CosmeticOBS - L'Observatoire des cosmétiques
Jan. 5, 2012All about babies

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Few are the best! Many dermatologists say it over and over again: the less the baby is in contact with cosmetic products and ingredients, the lower the risk to be in contact with a substance likely to produce an allergy and an irritation. The more we let nature do its job, the less we go against its natural processes of protection, the more harmonious is the development of the baby’s skin.

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Few cosmetics every single day, going with the natural processes of protection of our baby’s skin, all that does not mean "do nothing and use only pure water"!
A good hygiene and some specific cares are needed, obviously. Nevertheless, they may be used with moderation, even sparingly, a bit as a nursery rhyme in which a dozen would be the maximum …
• 1, 2, 3 … among the products, I choose the best
• 4, 5, 6 … my movements, nimble and precise
• 7, 8, 9 … as for the ingredients, few is the word
• 10, 11, 12 … at the end, my baby’s skin is so soft!

The three daily essential cares

A baby does not need many cosmetics to feel happy, clean and smell good: only one gel may be used to wash the body and the hair during the daily bath. They are generally designed just for that, especially as long as the baby’s hair is not that thick.

Then, a body cream or a massage balm is useful, especially if our baby’s skin is dry or irritated.

For small washes (hands, for instance) and nappy's changes, a milk lotion is the only recommended item: a cream for the bottom is used only if the bottom is irritated, never for repeated applications.

Therefore, for the every day care, three products only, carefully selected, are enough … a good way to lower the cost and to diminish the risks of sensitizing or irritations, always more important when baby is in contact with numerous substances from his (her) earliest age.

The products that are not really useful

Whatever the ads and sales points tell about their products, it may be a good idea, even an interesting one, to prevent some of them, even if claimed as essential, to go to the baby’s toilet bag. Sorting through is not harmful: cheaper, more practical, less cumbersome … and generally better for baby!

Soaps for babies are marketed. Though often hypoallergenic and oil-enriched, they are, nevertheless, soaps, i.e. quite strong products that may impede the fragile hydrolipidic balance of the baby’s skin. Be it solid or liquid, the main ingredients are almost the same.
For the bath, better to use a washing gel specifically designed for babies. For small washes, the normal milk lotion fits the needs.

Again, the industry markets products specific for the babies’ hair . Some have a nice formula. Well. Truly useful? When the vast majority of the washing gels are designed to wash from head to toe? Further, baby has only a short and not thick hair on the head! Is it useful to add another product to the ritual daily care?

Baby wipes
Practical, hygienic, trendy … even the organic cosmetic markets them. Nevertheless, they are not that environment-friendly, as they considerably increase the volume of the wastes (when wipes and their packaging are counted for), non-recyclable anyway, produced by baby’s wash.
However, the main concern is about their formula, almost never satisfactory. Further to cleansing agents not among the least dangerous for the skin, they also often contain a high concentration of preservatives , often again among the most disreputable. Add a fragrance , and you get it! For a product used mainly on babies’ bottom, it should be less aggressive!
Well, as a temporary answer to a specific problem, while travelling, when it is impossible to do otherwise, it may be used. For a daily use, for sure, the answer is a definitive no! A piece of cotton wool and some milky lotion, that’s it! Very simple!

It may be useful, in plain summer, for instance, to refresh baby. But, for the daily wash? To clean the baby, a milk lotion is generally more efficient. To rinse off the milk, spring water is far better than the mix of surfactants , preservatives and fragrance that is called a lotion. In fact, this lotion should be rinsed off itself with spring water. Thus, was it useful to use a lotion from the beginning?

Talc (Baby powder)
For this ingredient, let’s be clear. Many dermatologists say, "certainly not!". Talc , claimed as a must in babies’ bottom care, in fact, is contraindicated. What does happen once the nappy is in place? The talc particles go to skin folds as small balls that may become an irritant and, eventually, increase the risk of an infection!
On the other hand, its powder may be irritating for the respiratory tract of the baby if inhaled; how may this risk be avoided when the product is applied?
Well … better to do without!

The face care
In itself, it is not bad … but its formula and its texture are very close to a body care’s, even to a face and body care’s. In other words, it is the same thing. Then, is another specific product needed?

Specific cosmetics … when needed

Though we have advised you to use a reasonable number of products, it may occur that some others are very useful as complementary to the daily care. This happens when two troubles, currently met with babies, arise: thick, oily, yellowish cradle cap in hair, mainly and the "small red irritations".

Cradle cap
Cradle cap(which appears while the baby is fed with milk only, hence the name) may appear some days after birth and stay until the child is18 months old, even up to 2 years old.
More often appearing on the scalp and on the top of the head (forehead, temples and eyebrows), cradle cap is yellowish, whitish or grayish. These flakes, sometimes thick and scaly, are somewhat unsightly. A guess is that two babies out of three have them from their first week after birth, until they are two-, or even three-years old.

Food or an insufficient hygiene is not the cause for these cutaneous reactions.
cradle cap is due to a concentration of sebaceous glands in the scalp, normal at the beginning of the life, but temporary. The excessive production of sebum , as a result, plus sweat, and their skin-contact maceration in hair or under bonnets, leads to these scaly crusts, not at all dangerous, only unpleasing.

To get rid of them, the cosmetic industry markets specific products; nevertheless, Sweet Almond Oil is an efficient means then.

Small red irritations on the baby’s bottom
This inconvenience comes generally before the true diaper rash (or nappy rash) and is quite frequent on the babies bottoms.
The main cause is the permanent contact of the skin with and the maceration of faeces and urine (a baby may urinate up to 20 times a day!) in nappies.

Irritations are enhanced by the permanent rubbing of nappies on the skin, which, further, is always confined in this leak-free wrapping. Repeated diarrhoea, some medicines, a cold or a baby who is teething, all this may make these small irritations become diaper rash.
Diaper rash affects about one baby out of two, between seven and twelve months. It is an acute dermatitis, with rash, inflammation and discomfort, even pains more or less acute for the baby. It appears less on the bottom itself than on the convex surfaces, such as the rolls of fat on the top of the thighs, on the sexual organs and on the pubis.

Red irritations are a reason for buying an additional product, generally based on Zinc Oxide . These creams are used when changing nappies, are then very useful, but shall not be used regularly. When there is no trouble, the two steps of cleaning and thorough drying are enough at every nappy change. A liniment may also be used as an interesting alternative to the milky lotion.

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