Newborn Skin Facts:
The skin of a newborn is half in thickness compared with adult skin. It is thus likely to get damaged by any strong substances applied on the skin. Certain medications applied on large areas of the body may get absorbed from the skin and enter the circulation. The sweat glands are not well developed and consequently they are more prone to developing prickly heat. The immune system is immature and hence infants are more susceptible to infections.
Myth 1: Oil massage of a newborn is a must
The skin of a newborn is half in thickness compared with adult skin. It is thus likely to get damaged by any strong substances applied on the skin. Certain medications applied on large areas of the body may get absorbed from the skin and enter the circulation. The sweat glands are not well developed and consequently they are more prone to developing prickly heat. The immune system is immature and hence infants are more susceptible to infections.
Myth 2: The more you scrub skin with gram flour the better for the baby
Fact: Gram flour can often irritate the baby’s skin and produce redness and cracking. It is believed that vigorous scrubbing will remove the fine hair on the body of children. Most fine hair are eventually lost anyway.
Myth 3: Baby care products are the panacea for baby skin
Fact: Baby care products are okay to use as long as everything is fine. But allergies can occur to these as well. If in doubt let your dermatologist decide the right products to use. Useful tips are ‘fewer the ingredients the better’ and ‘unscented products are safer’.
Myth 4: Antiseptics are indispensable to stave off infections
Fact: Antiseptics are the commonest cause of irritation on the skin of infants. Just washing the skin with regular soap and water is sufficient to maintain skin hygiene. Adding antiseptics to bathing water and soaking clothes in antiseptics too are not good ideas. We see some pretty nasty reactions to commonly used antiseptics. If the baby is getting recurrent infections, let your dermatologist suggest you an appropriate plan of action.
Myth 5: Diapers are God’s gift for babies
Fact: Diapers are actually a gift to parents so that they can enjoy themselves while the baby’s tender nappy area is assaulted by excrement. Can you imagine yourself even for a few minutes in a diaper? If one has to use diapers, keep checking the area regularly, and change diapers frequently. Using superabsorbable diapers may be helpful. But thin cotton nappies changed when wet are best.
Myth 6: Just proceed to the next task after breastfeeding the baby
Fact: We commonly see fungal infection in the neck region, particularly in chubby infants. The prime factor responsible is breast milk accumulating in the neck folds. Make it a point to wash the neck thoroughly and pat dry every time the baby is fed. Also ensure that you playfully tilt the chin upwards every once in a while so that the neck is stretched open a best.
Myth 7: It is dirty to retract the foldable skin overlying the penis of children
Fact: It is dirtier to not retract the foreskin and clean with water. If the skin does not go back and forth, accumulation of secretions, infection and sometimes difficulty in urination may occur. Circumcised males are spared from all these problems and more.