Baby skin care myths
Bepanthen knows that it can be confusing being a new parent. You've probably been bombarded with well meaning advice from other parents, family members and friends, so how can you tell what's true and what's simply an old wives tale?
1. Water is all you need to wash your baby in
Not necessarily so! Although the advice from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is to use bath products sparingly in the early days, so as not to damage delicate skin,1 you can still use cleansing products on your baby, as long as they are designed for babies. Choose gentle products that have been dermatologically tested and are clinically proven to be gentle on the developing skin of a newborn.
All baby care products have to be tested for safety, and the tests are even more rigorous than on adult products4, so if you want to wash baby using baby products, just avoid anything that’s fragranced or preservative laden and anything containing harsh chemicals. Read labels carefully and always look for a name you trust.
After washing the nappy area, the RCM also advises using a thin layer of barrier ointment or cream to avoid nappy rash - that's one area you shouldn't skimp on. Plain water won't be enough to keep this very active area of a young baby fresh for long! Go for a breathable ointment like Bepanthen which will soothe and moisturise baby’s skin, and help to prevent the causes of nappy rash.
2. All washing products are bad for baby's skin
There is some controversy about chemicals in cosmetics, and it's been raging for some time. We know that many new parents worry about the chemicals there might be in baby products - and baby and child products are not all free from chemical additives just because they are intended for kids.
Even so, there’s no cause for alarm, because any product that's intended for use on babies and children up to the age of three has to pass a more detailed safety assessment - so it should be safe to use on your baby's skin.3
3. A baby needs bathing every day
Lots of parents enjoy bathing their new baby every day - after all it's a fun bonding exercise and if she seems to enjoy it, what's the harm? Well, until baby is crawling around all over the place and actually doing things to get dirty, a proper daily bath probably isn't really necessary.2
Although you don't need to bathe your baby daily, you should still ’top and tail’ him every day, washing his face, neck, hands and bottom. When you do give baby a bath, there are so many bath products to choose from. The golden rule is that anything you add to your little one’s bath water should be gentle. Opt for mild pH neutral cleansers and soaps that have been designed just for babies. Don't use perfumed or non-baby bath products that might cause irritation.
In between baths, keep his face clean of any obvious muck and spills, and thoroughly cleanse his genital area after nappy changes, following with a gentle barrier ointment like Bepanthen, to seal in moisture and help care for this sensitive area.
4. Nappy rash is caused by leaving a nappy on
for too long
It’s so easy to blame yourself if your baby develops nappy rash. You might worry that you didn’t change him in time, or maybe you’re not keeping him clean enough. Well, stop it! Nappy rash is a very common condition and so you shouldn't blame yourself if your baby develops it. It's not caused by leaving the nappy on for too long - any baby can get it and it's usually caused simply by baby's skin coming into contact with wee and poo.4
Even if it looks really sore, most cases of nappy rash are mild and can be treated with a basic skin care routine. With mild nappy rash, baby isn’t usually in a lot of pain or discomfort, 4 but it's still best to try and prevent it by keeping the area clean, and changing nappies as often as needed. If you're using terry nappies a disposable liner can also help to protect your baby's skin. Use a protective, breathable barrier ointment like Bepanthen after every change to help keep the delicate skin moisturised and stop the irritating chemicals in wee and poo from getting through.