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Understand baby skin, before planning its perfect care

We all know baby skin is different, more supple, soft and sensitive yet many of us do not know how it develops, what it does and why “baby skin care’’ involves much more than just massaging, cleaning and moisturizing.

Baby skin is the biggest organ, considering the body area it covers, but it is still immature at the time of birth. Skin is critical for newborn’s transition from the womb which is warm, wet, sterile, and safe to a cooler, dry, bacteria-laden environment.

As baby skin begins to acclimatize to new external environment, it remains very vulnerable. It has less lipids which makes it thin and fragile, more susceptible to dryness and damage.

Lipids help in development of the epidermis (the outer most layer of the skin), which retains moisture for longer time. In newborns who receive incomplete parenteral nutrition, changes in skin lipids are seen due to essential fatty acid deficiency, leading to malnutrition.

Skin plays an important role in babies overall health, by protecting internal organs and the body from pathogens, germs and bacteria, while it also regulates body temperature and develops sensory perception in babies, helping them to explore things around them, through touch.

The regulatory powers of the skin also control sweating & sebum secretion, control moisture loss, maintain skin surface acidity (pH levels) and grow its natural moisturizing factors (NMFs).

Skin pH levels are higher at birth, ranging from 6.34 to 7.5, the acidic skin surface at birth has antimicrobial properties that make baby skin resist any colonization of harmful bacteria.

Sweat glands help babies with skin hydration, but as their immune system is still developing, there is a greater chance of skin irritations and infections. NMFs too are low at birth, making baby skin more prone to dryness with faster moisture loss.

Melanin in the skin creates a density filter that protects baby skin from UV light damage. Babies at birth have lower concentration of melanin, hence their skin needs protection from direct sun.

Baby skin has high permeability which means it absorbs fast. While it also grows fast and restores fast, it is this high permeability of the skin that makes it susceptible to microbial infections, skin diseases as it can easily absorb harmful substances that can affect baby health.

Safe and premium quality baby skin care products work on epidermis protection, using ingredients that strengthen and improve it. This helps minimize the risk of thermo-regulation failure, thus preventing skin damage.

For skin cleansing, experts recommend products that are safe, to avoid skin or eye irritation, preferably liquid body washes, that are either pH-neutral, or mildly acidic. Delicate baby skin needs specially formulated products to keep it healthy.

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