Home » Dermatology » Here’s the science on how to help protect your baby’s skin

Dr Emer Gilligan

External Affairs Director, WaterWipes

Protecting a baby’s delicate skin may require a ‘less is more attitude’ if they are to develop a healthy microbiome that will help ward off harmful bacteria.

The overriding urge to protect a newborn baby is a feeling parents are immersed in straight away; but aside from the obvious dangers, some threats might not be immediately apparent. 

Maintain the diversity and balance of baby skin 

Little ones are most precious and delicate, especially in their first year, and one area that parents may not have considered is the importance of their child developing a healthy skin microbiome. 

This is the set of microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, and fungi, that live on the skin. When a baby is born, their skin microbiome begins to develop and there is an even distribution of microbes on the baby’s body. As we grow older, however, the skin microbiome diversifies, and differences can be found at specific sites on the body. It is known that excessive hygiene and the use of harsh chemicals and ingredients can disrupt the healthy balance of the skin microbiome.  

Caring for your baby’s skin 

Dr Emer Gilligan, External Affairs Director of the Ireland-based manufacturer WaterWipes®, is responsible for leading a multi-disciplinary team including product safety and regulatory compliance. She insists that it’s important to ensure an infant’s skin is cared for in the right way. 

An impaired skin barrier function and microbial
imbalance has been shown to be involved in
skin infections and certain skin conditions.

“For the establishment of a healthy skin microbiome, you don’t want to interfere by overloading it with products. You want to let it develop naturally with the same bacteria in its natural environment to create a healthy balance and diversity of microbes. 

“An impaired skin barrier function and microbial imbalance has been shown to be involved in skin infections and certain skin conditions, such as eczema and nappy rash, so it’s important to care for the skin in such a way as to maintain a healthy balance.” 

Think fewer ingredients and simpler routines 

WaterWipes® contain only two ingredients, 99.9% water and a drop of fruit extract — a gentle skin conditioning agent. The wipes are ideal for sensitive, newborn, and premature baby skin and have been awarded the ‘Microbiome-friendly’ seal of quality by MyMicrobiome and LabSkin’s Microbiome Friendly+ seal of approval. 

Parents can help their child’s skin develop their natural skin barrier by not over-using products or excessively cleansing; being mindful of the products they are using by reading the ingredients list; spending time in nature; and ensuring a balanced diet. “Maybe take a ‘less is more attitude’,” Dr Gilligan advises. 

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