It’s the reason why we spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars every year in an attempt to recapture the texture, glow, and elasticity of the skin of our youth. Whether we are using the newest and most advanced skin care products, or going to a licensed aesthetician for a facial or chemical peel, achieving youthful, elastic skin is recognized as evidence of good health and vigor.
What you may not know is that while baby skin has the same number of layers as adult skin, each layer of a baby’s skin is considerably thinner – about one-fifth the thickness as adult skin – and not nearly as resilient as you might have thought. And because your child’s skin is constantly changing, be prepared at every stage of development – from newborn to teenager – to determine a skin regimen that’s right for your child. Here are some tips to ensure your child maintains the enviable skin you yourself are hoping to achieve.
Baby and Toddler’s Skin
Dry Skin. Did you ever wonder why baby lotion and baby oil are part of every goodie bag given to new parents? That’s because baby skin is prone to drying out and requires constant hydration. One way to keep baby’s skin hydrated is to apply gentle lotions and baby oil, especially to areas that tend to dry out quickly, such as the scalp, elbows, and knees. Bonus! Regularly massaging your baby helps you bond while engaging his senses and encouraging his happy, healthy development. Consider employing therapeutic massage techniques when applying moisturizers to baby’s skin.
Outside Influences. Baby and toddler skin is less resistant than adult skin and especially sensitive to chemical, physical, and microbial influences. This means that any substance that comes into contact with baby skin will be absorbed more easily and penetrate more quickly into deeper skin layers. Be cautious about chemicals, cleansers, soaps, and lotions that your child may come into contact with. Keep chemicals locked up and read the labels before applying something new to your child’s skin. Wash clothes and linens in mild detergent and be on the lookout for any allergic reactions.
Sun Protection. Baby skin is more sensitive to UV rays than adult skin. Use protective clothing and screens (such as an awning on your stroller and tints on car windows) to keep harmful rays away from the baby. In fact, it is best to keep baby out of the sun until your pediatrician or dermatologist recommends any sort of sun exposure, and when they do, be sure to apply the appropriate sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF).
Bath Time. Use mild cleansers without deodorants, fragrance, or alkaline, which can be aggressive on the skin. Hot water and long baths remove lipids from the skin. Reduce time in the tub and use warm, rather than hot, water.
Your Child’s Skin During Puberty
Sebaceous gland activity does not increase until the hormonal changes of puberty, which occur around the age of 12. These hormonal changes also bring about differences between the structure and behavior of boys and girls skin, which, up until then, has been the same.
When puberty hits, your tween or teen may notice many changes regarding their skin, from the emergence of peach fuzz to blackheads and zits. Be sure to take your child’s concerns seriously by helping them learn to shave properly, and offering to take them to the dermatologist to ensure their skincare regime is right for them.
When to See a Dermatologist
Your child may experience any number of skin conditions during childhood. Whether the condition is temporary – like a rash or wart – or chronic, a dermatologist can provide the proper diagnosis and treatment.
The Children’s Skin Center is South Florida’s premier pediatric dermatology practice. With offices located in Miami (Nicklaus Children’s Hospital main campus), Coral Gables, Doral, Miami Lakes, Miramar, Kendall, and Palm Beach Gardens, getting kid-friendly dermatology care with a board-certified dermatologist has never been easier or more convenient.