phthalates), artificial colours or dyes, mineral oils and petrochemicals. If you are dealing with eczema, try to pick natural breathable cotton fabrics to wear and wash clothes in non-biological washing powders.
Top tip, don’t compromise on baby wipes that will over expose little one to chemicals. Always buy from a brand you trust that is natural, has a high water content, is plastic-free and biodegradable to protect the environment too. If you look at the packaging of many baby wipes on the market you will find that they contain harmful ingredients such as alcohol, perfume and surfactants (some even include chemicals that contain chlorine!).
Anything you do to help baby keep calm will lower stress levels and should have a positive impact on skin. A parent’s warm embrace is one of the best things for this. And, did you know, baby’s love a massage? Baby massage, using natural oils has been proven to have a positive impact on infant stress hormones, which aids sleeping patterns, according to research by the University of Warwick.
What’s your top skincare recommendation for babies?
There are many things we can do to help our child’s skin, but a key – and often overlooked – one for parents of young children is to be mindful of over washing, which can really dry the skin out. We’re often conditioned to think that a bath, bottle and bed routine is the ideal way to end the day with a baby, getting them nice and calm before bedtime. But if your child has dry, sensitive skin or is suffering from a condition like eczema or psoriasis, bath time can be anything but calming for baby and their skin.
Now is the perfect time to start a winter bedtime routine that minimises water use to care for and protect delicate skin. We recommend bathing baby only once or twice a week during the colder winter months.
The perfect winter bedtime routine
- Create a calm setting – dim the lights and play gentle music, or hum or sing, to soothe baby and avoid overstimulation.
- Gently cleanse baby’s nappy area – use wipes with a high water content, minimal chemicals, that contain no plastic and have a built in natural barrier cream to protect baby’s skin gently, such as the new Aqua Wipes Premium range.
- Soothe and protect skin – gently dab baby’s face, neck and hands with cotton wool and water and massage their body with a moisturiser which contains only natural or organic ingredients.
- Dress baby in bedtime clothing suitable for the temperature of the bedroom. If baby is suffering from eczema or very dry skin, use pure cotton clothing that contains no plastic.
- Don’t entertain – read or sing to your baby in a soothing way, avoid physical or active play at this point that might stimulate the baby.
- Feed – give baby their usual feed and use this time to cuddle and soothe baby in the calm setting that you have created together.
- Time for bed.
Developed over 35 years by naturopaths, Hope’s Relief is now sold worldwide. The multi award winning range of natural skincare helps soothe and heal itchy, dry skin prone to eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. It’s steroid-free, safe and suitable for all ages from newborn babies to adults, for more information visit:
Advice on dealing with eczema can be found at www.eczema.org
Aqua Wipes offers three ranges including; essentials, orginal, and premium. Read more about the full range and learn how all our wipes are dermatologically tested, hypoallergenic, vegan-friendly, and proudly plastic-free.