baby

8 pressing questions from parents about baby skincare answered by an expert.

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Thanks to our brand partner, endota spa

Baby acne? Dry skin? A reaction rash? Hardly the images that come to mind when we think of a baby’s softer-than-soft skin.

But every parent knows that looking after a baby’s birthday suit isn’t actually child’s play. Those little beauties are sensitive.

So we asked our network of Mamamia parents for their biggest skin concerns when it comes to looking after their little ones, and put them to an expert.

Dr Hayley Dickinson (or “Dr Hayley” as she’s also known) is one of Australia’s leading research scientists for maternal health. She is also the lead consultant for endota Organics’ new skincare range for mother and baby called Nurture.

 

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Here’s her advice on keeping your baby’s skin deliciously soft for endless nuzzling.

1. I’m wanting to be more mindful of what I put on my baby’s skin but don’t know where to start. What would you suggest looking for when I choose a product? Any key words to look out for?

Dr Hayley: I think rather than seeking out particular ingredients it’s about avoiding some ingredients. Avoiding parabens, phlalates and phenols, as well as other chemicals that are known to cause irritation such as PEGs, colourants, artificial fragrances and the SLS and SLES class of surfactants.

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And the source of the ingredient can be just as important as the ingredient itself. That’s why the new endota Organics Nurture products are certified by Australian Certified Organic (ACO) as organic or natural.

Another important consideration when choosing products is to ensure the pH is balanced with babies skin, much like the range from endota. This supports the establishment of the acid mantle, the slightly acid film on our skin, which is essential in encouraging and nurturing the ‘good’ bacteria on our babies’ skin.

2. My daughter’s got pretty bad eczema. I’m using a hypoallergenic moisturiser but is there anything else I can do make her comfortable, especially at night?

Dr Hayley: Eczema occurs in about 20 per cent of children under the age of two and typically presents within the first six months of life. People with eczema have skin that doesn’t retain moisture well, which causes it to dry out easily. This can lead to irritated and itchy skin as the skin is more open to allergens and irritants.

Recommended treatment for eczema by the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy is to apply moisturiser daily, use non-soap based wash and avoid soapy products. We’ve developed the endota range to be suitable for people with sensitive skin. For example, the endota Organics Nurture Protective Barrier Balm is a great product to apply to areas where the skin barrier has been compromised. This can help the skin retain moisture, protect it from irritants and encourage healing.

3. What should I be using on my baby’s skin during bath time? I heard that hot water and a flannel is enough. Is this true?

Dr Hayley: Hot water can be very drying for babies’ skin and if it is too hot it can cause burns. Instead, use warm water when cleansing babies’ skin to remove irritants such as saliva, nasal secretions, urine and faeces.

It is equally important to not strip the skin of its naturally beneficial oils and the healthy microbial environment necessary for proper skin health. Studies have shown that washing babies with a mild, liquid-based cleanser with a pH either neutral or mildly acidic (balanced to babies’ skin) maintain better hydration than washing with water alone. The Nurture Gentle Bath & Body Wash is pH balanced to baby’s skin, has a beautifully relaxing and calming lavender scent and is soap free, effectively cleansing babies skin without drying.

4. My baby has such dry skin during the winter months and her usual moisturiser isn’t really cutting it. What can I use that’s still gentle but effective?

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Dr Hayley: Dry skin is common in babies. At term, babies’ skin has all of the structure that adult skin has but it isn’t yet as thick so it can’t resist losing water to the environment as effectively as adult skin can. This can make them more sensitive and vulnerable to changes in their environment, like during the winter months when we use heaters to warm our homes.

But this can be managed by applying a body lotion that is rich in ingredients that hydrate the skin – using a gentle pH-balanced lotion, such as endota Organics Nurture Gentle Baby Lotion. It’s rich in aloe vera, chamomile and sunflower oil, and its lavender scent is a great way to calm and hydrate your baby’s skin.

 

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5. Help! My baby is suffering from acne. How long does it last? And is there anything I can do to help clear it up?

Dr Hayley: Acne affects about 20 per cent of newborns and typically resolves itself with time. If you are concerned about your babies’ acne, seek medical attention from your parental child health nurse or your general practitioner.

6. Do I really need to use skincare products that say they’re especially designed for babies? Does it really make that much of a difference?

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Dr Hayley: Nurture skincare, for example, is specifically developed for mothers and babies, but actually anyone can use the products. They have been dermatologically tested on people with sensitive skin so that means they’re useful for a wide range of skin types. However, the opposite is not true. Using products that are not designed for babies skin is not advised.

Many products that are developed for adults can have active ingredients that may penetrate the layers of the skin and be absorbed by the body. These ingredients are typically metabolised or broken down in our liver. Children and babies have an increased surface area to body ratio so they may be at increased risk of excess exposure. And because of the immaturity of their organs, they’re likely to have a reduced capacity for eliminating these chemicals.

7. Why is it important to look for products for my baby that are in BPA-free packaging? What does that actually mean?

Dr Hayley: BPA stands for bisphenol-A, a chemical that is commonly used in plastics to harden them. There is evidence that BPA can leach out of packaging and enter into the products contained within. It may then enter our bodies. BPA is one of a group of endocrine disrupters, that can mimic the action of hormones in the body. It is believed that children and babies may be at increased risk because of the immaturity of their organs.

8. I want to keep my baby’s skin as soft as possible. How often should I moisturise her?

Dr Hayley: There is evidence in the medical literature that parents typically underestimate the dryness of their baby’s skin. Dry skin is more likely to become irritated and itchy, so it is important that we maintain adequate hydration. You might like to moisturise your baby’s skin after each bath.

Massage is another great opportunity to hydrate your baby’s skin and it’s a great way to establish physical bonds and connection with your baby.

Using a gentle pH-balanced lotion, such as endota Organics Nurture Gentle Baby Lotion which is rich in aloe vera, chamomile and sunflower oil and with its lavender scent is a great way to calm and hydrate your baby’s skin.

For more information about mother and baby skincare from Dr Hayley, visit endota Organics Nurture’s website.

What other questions do you have about caring for baby skin?

This content was brought to you with thanks by our brand partner, endota spa.

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At birth your baby is protected by nature's skincare, the Vernix, and common wisdom is to leave it on as long as possible. endota Organics Nurture™ skincare range for mother and baby has been developed with leading women's health scientist Dr Hayley Dickinson, PhD to extend the role played by Mother Nature and preserve the delicate pH balance of your baby's skin. With no nasties in the formulation, what we leave out is just as important as what we put in. Available at over 100 spas Australia wide and online at endotaspa.com.au.

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