During the first year, baby’s skin is still changing and developing – it actually differs in structure and composition from adult skin.
Babies have a fragile skin barrier – and it’s the skin barrier that protects babies from toxins and water loss. Harsh cleansers and bath products can alter the moisture level and pH of baby’s skin and therefore compromise the skin barrier.
Since infants retain and lose water through their skin at a faster rate than adults (this is known as transepidermal water loss, or TEWL), maintaining the skin barrier is a significant step toward keeping baby well hydrated. Harsh cleansers can also cause dryness and irritation, and can harm the skin’s acid mantle, which plays a role in supporting the skin barrier by promoting normal skin shedding (desquamation) and a balanced microbiome (the diverse, harmless or beneficial microorganisms that colonize the skin surface).
Still, a cleanser is needed to emulsify the oil, dirt and microorganisms on the skin surface so that they can easily be removed by water. Newborn skin needs a gentle cleanser that does not cause moisture loss or influence the skin’s pH.
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