A pediatric dermatologist shares ways to protect baby’s skin this season

(BPT) - Seasons are changing, which means more than just swapping baby’s summer bonnet for a beanie. Cooler weather can also take a toll on their skin. You may start to notice dryness, irritation and itchiness on your little one, which can be a sign of ceramide depletion in the skin barrier, a common occurrence during the cooler months in all skin, including babies whose skin is still maturing. Because of the delicate nature of their skin, it is important to take special care by following a skincare routine that includes thoughtful steps and hydrating products to help replenish ceramides and repair the skin barrier.

“Compared to adult’s, a baby’s skin is actually 20 - 30% thinner, drier and more susceptible to water loss, which is why their delicate skin requires hydration and skin barrier protection to stay healthy and comfortable,” says Pediatric Dermatologist and Dermatologic Surgeon Latanya Benjamin. “Ceramides are lipids naturally found in skin that help form the skin barrier.”

It is important to provide the daily care baby’s skin needs by using products with ceramides to protect against environmental irritants and regulate hydration, especially as the weather changes. Dr. Benjamin isn't the only expert touting the benefits of this crucial skincare ingredient for babies and infant skin. In fact, she is one of seven experts on a panel of pediatric dermatologists who developed statements on the role that moisturizers with ceramides have on baby skin in a new study recently published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology titled, “A Consensus About the Importance of Ceramide-Containing Skincare for Normal and Sensitive Skin Conditions in Neonates and Infants.”

Benjamin wants to help all parents and caregivers by providing simple advice for the best daily skincare routine for babies that not only strengthens skin while it matures, but can also have long-term benefits into adulthood.

Daily baths are not necessary

Contrary to what many believe, daily baths aren't necessary for your baby, especially in cold or dry climates that may irritate baby’s already dry, sensitive skin. To protect skin and retain natural moisture, give baths three times a week for 5-10 minutes with warm water.

Use gentle, hydrating cleansers

When washing, focus on the parts of baby that tend to get dirtiest. This includes the head, neck and parts covered by a diaper. Use a soft washcloth and gentle, fragrance-free cleanser made for baby's sensitive skin, like CeraVe Baby Wash and Shampoo. This non-irritating, tear-free formula includes barrier-replenishing ceramides and hydrating hyaluronic acid for a gentle wash that doesn't strip baby's skin.

Follow baths with a lotion that contains ceramides

One of the best times to use a moisturizing product on your baby is right after bath time because you can lock in extra hydration provided by the water on the dampened skin. Since all babies have delicate skin, no matter their skin type, the use of lotions with ceramides is recommended for all babies in their daily care.

The aforementioned panel studied the vernix caseosa, the substance produced during pregnancy that utilizes ceramides to protect baby’s skin barrier, and found that using products with ceramides after a baby is born and the vernix caseosa is removed can help hydrate and protect their skin. According to that same study in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, using a ceramide-containing moisturizer, like CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Lotion, is not only beneficial to help keep neonatal and infant skin healthy, but it can also prevent dermatologic problems, like atopic dermatitis, from developing later in life.

Moisturize daily to replenish skin

Post bath time isn’t the only time to moisturize. Since the shift to colder weather can exacerbate ceramide deficiency and cause flare ups for skin conditions like eczema and itchiness, moisturizing throughout the day will help prevent dryness and irritation. Incorporating ceramide-infused products into baby’s daily care routine helps to restore the skin barrier and further protect their delicate skin from damage. Keep bottles in diaper-changing spaces for easy use or consider giving your infant a relaxing baby massage with lotion as part of a bedtime routine.

Go fragrance-free

From the lotions and cleansers you choose to care for your baby to the detergent you use to wash their little clothes, fragrance-free options are best, as added fragrances can often cause skin irritation. This is true for all sensitive skin types, and is especially important in the cooler months, when babies are wearing long clothes and more layers that touch their skin all day long.

"I like to encourage parents that with a few thoughtful steps in their baby’s daily care routine, like incorporating cleansers and lotions with ceramides, they can help keep baby’s skin healthy, hydrated and protected, no matter the time of year," says Benjamin.

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