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Le salon MakeUp in Paris
Sunday, October 11, 2009Around babies

Do we wash our babies too much?

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It is customary to wash babies in the first moments of their life in the maternity ward, then to repeat the process at least once per day afterwards. But what if our desire for hygiene and cleanliness is going too far? This question, which might seem to go against what we might consider to be common sense, was raised and backed with sound arguments at Cosmed’s 9th Day of Scientific and Technical Exchanges in Montpellier.

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The theme of the day of exchanges was cosmetology for newborns and young children.

As soon as the conference began, two dermatologists, Dr Lise Agopian and Dr Mélissa Mignard-Guillaume, emphasised the specificities of babies’ skin and the implications for the cosmetic products that are best for it. Both described and pointed out the importance of the vernix caseosa in protecting the epidermis of newborns, as well as the need to respect it. Washing hastefully or too aggressively has the opposite effect!

The vernix caseosa: the skin’s first protector

The vernix caseosa, as explained by Dr Agopian, is the waxy substance that coats babies’ skin when they are born. Composed of sticky sebum and keratin debris, it protects the epidermis during in-utero aquatic life. Of variable thickness at birth, according to the infant’s maturity, it is shed naturally within a few hours or days and disappears completely when it is no longer needed.

A study carried out on 430 newborns and presented by Dr Mignard-Guillaume showed its hydrating and antioxidant activities. It also maintains the acid mantle of the epidermis and therefore its barrier function, particularly by providing protection from exterior aggressions and infections.

It is so valuable that cosmetics attempt …

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