Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, so we should definitely take good care of it. A baby’s skin is especially sensitive and must be cared for thoroughly.
It’s not just baby’s skin that needs special care though — mums’ skin needs tender, loving care too! So read on for helpful advice from Dr Tan Hiok Hee, a dermatologist at Thomson Specialist Skin Centre.
Tips for baby skin care
When picking skin care products for baby, look for items that do not contain dyes, phthalates and parabens, or excessive fragrance, as these cause skin irritation for babies.
Remember, whenever you’re in doubt, talk to your doctor.
Common baby skin conditions
Diaper rash occurs when baby’s skin is irritated due to wet or tight diapers that have been worn for too long. Thus, diapers should be changed as soon as they get wet.
If a rash occurs, try to keep your baby’s diaper area exposed — remove the diaper when you’re at home, to allow the rash to heal.
Prickly heat rash
These small pinkish red bumps usually occur on parts of baby’s body that are prone to sweating. To treat it, keep the environment cool and dry, and avoid putting tight-fitting clothes on baby.
Pimples and whiteheads
Acne is not just an adult condition — it can also occur in babies due to exposure to the mum’s hormones. However, treatment is usually not required as the acne will clear by itself within a few weeks.
White bumps (Milia)
Half of all newborns get these tiny white bumps on their faces and noses. There’s no cause for worry, though, as these bumps will clear by themselves and do not require treatment.
Cradle cap, which presents itself as thick white or yellow scales on the scalp, occurs primarily during baby’s first month and clears within his or her first year. Use olive oil and gentle shampoo to remove adherent crusts.
Tips for mum’s skin care
• Use sunblock to reduce worsening of pigmentation. Many skin lightening creams should be avoided during pregnancy, but sunblocks are safe and should be used.
• Use a gentle skin cleanser, particularly if you already have dry skin. Harsh soaps can aggravate itchiness and dry the skin out.
• Use a moisturiser daily as moisturising the skin keeps it hydrated and supple, and reduces itching due to dry skin. Moisturisers also help make skin less irritable, especially if you have eczema.
• Use topical medications as directed by your doctor. There is no need to fear the use of topical steroids if your doctor prescribes them, but always clarify how to use them and how frequently to apply them.
Common skin changes during pregnancy
Your skin undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy. Many of these skin changes are physiological and are part of the pregnancy process, so they should not cause alarm.
These changes include increased facial pigmentation (melasma) and development of stretch marks. During pregnancy, hair also becomes more lustrous, and, occasionally, nails may become more brittle.
It is also common for veins to become more prominent, and some moles may increase in size. If any of these changes occur and concern you, please seek medical advice.
Certain pre-existing skin conditions, such as eczema, might occasionally flare in pregnancy.
There are also a few specific skin conditions that can occur in pregnancy, such as PUPPP (Pruritic Urticarial Plaques and Papules of Pregnancy), which are itchy skin conditions that will clear after delivery.
Post-delivery, one of the common issues is hair loss, which is usually due to a condition known as telogen effluvium.
Dr Tan will be sharing more tips and expert advice at the Journeying With Baby Fair.
Learn about Essential Skin Care Tips for Mother and Baby, by Dr Tan Hiok Hee of Thomson Specialist Skin Centre, at Thomson Medical Presents “Journeying with Baby” this 20-22 June 2014, Suntec Convention Halls 401/402. For registration of workshops, please visit: http://www.thomsonbaby.
In the meantime, we want to know — did you and your baby ever experience any of the skin conditions mentioned in this article? If yes, what was it, and how did you deal with it? Let us know by leaving a comment!