Newborn’s skincare regime

When it comes to skincare, we tend to associate regimes with keeping spots and wrinkles at bay, not with newborn babies. In fact, most of us would be delighted to have skin like a newborn’s, after all, it’s as good as new. And it’s important to keep it that way. That’s why leading dermatologist, Dr Anna Chapman, from Queen Elizabeth Hospital, London, is encouraging parents to start their baby’s skin care regime from day one.

You heard it, day one! It’s engrained in generations of parents not to use anything other than water on their baby’s skin in the early days. However, Anna urges parents to start caring for their child’s skin straight away in order to reduce the risks of premature ageing, skin cancer, wrinkles and eczema.

“Parents must be aware that the baby or child they are looking after today could live to be 100. This means that they will need their skin to last for a long lifetime,” she explains.

“A child’s skin needs to be cared for properly from day one so that it looks and feels the best it can through adulthood and into what is hopefully, for most of them, likely to be a ripe old age.

“One in five children now suffer eczema, while in the 60s and 70s it was one in 20. Any dry skin is a form of mild eczema but if we moisturise often enough, we can maintain the skin’s grease and prevent it becoming dry.”

Anna recommends choosing a moisturiser for your child that’s free from chemical nasties and perfumes, which can make eczema worse. A moisturiser, such as Sudocrem Kids & Babies Moisturising Mousse (£8.99, Boots), is a good option because not only will it not aggravate eczema, it’s quickly absorbed into the skin so it doesn’t leave a greasy outer layer. It will also keep moistursing for 12 hours so there’s no need to keep reapplying throughout the day – not something any mum or child wants to have to do!

As well as moistursing, protecting your child’s skin from sun damage is also vital, not just for the condition of their skin but also their health. “Sun damage in children shows itself 20-30 years later,” says Anna. “Even dark skin is at risk, for example, Jamaican singer Bob Marley died from melanoma on his foot.

“Always apply a sunscreen that’s specially formulated for children with SPF 50 and a rating of three or more UVA stars. Apply it before your children go in the sun, cover generously and reapply frequently.”

Anna recommends Sudocrem’s Kids & Babies Sunscreen Mousse (£14.99, Boots), which offers factor 50 SPF protection and has a four star UVA rating. Like the moisturiser, it doesn’t contain nasties that will irritate your child’s skin, it’s easy to rub in without a greasy residue and it’s more resistant to towel drying and water than many suncreams.

With years’ of experience treating and caring for children’s skin, it’s worth following Anna’s advice and she’s put the following top tips together on caring for your child’s skin:

  • Use a moisturiser daily – ideally, apply immediately after a bath when the skin is still wet for maximum benefit and hydration. Target the dry skin areas or use all over the body to maintain soft supple skin and give your baby a lovely massage at the same time.
  • Teach your children good skincare habits, such as gentle daily cleansing and moiturising. The face and dry areas of skin should always be moisturised before going to sleep and after a wash in the morning. Wash your face and hands, brush your teeth and moisturise – should always go together.
  • Apply extra moisturiser to particularly dry areas of skin and areas that will be exposed to the air, including the face, neck and hands. Just like adults, some children are simply more prone to dry skin. Help your child’s skin by moisturising first then covering up in extremely cold weather outdoors. This will prevent normal skin from chapping and reduce chances of flare ups in eczema treated skin.
  • Apply moisturiser before swimming as a barrier to chemicals as well as after to keep skin hydrated.
  • In the summer, apply a sun block before sun exposure and similarly in winter, apply moisturiser before exposure to cold air or wind. Remember that even in winter the sun can burn the skin. On a sunny day in high altitude apply suncream even in winter.
  • When the central heating is on indoors, keep the skin extra moist by reapplying moisturiser during the day.
  • Don’t allow your child to get too hot as it can aggravate dry skin conditions. Dress them appropriately and in natural fibres to allow the skin to breathe. Beware that wool can cause itching in direct contact with the skin.
  • Steer clear of harsh chemicals on the skin, especially in washing powders and soaps.
  • Avoid over-bathing newborn babies – once daily or even two to three times a week is fine with topping and tailing in between.

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