Saturday, April 30, 2011

The First Line of Defense Against Baby Acne - Bathing Baby to Prevent Breakouts

If you want to clear up your baby's pimples, the most important thing to do is to keep baby's skin clean, just not too clean! The very last step in bathing your baby is what makes the day-to-day difference in fighting baby acne. And if your baby gets dry skin anyway, here are some suggestions.
You can take care of skin cleansing for baby acne at the same time your give your baby a bath. And if you have never given an infant a bath before, here's what you need to do. The ways of washing that clear up baby acne also take care of the rest of the skin. But everything about babies isn't serious!

Comfortable Skin Is Clear(er) Skin

First of all, make sure the room where you will be giving your baby a bath is warm, at least 75º F (24º C). Babies have small bodies that do not yet generate a great deal of heat, so avoiding chills is important.

Select a convenient place to give your child the bath. This can be a kitchen table or a changing table, or perhaps a kitchen counter. Cover the area with a towel to absorb splashes. Make sure your baby does not need a diaper change. If needed, change the diaper before beginning the bath.

What You Don't Need to Clean Your Baby or to Fight Baby Acne

Then assemble everything you will need to give your child a bath before you start. You will need a washing basin (preferably with a back support for your baby), warm water (preferably the same temperature as the room), a towel, a fresh diaper, fresh clothes, and everything you would need for a diaper change. For little boys who have just had a circumcision, this might include Vaseline to put on cut skin after the bath. You also need a washcloth, one that is soft, not rough.

What you do not need is soap. Most of the dirt that affects baby involves poop, snot, or spitting up. These body fluids are best removed with water. If your baby somehow managed to get genuinely dirty while lying in the crib, then you might consider gentle use of Burt's Bees Baby Bee Buttermilk Soap, but it is always best to use just water.

Baby Safety in the Bath

You will need to hold your baby's head above water the entire time you are giving your baby the bath. Supporting your child's head with one hand, remove clothing but not the diaper. With your free hand, dip your clean washcloth in the bathwater before putting the baby in. Then place baby's bottom against the bottom of the bath basin you have filled with 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of warm water.

Cleaning All Over

Continuously supporting baby's head with one hand, begin with the non-diaper areas such as the head, ears, nose, and face. Babies don't like to get their eyes wet, so use your hand to shield baby's eyes. Work your way down to the diaper line, and then start on baby's toes and work your way back up.

Now it is time to remove the diaper to make sure baby is clean all over. For little girls, wash from front to back. (This helps prevent bladder infections.) Don't be worried about a white vaginal discharge in newborn baby girls. Leave what does not come loose with one pass of the washcloth. Do not wash the head of a circumcised penis until it has healed. Complete the bath and get baby ready to dry off.

While it's OK to sing "Rub a Dub Dub" to your baby, it's not OK to rub your baby's skin dry. Always pat it dry. And if your baby has an incompletely healed umbilical stump, wipe with alcohol around but not over the stump to prevent infection.

The Part of Baby's Bath that Fights Baby Acne

What part of baby's bath treats baby acne? For baby acne, what you don't do at bath time is more important than what you do. Hot water causes flaky skin, and flaky skin traps oil in pores. You don't want your baby's bath to be too hot (or so cold your baby gets a chill).

You don't want to use soap. You especially don't want to use a highly scented soap like Baby Face by Lush. Despite the name, the jonquil, tangerine, and everlasting flower essences in Baby Face soap will dry out baby's skin and make acne worse. So will the lavender oil in Baby Salve by Green People. The perfumes and fragrances in soaps designed for adults also dry out baby's skin.

If You Really Need a Cleanser, Try These

The big reason not use soap when your baby has acne is that there is no way you can keep soap off your baby's face, and most soaps for adults will dry out baby's skin, tighten pores, and set the stage for more whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples. But if you really have to use soap, and it is rare that parents really have to, then a (less expensive) product like Burt's Bees Baby Bee Buttermilk Soap will work.

What about body wash for babies? Free and Clear Liquid Cleanser for Sensitive Skin is one of the few products gentle enough for babies.

And if you have made the mistake of using soap and your baby has developed dry skin, which will cause new whiteheads to form, then try Eucerin Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment. Free of drying or allergenic perfumes and fragrances, this Eucerin product adds moisture to baby's skin. The moisture keeps the skin soft and pores open so new blemishes do not form.

Borage Dry Skin Therapy Natural Formula Children's Lotion by ShiKai is also gentle enough for use on baby's skin, although it's relatively expensive. This product contains a lot more aloe gel and jojoba oil than borage oil, but it's still a good, hypoallergenic moisturizer.

An Important Safety Reminder

You just want to use a "dab," the amount you can put on an adult fingertip, to moisturize baby's skin. And before you use any product on your baby's skin, you should make sure there are no adverse reactions by testing an even smaller "dab" on the the back of your baby's arm. Wait 24 hours and make sure there is no redness, elevation, or inflammation from this or any other new product you use on your child's skin.

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