By Prof Hlela
According to Prof Hlela, the skin serves as a protective barrier that prevents infections, water loss and the penetration of irritants and allergens. Besides for baby skin being up to 3 times thinner than adults, it also loses moisture five times faster. The first few month’s of a baby’s life is crucial – so you want to make sure that they are protected from germs and bacteria because cracked skin allows germs to pass through more easily.
How can I keep my baby’s nappy area healthy?
Prof Hlela introduced us to the ABCDE steps to protect the delicate skin barrier of a baby:
A – Air: Exposing the area to fresh air frequently and for as long as possible
B – Barrier: Using a barrier cream that provides lipid film to protect against irritants such as urine and stool
C – Cleansing: Making sure to cleanse the area with a baby wipe at each nappy change
D – Diaper: Using super-absorbent diapers, changing baby frequently
E – Educate: Educating other moms and caregivers to follow the proper nappy hygiene skin care practices
Okay, so what’s the big deal about wet wipes?
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when visiting the baby aisle at the vast array of wet wipes available? How do you even know which one to choose?! Well, here are a few factors to consider when choosing baby wipes and skincare products:
Make sure the type of fabric used for the wipes is 100% cotton. This will ensure that it is soft for the skin and reduces friction.
Check if it has gentle emollients to protect skin from damage caused by frequent cleansing.
Even water has a higher pH level than that of baby skin, sometimes causing dryness. Look for a wipe that is as close as possible to baby’s natural pH level, which is around 5.5.
Mildly fragranced wipes are okay, fragrance-free is better. Not all fragrance is skin appropriate.
Educate yourself! Read the ingredients! Avoid strong chemicals such as alcohol, soap, triclosan and even essential oils (which can be an irritant).