A baby’s skin may be beautiful and soft but, as many mothers will know, it can also be susceptible to dryness, sensitivity and redness. Ultra-fine and delicate, young children’s skin requires a gentle touch as well as mild and effective skincare products to help keep it soft, hydrated, and balanced.
Choosing a moisturiser for babies and children can therefore be challenging, so we’ve created this straightforward guide to help. From the best hydrating and barrier-boosting skincare ingredients to those to avoid, we’ve covered everything you need to know about choosing a moisturiser for your child. Read on to discover how to care for your little one’s sensitive, dry or very dry skin today.
1. DO BABIES NEED MOISTURISER?
With much thinner skin than adults, babies and young children can be more susceptible to dryness and accompanying irritation. Lower in Natural Moisturising Factors1, infant skin is also less able to retain moisture, as well as being more permeable to environmental irritants such as dust and allergens.
Bathing with plain water or soap can also sap your children’s skin of moisture, so it’s important to use a gentle moisturiser – as well as a suitable cleanser – to support the skin barrier and maintain hydration. For children with very dry or eczema-prone skin, this is even more important.
2. COMMON SKIN CONCERNS IN BABIES AND CHILDREN
Dryness is a common skin concern for babies and, unfortunately, this often goes hand in hand with sensitive skin. With symptoms such as redness, blemishes, tightness, itching or burning sensations, sensitive skin – as opposed to sensitised skin – is something you’re born with. Intrinsic factors that can cause increased sensitivity include a thinner epidermis, lower skin pigments, or blood vessels nearer the skin’s surface. External triggers such as cold weather, hot water, pollen and some chemicals can also lead to skin sensitivity in babies and children.
There are also specific skin conditions that can affect babies and young children. Dermatologist Dr Alice Rudd shares with us the most common skin conditions she sees in young patients: eczema, dermatitis and atopic dermatitis. Presenting before the age of two, eczema is a chronic condition that most often occurs in children with a parent or older sibling who also has eczema – indicating there is most likely a genetic component.
“Eczema in this age group can present from birth and has the appearance of red dots or red patches, commonly in the elbow and knee creases and on the torso,” Dr Rudd says. Symptoms include skin that is dry and sensitive, often with a very impaired and immature skin barrier. Often itchy, eczema can cause considerable discomfort and prevent babies and children from sleeping.
While eczema and atopic dermatitis can continue to flare up into adulthood, other types of dermatitis can result in temporary discomfort for your child. Causing a red, itchy reaction, contact dermatitis can occur when the skin is exposed to an irritant or allergen, such as certain fragrances, metals or detergents.
3. 5 THINGS TO DO WHEN CHOOSING MOISTURISER FOR CHILDREN
Now that you know how delicate your little one’s skin can be, you’re probably wondering which baby moisturiser to choose. Our suggestion? Do these five simple things, and you really can’t go wrong.
1.DON’T ASSUME NATURAL IS BEST
There’s a common belief that natural products are more suitable for sensitive skin – both in adults and infants. However, this is a misconception, and natural ingredients such as essential oils and nut oils can irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction. So, make sure you do your research on ingredients and consult with your GP or dermatologist if you’re unsure.
2. AVOID FRAGRANCED PRODUCTS
Whether natural or synthetic, fragrance can contain common irritants. It’s therefore best avoided when dealing with delicate young skin, particularly when there is a compromised skin barrier. Alternatively opt for a hypoallergenic fragrance and a formula tested on sensitive skin.
3.CHOOSE HYPOALLERGENIC PRODUCTS
To minimise the risk of a reaction or allergy, always ensure any product you use on your child has been allergy tested, is suitable for sensitive skin, and is dermatologist recommended.
4.OPT FOR THICK TEXTURED CREAMS AND BALMS
When it comes to moisturiser for babies and young children, Dr Alice Rudd recommends choosing thicker textured creams and balms with ingredients such as shea butter. Creating a more protective film on the skin, these more nourishing formulations help hydrate skin for longer and provide relief from dryness.
5.STICK WITH MINIMALIST FORMULAS
For sensitive and mild eczema-prone skin in all age groups, less is always more. This means selecting products with a minimal formula and avoiding known allergens such as alcohol and fragrance.
4. BABY-FRIENDLY INGREDIENTS TO LOOK OUT FOR
You now know to avoid fragrances and be wary of essential oils, but which ingredients should you seek out in children’s skincare? Helping to hydrate, nourish, strengthen and soothe, the following ingredients – found in the La Roche-Posay Lipikar and Cicaplast ranges – are ideal for sensitive, dry skin of all ages, even from the first days of life…
A hero ingredient in the Lipikar range, shea butter is a rich, nourishing ingredient that helps to maintain and strengthen the skin barrier with lipids (natural fats) similar to the skin’s own. Dr Alice Rudd tells us, “Shea butter creates a thick moisturising layer without being too greasy and penetrates the skin to mimic the skin’s own natural moisturising factors.”
Another key Lipikar ingredient, niacinamide (or Vitamin B3) is beloved for its soothing and strengthening properties. Helping to maintain the skin’s lipid barrier, niacinamide may be beneficial for children with sensitive and very dry skin types.
Dr Alice Rudd also recommends the use of glycerin in baby’s skincare. “Glycerin is a beneficial ingredient that can be included in a wash or cleanser to create a hydrating film over the child’s skin, and to help prevent water loss and barrier impairment that can occur as result of bathing and showering.” It can be found in both the Lipikar and Cicaplast ranges.
The key active ingredient in the Cicaplast range, Vitamin B5 (or panthenol) helps to support the skin’s natural barrier function. Reducing transepidermal water loss, it helps prevent dryness and also has powerful skin soothing properties.
5. OUR MOISTURISING PRODUCTS FOR BABIES AND CHILDREN
If you’re looking for a moisturising baby cream for sensitive skin or body lotion for your kids, look no further than La Roche-Posay. The Lipikar range and Cicaplast B5 Baume offer hydrating and soothing formulas made for sensitive skin and suitable for use on dry and mild eczema-prone skin. La Roche-Posay skincare is recommended by dermatologists worldwide and praised for its efficacious, allergy-tested and made for sensitive skin products. The Lipikar and Cicaplast ranges are formulated for use by the whole family.
Suitable for newborns and children, the Lipikar range includes hydrating body washes and lipid-replenishing moisturisers. Enriched with microbiome-balancing prebiotic Aqua Posae Filiformis, nourishing shea butter and soothing niacinamide, Lipikar Huile Lavante Ap+ Body Cleansing Oil and the fragrance-free Lipikar Syndet Ap+ Body Wash Shower Cream gently remove impurities without stripping precious moisture from normal to very dry skin and is also suitable for mild eczema-prone skin. Massage into damp skin in the shower or bath, or add 5 pumps of the cleansing oil to your little one’s bath.
Light and non-greasy, Lipikar Lait Body Milk Moisturiser is a fast-absorbed body lotion that provides 48 hours of hydration for dry, sensitive skin. Allergy tested and fragrance free, the shea butter and niacinamide-enriched lotion should be applied to clean, dry skin immediately after bathing for lasting comfort and relief from dryness.
For newborns, children and adults prone to extreme dryness, there is the more intensely lipid-replenishing Lipikar AP+M Body Balm – also suitable for use on mild eczema-prone skin. Designed for very dry skin susceptible to dryness flare-ups, the fragrance-free balm has a richer texture and can be used from the first days of life. In addition to barrier-boosting niacinamide and 20% shea butter, the soothing balm contains prebiotic Aqua Posae Filiformis and Microresyl to help balance the skin's microbiome.
The balm should be applied to your baby or child’s skin 1-2 times a day. For best results, massage gently into damp, clean skin until fully absorbed.
For dry patches and redness, try Cicaplast Baume B5 Balm Barrier Cream. Formulated with hydrating, soothing panthenol (Provitamin B5) and madecassoside to complement skin renewal, this moisturising, soothing, multi-repairing balm is suitable for use on babies from 3 months old through to adults. Apply generously to areas of dryness on the body and/or face twice daily, or as often as needed. The soothing balm is suitable for use on the body, face and lips.
Little hands in need of comforting relief from dryness may also benefit from Cicaplast Mains Hand Barrier Cream. Suitable for children and adults, this fragrance-free hand cream contains soothing niacinamide and hydrating glycerin and creates an invisible wash and friction resistant barrier for dry, damaged hands. Apply as needed to your child’s clean, dry hands.
Please note: In the case of severely dry or eczema-prone skin, we recommend speaking to your dermatologist or healthcare professional for advice specific to your child's skin situation.
References 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4593874/
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