When bacteria are mentioned in connection with babies or toddlers, this often leads to fear of infection and diseases. However, we also have to be aware that bacteria are crucially important to baby’s wellbeing and healthy development. This applies in particular to baby skin which shouldn’t come in contact with skin disinfectants, soap, or aggressive skincare – not even in the time of corona.
The skin of newborns and babies is significantly more sensitive than that of older children and adults. Most of all, this applies to the epidermis, the skin’s outermost layers. They aren’t yet as tightly adhered and will only develop over the course of the first few months their crucial barrier function. Hence, it is important to not just focus on a soft and smooth baby skin (experts recommend caring for baby’s skin with so-called emollients), but to specifically support development of a healthy skin flora.
This begins already at birth, when the infant’s skin encounters important natural bacteria from its mother (see also http://www.gesunde-bakterien.de/en/doctors-swab-c-section-babies-with-bacteria/). Breast milk and the food consumed later are also fundamental to a baby’s healthy development, precisely due to the bacteria they contain or cause to develop.
Hence, using microbial skincare specifically intended for baby’s skin can be instrumental in promoting healthy bacteria and, as a consequence, development of a skin microbiome. Worldwide, babies and toddlers have an above-average chance of developing skin diseases such as atopic eczema – by protecting the skin barrier, microbial products can help to prevent these kinds of diseases.
An ideal skincare for infants, babies, and toddlers also sufficiently rehydrates the skin to prevent possible itching. In addition, it should be fat-free so it won’t interfere with the natural fat balance of the baby’s maturing skin. This balance is important for developing a healthy skin flora – i.e. the appropriate bacterial diversity on baby’s skin – and establishing a protective barrier.
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