Woman playing with her baby

People often speak of “baby-soft skin” when referring to soft, velvety skin. And yet that is not always the case! Except for premature babies, a baby’s skin is already completely formed at birth.

However, it is thinner and does not fulfil its barrier function as effectively as that of an adult.

A few weeks after birth, an infant stops producing sebum and his/her sebaceous glands will not be reactivated until adolescence. Thus, the hydrolipidic film is thinner and therefore does not protect the skin as well, which leads to:

  • Dry skin causing irritation
  • Permeability to infectious agents or allergens, making this irritation worse
  • Dr Michèle Sayag, allergologist
    Michèle Sayag, Allergist.

    An internet user’s question: My daughter is currently teething and has a red bottom. I am using a paraben-free cream because she is allergic to parabens, but it isn’t working very well. What can I use?

    You can change product and use a water paste, alternating with a soothing repairing cream.

    Michèle Sayag, Allergist.
  • Dr Michèle Sayag, allergologist
    Michèle Sayag, Allergist.

    An internet user’s question: Should I moisturize my baby’s skin after a bath? Is a cold cream soap enough?

    If your baby has dry skin, you should apply a moisturizing cream after a bath, or occasionally put baby oil in the bath. Even if your child doesn’t have dry skin, applying a moisturising cream after a bath can create a special time for you to bond with your baby.

    Michèle Sayag, Allergist.
Baby in a bath

In addition, the surface of a child’s skin is two to three times bigger than that of an adult (higher surface/weight ratio). So a product applied to a child’s skin penetrates more easily. Cutaneous absorption is also promoted by a moist environment (skin under nappies), damaged skin (nappy rash) and folds.


It is therefore essential to use efficient and extremely soft cleansing and body care products, guaranteeing:
. High tolerance, respecting the specific needs of the child’s skin
. High safety, fulfilling stringent formulation and production requirements tailored to the skin of infants and babies.

Atopic Skin

Weakened by external stress such as the wind, cold weather, hard water or heating, a baby’s skin tends to become dry and more reactive.

With atopic dermatitis, your child’s skin will be very dry and rough, sometimes with red patches. Your child’s skin is tight and sometimes itchy and he or she has trouble sleeping.

Atopic dermatitis is a dermatosis that often appears starting at two to three months of age and disappears in most cases after several years. The horny layer in this type of skin is excessively permeable due to a lack of lipids.

The skin no longer fulfils its barrier function properly. It no longer protects the body from environmental allergens, allowing them to penetrate more easily. Sensitivity to these allergens triggers an inflammation that leads to an eczema flare-up, which is most often accompanied with severe itching.

Scratching causes lesions that increase skin irritation. The skin becomes even more permeable to allergens, which can cause a new acute inflammatory reaction. Extremely dry atopic skin progresses through successive phases of flare-ups and remissions.


To learn more about atopy, check out this article.

Three main types of environmental allergens responsible for acute inflammatory reactions have been identified:

Picto Animal
Airborne allergens mites, pollen, cat and dog hair, feathers, etc.
Picto Arachide
Food allergens
Mineral
Contact allergens nickel, fragrances, etc.

Nappy rash is a common problem that occurs in certain situations including nappies that rub, over-aggressive cleansing, diarrhoea, a change in diet, an infectious episode and teething.

Most cases of nappy rash are an occurrence of irritative dermatitis triggered by the occlusive effect of nappies, aggravated by contact with stools and urine, and potentially infected with bacteria.

To prevent nappy rash, the occlusion and maceration effect of nappies must be eliminated.

Baby - Atopic Skin

Some precautions should therefore be taken:

  • Change your child frequently;
  • Clean them after each nappy change using a mild, soap-free cleansing product guaranteeing safety and tolerance (overly aggressive products alter the skin barrier);
  • Gently pat them dry, particularly in skin folds;
  • After each nappy change, apply a water-based paste with antibacterial ingredients that guarantee safety and tolerance. This will soothe, insulate and rebuild the epidermis on your baby’s bottom to help get rid of nappy rash.
  • If the nappy rash persists, see a doctor.
What causes irritation around the mouth?

Skin irritation around the mouth is characterised by redness, small spots and dry, rough skin. This irritation is the result of macerating saliva following the repeated use of a dummy, thumb or security blanket or during teething.

Amylase, an enzyme present in saliva, is an aggravating factor of the irritation. Aggravated or altered by the cold and wind, these skin irritations around the mouth peak in the winter.

  • Babies should never be exposed to the sun.

 

  • The skin of young children requires specific high protection offering the very best safety guarantees.
Your skin - child protected under the sun

A dermatologist is the best resource for identifying skin disorders, finding the cause of your skin issues, and developing an adapted treatment. Please consult your dermatologist, doctor or pharmacist so that they may best advise you on your personal skin regimen.

Pay careful attention to at-risk areas like the face, mouth contours, nappy area and any area with folds. 
Don’t give in to the temptation to medicate babies and children yourself. Always consult your pharmacist or paediatrician.
Do not put wool or synthetic clothing directly in contact with your child’s skin.
Wash their cuddly toys very frequently.
Avoid rugs and carpets.

Your Skin - Children

Bath time is a special moment - make the most of it!

To avoid stress and haste, prepare everything you need before starting. This will allow you to fully focus on your child during this tender moment. All cleansing and body care products must guarantee safety and tolerance.

For body and hair:
Gently wash your child with an extra-mild, soap-free cleansing product that respects your child’s skin balance and does not sting the eyes.
Gently pat your child dry.
Your child’s scalp and hair should be washed every two to three days. Choose a mild shampoo that does not sting the eyes and respects babies’ skin and hair balance. Gently rinse your child’s hair, making sure the water is the right temperature and the pressure is not too strong. For older kids, why not use a non-rinse untangling spray to facilitate styling?
After each bath, moisturise your child with a suitable product to nourish their skin. 

For the face and eyes:
Use cotton wool to clean your child’s face with a mild, soap-free cleansing product. For practical purposes, or simply to avoid hard water, opt for a micellar solution, dermatological wipes or a non-rinse cleansing milk.

For the hands:
Cleansing dermatological wipes will enable you to wash your child’s hands as often as necessary in all situations.
For nappy changing time:
After each nappy change, clean your child’s buttocks meticulously using a mild, soap-free cleansing product to remove dirt, excess water-based paste or protective creams. Gently dry, particularly the folds of the skin. For practical purposes, or simply to avoid hard water, opt for a micellar solution, dermatological wipes or a non-rinse cleansing milk. And for mothers who prefer rinse-off products, use a mild, soap-free cleansing gel adapted to your child’s skin.

Baby in a bath

Your child’s skin is delicate. It must learn how to defend itself against external stress. So in order to protect it, you should apply a suitable moisturising care that guarantees safety and tolerance.

If your child has normal skin, use a moisturising milk every day to nourish and protect their skin.

For dryer skin, choose a highly nourishing, cold cream-enriched superfatting care to help restore the barrier  and provide immediate comfort. Cold cream is a designation given to thick, semi-occlusive formulas. The term cold cream stems from the fact that the first such creams felt cold when applied to the skin. These days, new-generation cold creams have the same superfatting and moisturising properties as traditional cold creams, but with more pleasant innovative textures providing greater usage comfort and protection against external stress.

Baby - Mom putting cream

TIPS FOR BABIES WITH VERY DRY AND ATOPIC SKIN

In addition to the advice you receive from your dermatologist, you should take the following precautions to improve your child’s quality of life:

 

  • Do not use bubble baths or bath salts as these tend to dry out and irritate your child’s skin.
  • Wash your child using a mild, soap-free, fragrance-free cleansing product guaranteeing safety and tolerance, which will gently clean, soothe itching and prevent dry skin by limiting the proliferation of micro-organisms that can aggravate dry skin.
  • Dry your child’s skin very carefully, gently patting it, particularly the folds of the skin.
  • Once or twice a day, generously apply a nourishing and protective care guaranteeing safety and tolerance, which will soothe and prevent severe dryness by restoring lipids (to reinforce and rebuild the altered skin barrier).
  • Avoid allergens.
  • It is preferable to dress your child in cotton clothes as other fabrics, especially wool and synthetics, can irritate their skin.
  • Choose a soft detergent and make sure you don’t use too much to wash their clothes. Too much detergent may make their skin fragile. Don’t forget to iron clothes, as they will feel softer.
  • Dr Michèle Sayag, allergologist
    Michèle Sayag, Allergist.

    An internet user’s question: How can atopic dermatitis be prevented and treated?

    Prevention is used for “at-risk” children, namely children with at least one allergy-prone parent. In these cases, for example, we know that it is best to avoid contact with cats during the first few weeks. As regards treatment, outbreaks of eczema should be treated as early as possible with anti-inflammatory medications (cream corticoids). Changes in the skin barrier should be treated every day with an emollient. 

    Michèle Sayag, Allergist.
  • Dr Michèle Sayag, allergologist
    Michèle Sayag, Allergist.

    An internet user’s question: My two-year old son has atopic eczema. What is a good skincare and cleansing regime for him?

    1) Follow a suitable cleansing routine with a soap-free cleanser and a short bath or shower in warm water;
    2) Use a local anti-inflammatory treatment for the eczema (usually a dermal corticosteroid) prescribed by a paediatric specialist or dermatologist, essential for avoiding any aggravation to your child’s condition and which should be applied in a sufficient quantity and for a sufficient amount of time, according to your doctor’s advice;
    3) Apply an emollient over the whole body (other than the eczema plaques) at least once a day, and definitely continue applying every day even after the patches have cleared up in order to prevent any relapse.

    Michèle Sayag, Allergist.