The newborn baby's skin is soft and delicate. Care should be taken to ensure that skin care products to be used for babies are non-perfumed and odorless, and should not contain dyes and chemicals with known harmful effects. Liv Hospital Child Health and Diseases Specialist Prof. Dr. Nermin Tansuğ talked about the things to pay attention to when doing skin care for newborns.
How should skin care be in newborn babies?
Since the skin of the newborn baby is not yet mature, it has different characteristics from the adult. Since the skin of the newborn is drier, less moisture-holding capacity and thinner than adult skin, it is more susceptible to infections and toxins. Because of these properties, skin care is important to protect from external factors and to ensure healthy development of the skin.
The baby should be dried with a towel after birth.
At birth, babies' skin, the cheesy substance called vernix caseosa, may cover the whole body or exist only in the folds. Vernix caseosa is a physiological barrier that also has antioxidant and waterproof properties. Being slippery also facilitates birth. Completely cleaning should not be attempted after childbirth, as it provides protection against microbes and speeds up wound healing. It is usually sufficient to dry them with hot dry towels in the delivery room. Vernix caseosa dries spontaneously and disappears in the hours following birth. However, if the mother has infections such as hepatitis or the baby is very bloody and covered with meconium, it can be washed. Bathing babies right after birth can cause their temperature to drop and do more harm than good. Low temperature can increase oxygen consumption and increase respiratory distress. Therefore, the first bath should be delayed a few hours after birth until the baby is stable.
How often should it be washed?
Bathing at home until the umbilical cord falls is not recommended. Wetting of the umbilical cord delays the drop of the umbilical cord and facilitates the development of umbilical infection. Until the belly falls off, the baby can be wiped daily with warm water and a soft cotton cloth or towel, protecting the belly. Bathing can be done the day after the umbilical cord falls off. Bath water should be at body temperature (35-37 ° C) and room temperature 21-22 7 ° C. Before the baby is placed in the bath, the temperature of the water should be checked by measuring it in degrees or pouring it into the inner surface of the forearm, and burns should be prevented in the baby. Bath time 5-10 minutes is sufficient. Babies usually bathe 2-3 times a week. In hot seasons, it can be taken every other day or every day. Frequent bathing causes the baby's skin to dry out. Since the cold weather will further increase the drying of the skin, it should be bathed less frequently in winter. Washing in the evening makes it easier to fall asleep with the calming effect of the bath.
How should the shampoo be chosen?
Skin pH, which is high after birth, reaches its adult value after a few weeks. This protective acid layer protects the body against germs. Soaps disrupt the normally slightly acidic pH of the skin and reduce the protective lipid layer of the epidermis. Therefore, its use is not recommended. If it is desired to be used, a neutral pH soap that does not contain dyes and perfumes, and neutral pH, tear-free baby shampoo should be used as little as possible to wash the hair. Cocamidopromyl betaine, MIPA loret sulphate are among the allergens that should be avoided frequently used in baby shampoos. Care should be taken to rinse thoroughly after using soap or shampoo. If soap residue remains, it may irritate the baby's skin. After bathing, the hair and the whole body, armpits, groin, neck and back of the ear should be dried by paying attention to the folds. Drying should be done carefully, by lightly touching the towel, without damaging the skin. In order to prevent the skin from drying out, unperfumed bath oil can be added to the last water used without taking it out of the bath. If the baby's skin is not dry after bathing, skin care is not required. If the skin is dry, it can be used by spreading the care creams in a thin layer. For this purpose, an emollient that prevents dehydration or a moisturizing cream that keeps the skin moist by giving water can be used. The most suitable preparations used are vaseline-based moisturizers and softeners. Creams containing lanolin may cause sensitization. Oily pomades and oils should not be used, especially if they are applied in a thick layer, as they will block the skin pores and prevent sweating and cause rash. It should not be forgotten that inactive substances such as preservatives, dyes and fragrances contained in moisturizers can cause skin irritation and allergic dermatitis, especially in risky babies. Chemical substances are easily absorbed through the skin of the newborn.
A diaper should be changed every 3-4 hours
Diaper dermatitis occurs in the perineum, groin, thigh, hip and anal region where urine and poop come into contact. Wetness and maceration make the leather more permeable and sensitive. Since urine increases the pH of the skin and turns it into alkaline, microorganisms settle easily. Since the poop of babies fed with breast milk is more acidic than those who are fed with formula, less diaper dermatitis is seen. In order to protect against diaper dermatitis, the diaper should be changed every 3-4 hours to reduce skin wetness and to minimize the contact of urine and poop with the skin. In order to reduce skin wetness, ready-made cloths with high absorbency rate should be used. Glands that are wrapped tight enough to prevent air intake should not be tightly tied, as they will cause more contact of urine and poop with the skin. Zinc oxide creams or petroleum jelly based creams can be applied to the skin to reduce the contact of urine and poop with the skin. Ready-made wet towels used for baby diaper cleaning are not recommended as they may increase irritation. Alcohol-free, water-impregnated cleansing wipes can be used on healthy skin and when water is not available. Powder is not recommended as it may form a suitable layer for bacteria and fungi, and may also be harmful to the respiratory tract. It should be kept in mind that the systemic absorption of the preparations in the form of pomade will be excessive when applied to the diaper area or lesion areas during the superficial drug use in newborns.