It is true, there is nothing more sweet smelling than that of your baby’s soft skin. It’s almost edible! Doesn’t it seem crazy, then, that the baby-care industry topped $815 million dollars in 2007 and is continuing to climb at an aggressive rate? Speeding this sector right along is the trend towards “natural baby care,” which began in the more natural and co-op type markets but has quickly come mainstream with major manufacturers joining in (think Huggies, Johnson & Johnson, etc.)
Last year, independent testing found that more than 60% of all baby skin care products tested contained ingredients that had links to skin allergies and cancer. According to the group that conducted the research, the Environmental Working Group, some of the chemicals are banned in Europe, such as 1,4-Dioxane. However, the U.S. has no federal limits on how much of this ingredient can be present in personal care products, even when marketed for use on babies!
There is some good news. According to pediatrician Alan Greene, M.D., author of Raising Baby Green, you can skip products all together during your baby’s infant stage. ” A gentle sponsge bath with warm water works fine for baby’s sensitive skin.” When your baby is ready to graduate into baths that require a little bit more “cleaning” or “elbow grease,” there is hope. Following his advice, look for brands that have organic ingredients. A rule of thumb is that anything you can’t pronounce probably shouldn’t go on your baby’s skin. Another couple of ingredients to avoid are paraben preservatives which include sodium lauryl and laureth sulfates and lastly, mineral oil. Lastly, babies sense of smell is ultra sensitive at birth, partly because they are programmed to decipher the familiar scents of mom, dad and siblings; so skip the fragrance!
As a new parent, you may be extra cautious about what comes next to your baby’s skin. But even giving your baby the best care possible may not be able to prevent a rash on your little one’s soft skin. We’ve outlined four of the top infant skin ailments to help you determine what to look for and how to treat it.
Eczema: Eczema can appear anywhere on a body but usually doesn’t show up before 3-4 months. It will usually show up in dry, patchy areas but it can, in worse cases, look like windburn (think red with possible oozing and pus.) For mild cases, wash the skin with a gentle, fragrance free cleaner and then use generous amounts of moisturizer. For ongoing or worsening cases, seek a doctor’s advice.
Prickly Heat: When your little one gets overheated or is exposed to prolonged heat, tiny red bumps that appear on the face, neck, back or bottom. As temperatures rise, keep your baby’s clothing loose and cool; the rash should fade within 30 minutes of being in a cooler environment.
Seborrhea: Often known as cradle-cap when its located on the baby’s scalp and eyebrows; but this rash can also appear on the neck, ears, cheeks and chest. Seborrhea is most common for babies under 6 months of age. Although no one knows what causes it, there are two easy methods for getting rid of the problem. Rub a small amount of olive oil on the area to loosen the dry scales or skin then gently brush them off with a baby brush or you can wash the affected area with a small amount of anti-dandruff shampoo.
Contact Dermatitis: This rash will look like red bumps at the contact site and may itch. The rash is simply a skin reaction to something your baby came into contact with such as soaps, detergents or even grass. If the rash looks dry, apply a moisturizer to the area. If the itching is causing discomfort to baby, talk with your doctor about a hydrocortisone cream.
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