Don’t be a baby: Skincare products and suncare tips to use from birth
Dermatologist advise using appropriate skincare on babies from birth
It is vital to start bathing the baby with suitable products and apply regular emollient to their skin from the moment they are born. Photograph: iStock
Since the birth of a niece and a nephew during quarantine (I look forward to meeting both and gently squeezing their gloriously chubby knees as soon as it’s safe), I’ve realised there has rarely been a space for babies and children in this column. That’s largely as it should be – most kids outside the middle-American infant beauty pageant circuit aren’t into foundation or lipstick, thank goodness. However, skincare is a medical issue as well as an aesthetic one and, like all healthy practices, it’s best learned early and at home.
According to consultant dermatologist Dr Niki Ralph, we should be using appropriate skincare on babies from birth. “A baby may not look like it has any skin condition at birth but with time may show signs of redness and scaling of the skin…it is vital to start bathing the baby with suitable products and apply regular emollient to their skin from the moment they are born as within the first few hours of life we start losing water through our skin...Studies have shown that babies who are moisturised from day one have reduced risk of developing severe eczema if born to parents with eczema/asthma/hayfever as their skin barrier is being maintained from birth.”
La Roche Posay Baby Lipikar Baume AP+M (€25.99 at boots.ie) comes in a hefty 400ml pump bottle and is gentle enough to use from baby’s first bath.
Aveeno Baby Daily Care Baby Gentle Wash (€6.99 at pharmacies nationwide) is specially formulated for newborn skin. Dr Ralph advises avoiding baby wipes at all costs, as they are not good for the skin; if you need to use a wipe, she suggests using Waterwipes.
It is important not to overlook the importance of sun safety, especially at this time of year. Babies’ skin cannot produce melanin at the same rates as adults in response to sunlight and, according to Dr Ralph, is “up to 20 per cent thinner”. As a result, even one instance of sunburn can be quite serious. It is recommended to keep babies under six months old in the shade – sunscreens are not suitable for such young skin so direct sun exposure should be avoided entirely. Use SPF50 (even in the shade) on children six months and older regardless of their skin tone – deeper skins need sun protection too.
Aldi Lacura SPF 50+ Baby Lotion (€2.99 at Aldi stores nationwide) is affordable and perfect for babies from six months to three years, after which point you can use a standard children’s SPF50. The same Lacura range has an Extra Sensitive SPF 50+ Kids Spray (€3.99) that is easy to apply to unwilling little people.
Soltan Kids Learn To Reapply UV Detection Stickers (€5 at boots.ie) are water- and sweat-resistant. Grab a wriggling child as they toddle or run by and attach the sticker to an exposed area like the upper arm. Slather said body in a tablespoon of sun cream, ensuring you apply over the sticker. After a minute of sunlight, the sticker will turn clear. When the sun cream has worn off, the sticker will go purple. It’s not a guarantee of no sunburn – just a helpful visual reminder of when it’s time to reapply.