Pure and Simple Skin Care for Baby
Caring for your newborn's skin will be an important part of your new daily routine. It can also be the most pleasurable time spent getting to know your baby. At first, it may seem a little overwhelming, but you will both soon settle into a comfortable routine. The hardest part will be deciding what to use to keep your baby's skin clean and soft.
Those irresistibly soft, delicate folds of baby skin don't need perfumed, chemical products to stay clean and nourished. Nature has provided all that you need for baby's skin care without a lot of fuss. The best way to care for your baby's skin is to keep it clean and protected from the elements, using the least number of products. Remember that your baby's system has to work hard to remove toxins from the bloodstream, so the less you use on your baby's skin, the better.
A few good-to-have natural ingredients for baby skin care include:
All of these natural skin care ingredients are readily available from online vendors. Always look for high quality, pure products.
Washing Your Baby
Newborns don't really need soap for bathing - after all, how dirty do they really get? Soap can strip the layer of protective oils from your baby's skin which can lead to skin irritation. A sponge bath with warm water and a splash of lavender hydrosol will suffice if your doctor has asked you to hold off on bathing until the baby's cord falls off. A mild solution of tea tree oil in water (1 drop of oil in 1 cup of water) can be used to gently clean around the cord. After that, gentle tub baths with plain water and lavender hydrosol is sufficient for your baby's first few weeks. You can add a teaspoon of a cold pressed vegetable oil, such as apricot kernel, grapeseed or watermelon seed oil, or jojoba to the water if desired. These natural vegetables oils not only protect your baby's skin from drying, but they also nourish the skin with important vitamins and essential fatty acids.
If your baby has flaky or crusty skin on the scalp, gently massage a small amount of jojoba into the scalp to help loosen the flaky skin. Comb it out gently using a thin baby comb. If you feel the need to wash your baby's hair, use just a drop or two of liquid castile soap on your finger tips and massage it into wet hair. Rinse it out well being careful not to get the soap in your baby's eyes.
Use a mild solution of lavender oil (1 drop in 1 cup water) or lavender hydrosol in water during diaper changes to thoroughly clean the creases of skin. To protect baby's delicate skin around the diaper area, apply a thin layer of pure shea butter to the skin before diapering. Shea butter will act as a barrier, protecting your baby's skin from wetness.
If you feel you need to use a baby powder, make your own by mixing equal parts oat starch and cornstarch. You can add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the powder if you wish making sure to blend the oil in well. Sift the powder a few times before transferring it to a powder sifter. Be careful during application, not to form clouds of powder in the air. Fine powder should never be inhaled by you or your baby. Shake the powder gently into your palm and then apply to your baby's skin.
If your baby's skin begins to flake and peel, you can use a soft muslin bag filled with colloidal oatmeal and milk powder in the bath to gently scrub away flaking skin. Follow with an application of shea butter, jojoba or a gentle vegetable oil to keep the skin moisturized.
Use a cotton swab dipped in apricot kernel oil or jojoba to clean in and behind the outer ear. Never try to clean the inner ear.
Once your baby is old enough to need some soap, diluted liquid castille soap will do. Mix 1 part soap with 4 parts water or lavender hydrosol and use this with a soft washcloth, being careful not to get soap near your baby's eyes. Rinse off well and follow with an application of shea butter, shea oil or any other favorite vegetable oil that is recommended for baby skin.
Beyond the First Year
As your baby grows, so should your commitment to "pure and simple skin care". Mild castille soap or handcrafted soaps are always best, and all that's really necessary to clean your child's skin. Avoid the temptation to buy overly fragranced, colored, commercial products, made with mineral oil and other synthetic ingredients. Let your child enjoy natural bath salt soaks and home made bath bombs instead of skin-irritating bubble baths. Experiment with using natural vegetable oils and ingredients from the kitchen to take care of your child's skin. Oatmeal, honey, milk, yogurt, fruits, salt and sugar are all great skin care agents for exfoliation and moisturization. Detoxifying clays, antibacterial essential oils and cleansing hydrosols can be lifesavers during teenage years, when acne and oily skin strike. And of course, a healthy, balanced diet should help take care of the rest.
So Is it Worth the Effort?
It most certainly is! Just think - your baby's skin is his or her largest organ. It is capable of absorbing into the bloodstream, anything you put on it. Unfortunately, your baby's immature system is not as capable of eliminating these substances from the body. A buildup of synthetic chemicals in the body can lead to a depressed immune system and increase the chances of developing allergies. Using all natural, and in most cases, edible, alternatives will be less taxing on your baby's organs. In the long run, a lifelong commitment to natural skin care will significantly reduce your child's exposure to chemicals and potential carcinogens, reducing the likelihood of many types of cancers, skin diseases and autoimmune diseases.