Bringing up baby means learning about his or her unique developmental needs. One big point of education? Understanding how baby’s skin is different from your own and how to care for it accordingly. Here are the 5 ways your little one’s skin is special.
1. Baby skin is more sensitive to the sun.
Babies produce less melanin – that wonder pigment that protects us from UV damage – than adults. Because of this, their sun damage repair mechanisms are weaker. Make sure to keep your baby well-protected when in the sun. Sunscreens, hats and staying in the shade are all on par for the course.
2. Your baby has an acid mantle – but it’s still developing.
The “acid mantle” may sound funny, but it’s incredibly important. It’s our skin’s natural barrier and protects us against harmful outside agents like pollutants. Because your little one’s acid mantle isn’t done developing yet, their skin is ultra vulnerable. The diaper area is baby’s biggest problem zone because it’s warm and moist. A lowered barrier function causes the skin to swell, and strong microbial growth contributes to a high risk for infections. Urine actually destroys the skin’s acid mantle, increasing this risk.
Be sure to use gentle, soap-free cleansers on your baby, especially if they have a diaper rash. Sebamed’s Baby Wash Extra Soft is a great choice because it helps to reinforce the acid mantle, supporting your baby’s skin as it heals itself from rashes.
3. Temperatures affect them more.
Temperature regulation is a rather foreign concept to babies, as their bodies are adjusting to all sorts of new stimuli. Their sebum (or oil) and sweat glands are virtually undeveloped (learn about the differences between these two glands here), as is the protective function of their skin layers. As a result, babies can’t adapt to the weather like adults, so keep your little one at an even body temperature regardless of the weather.
4. Their skin layers are thinner, softer and looser.
The elastic fibers in your baby’s skin are brand new. And there are less of them because these fibers develop with time, so the skin’s 3 layers – epidermis, dermis and hemidesmosomes – aren’t bound together as tightly as yours or mine. Couple this with the fact that babies have a much higher fat concentration, and it’s not hard to realize why their skin is so very delicate.
5. Your baby’s skin heals way faster than yours.
So all of these things that make your baby’s skin super vulnerable stem from the same reason why their skin heals so quickly: they’re developing. And fast (but I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that!). Their cells are constantly replenishing to accommodate physical growth.
When you stop to think about it, it’s actually a pretty amazing paradox; your baby’s skin remains vulnerable while also healing faster because of an increased rate of cell reproduction. That doesn’t mean they don’t need support, though. Super moisturizing lotions like the Sebamed Baby Cream Extra Soft and Baby Lotion help to strengthen baby’s skin while it heals.
These 5 unique aspects of your baby’s skin fade within the first years of life. And by the time a child reaches puberty, their skin is mature! But in the meantime, they’re like these tiny, incredible, very vulnerable creatures who need lots of sensitive love and care.