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What’s different about baby skin, anyway?

What’s different about baby skin, anyway?

Guest Blog by Pipette 

Everything you wanted to know about your baby’s skin, but didn’t know to ask.
You don’t need us to tell you that a baby’s skin is different: the tiny dimpled hands, the velvety cheeks, those irresistibly plump legs—it all reveals there’s something special going on. But if you’ve got a little one at home—or a little one on the way!—you’ll want to be prepared for all the surprises and plot twists that can crop up when you’re caring for baby skin.

We all know that clean skincare is important for adults, but it’s exponentially more important for babies—both because their skin is more delicate and far more likely to get irritated, and because we simply don’t know the long-term effects of various chemicals and preservatives on their growing little bodies. Rule number one for baby care is that everything that touches babies’ skin should be gentle, nontoxic and free of irritating additives and synthetic fragrances, from Pipette Baby Shampoo + Body Wash Fragrance Free to Pipette Baby Wipes Fragrance Free to your laundry detergent. That’s why Pipette is so strict about banning over 2000 potentially suspect ingredients and keeping baby formulas clean, pure, and to the point. Baby skin is a unique organ that’s still developing even after it comes into the world, and its needs are unique, too.

Calming Shampoo + Body Wash
                    Baby Wipes Fragrance Free

Did you know newborn skin starts out with its very own built-in moisturizer?
Newborns are born with a creamy miracle substance on their skin called the vernix. The vernix is rich in moisturizing lipids like squalene, and creates a protective waterproofing effect on babies’ skin when they’re in utero. The true genius of the vernix wasn’t fully understood until recently; hospitals used to wipe the vernix away immediately after delivery, but studies have since shown how beneficial it is for newborn skin functioning. The World Health Organization now recommends leaving the vernix on for at least six hours after birth so it can fully absorb and babies can reap its benefits. Immediately after birth, the vernix is an important protective, moisturizing barrier as newborns’ skin adjusts to the outside world, and it may also have antioxidant and anti-microbial properties to bolster skin’s defenses. 

Sometimes, that perfect newborn skin is….not so perfect.
In the days after the vernix absorbs, newborn skin may peel or flake a bit. If your baby is born post-term or didn’t have as much vernix, the peeling and dry skin might be more noticeable. Don’t worry—it’s a totally normal baby skin issue, and should go away in a few weeks with regular baby lotion applications to boost hydration. (As with all skin conditions, make sure you check in with your pediatrician to rule out other possible health issues.) Our everyday Pipette Baby Lotion Fragrance Free is designed to sink in instantly and give long-lasting moisture with clean, gentle, plant-derived ingredients—and comes in a fragrance-free version for the most sensitive skin.

First peeling, then…acne?!
Those poor babies can’t catch a break! A few weeks after birth, newborns often develop little pimples on their noses and cheeks. The breakouts may have to do with moms’ hormones leftover in babies’ bloodstream from pregnancy, and you don’t need to do anything other than gently cleanse skin as usual with a non-drying, sulfate-free, fragrance-free wash like our Pipette Baby Shampoo + Body Wash Fragrance Free (definitely no acne treatments!). The acne usually goes away on its own after several weeks, and you’ll get back to that velvety-smooth baby skin again.

Baby skin loses moisture much faster than adult skin.
For the first year of life, babies are still developing a healthy skin moisture barrier—i.e., skin’s first line of defense against harsh ingredients or bacteria. Because that barrier isn’t fully mature, babies’ skin loses moisture fast, which is also what makes it particularly delicate and vulnerable to irritation. (Rashes, anyone?) Since baby skin has a tendency to dry out so easily, baths should be kept short, sweet, and not too hot (hot water can be particularly drying), and should be followed right away with generous doses of lotion or oil. For stubbornly dry spots or delicate areas like the diaper area, our richly moisturizing Pipette Baby Balm is packed with extra-nourishing ingredients like fatty acids, jojoba esters, and sugarcane-derived squalane.

Baby skin absorbs moisture much faster than adult skin.
Even though baby skin dries out faster, it absorbs moisture faster, too. Which is good news! That’s also why it’s so crucial that the moisturizers you use on their skin are made with the safest ingredients: because they sink into skin so swiftly and readily. Pay attention to what you put on your own skin too, since you and your little one are in very close contact for those early months; if you’re breastfeeding, choose a nipple balm like Nessa’s Nipple SOS, which is made with safe (and edible!) ingredients like cocoa, coconut and mango butter.

It’s also quick to chafe—and to sunburn.
Because baby skin is thinner and more delicate, even gentle rubbing can irritate it—and as everyone knows, babies have lots of adorable little rolls and folds. Pipette Baby Cream to Powder is our genius talc-free (and mess-free) answer to baby powder; made with safe ingredients like food-grade arrowroot powder and tapioca starch to wick away excess wetness, the creamy formula smooths onto skin with a velvety finish that keeps chafing and irritation at bay.
Because their skin is so thin, babies can also get sunburns much more easily than adults—they can burn in as little as ten to fifteen minutes!—and childhood burns increase the risk of skin cancer in the long run. That’s why for the first six months, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends avoiding all sun exposure for babies between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, when UV rays are the strongest. Always keep baby sunhats at the ready, and after 6 months make sure to apply a clean, nontoxic, broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen like Pipette Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 to any sun-exposed skin.

Pipette Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

Baby skin is changing. Every. Single. Day.
Mamas, remember: No matter how many alarming mystery rashes crop up during that first year, this too shall pass. Patience and clean, safe ingredients are the best ways to get through it. Pretty soon you’ll have a rambunctious, rough-and-tumble toddler on your hands, and you’ll wonder where that delicate little newborn went.

The information provided by Pipette is intended solely for educational purposes. The information is not to be used for medical diagnostic purposes and is not intended to serve as a recommendation for treatment and/or management of any medical/surgical condition. Most of all, this information should not be used in place of a physician or other qualified health provider. If you believe you or your child have a medical condition, please contact your physician immediately.