Understanding & Protecting Your Baby’s Skin

Diaper rash. This skin condition is common among infants, but many don’t understand why. Due to the nature of an infants delicate skin, common products available to treat diaper rash could actually be hindering versus helping. The outermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum, is thinner in infants, and a reason why this protective barrier needs attentive care.

Our skin functions best when it maintains a balanced and neutral pH. It is the first form of defense in fighting infection. How does this play a role in diaper rash? Creams and diapers can both change the landscape of pH in the area it is supposed to be protecting.

We know that an infant’s skin is closer to a neutral pH than an older baby. An infant’s skin undergo’s a number of changes during the first month of life as it adapts to living outside the womb, making it more prone to getting irritated. However it does not stop here. From newborn to potty training, the area covered by a diaper is at risk.

When a baby excretes urin or fecal matter, it can dramatically change the pH of the skin, increasing moisture and causing irritation. When moisture of an area rises inside the diaper, it becomes more at risk for a rash the longer it sits.

TIP: Change your baby’s diaper whenever it is wet or soiled.

If your baby has developed diaper rash, reaching for a barrier cream has always been the go to. In some cases, it can do more damage than good. When you put a cream on top of a rash, you are placing a manmade type of barrier on the skin, reducing the effectiveness of the skins natural function. The cream creates moisture build-up on top of the the new barrier, raising moisture content. This results in the rise of pH, ultimately lowering the skins natural ability to defend itself.

There may not be a perfect answer in how we treat and care for diaper rash. The more we learn about the skin and its makeup, the more we will be able to truly understand remedies.

What can you do to limit diaper rash and skin irritation problems for you baby?

  • Change diapers immediately after being soiled
  • Use pH neutral cleansers
  • Speak to your doctor about the safest and healthiest creams for your baby
  • Beware of hard water in cleansing, as it to can increase potential risk of skin irritation

Source: Nursing In Practice Infant Skin Care