Consultant Dermatologist and mother of two Dr. Emma Wedgeworth answers skincare questions received at the Baby & Toddler Show.
GENERAL BABY SKINCARE:
- When should I start using skincare products on my baby?
Some skincare products are gentle enough to use from the first day of life. Some evidence suggests that regularly moisturising your baby from the first few months of life may actually help prevent eczema from developing, if your baby is eczema-prone.
- Should I only be using natural products on my baby?
The important thing when choosing skincare products for your baby is to go for products that respect the natural biology of the skin – something known as physiological. Many different natural and plant based products can actually be quite irritant to the skin. When my children were babies, I always used products that had been carefully formulated to avoid irritating sensitive baby skin, which for me is a better option than going for natural products.
- How can I treat baby acne?
Spots occurring in the first few weeks of life will often settle by themselves and seldom scar. Much of what is known as infantile acne is actually related to a yeast infection known as malassezia. Anti-fungal creams can sometimes be helpful.
- My baby has cradle cap / dry scalp with broken skin - anything we can do to help?
Cradle cap is a common baby skin concern. To help loosen the dry skin on the scalp, you can massage with an oil like Lipikar and leave the oil on for 15 minutes before washing your baby’s hair with baby shampoo. To remove the dry skin from the hair, use a comb or toothbrush and gently comb through your baby’s hair. Do not pick the crusts, as this might pull out hair follicles from your baby’s scalp.
BABY DRY SKIN / ECZEMA:
- Can baby's dry skin be cured completely or is it something that we should learn to live with?
Babies’ skin is often dry in the first few days, particularly in post-term babies, so this may settle down spontaneously. If a baby’s skin continues to be dry after this, it is likely that this is a tendency within the baby. We can’t cure that, but there are many ways to manage this and help stop it becoming a problem.
- How can we cure our baby’s dry skin?
To best manage your baby’s dry skin, make sure you use an appropriate body wash and moisturiser. Choose a soap-free, gentle body wash that will protect your baby’s skin from the drying effects of hard water. This will help keep your baby’s skin soft and supple after the bath. Then make sure you moisturise regularly, choosing a body balm that will help restore the skin’s natural barrier – look for ingredients such as Shea butter and glycerine.
- What is your advice to look after baby eczema?
Moisturise from the first few months of life. This can help prevent eczema from developing if your baby is prone to the condition. Bathe with a cream or bath oil rather than soaps, to protect the skin from harsh water. Most importantly, moisturise your baby daily after bathing – this will help restore the skin’s natural barrier and reduce the frequency of eczema-flare-ups. If things don’t improve, see your doctor to rule out any allergies and to consider adding in some medicated anti-inflammatory cream.
- How to get rid of scarring formed by eczema?
Eczema can leave behind red marks and pigmentation, both of which do fade in time. Promptly and effectively treating eczema is the best way to try and stop scarring from happening. Once it has developed, keep the skin well moisturised and the marks should improve over time.
- Can babies with eczema go swimming in an indoor pool?
Yes, I advise putting moisturiser such as La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP+ on before swimming, showering as soon as you come out and then reapplying moisturiser.
PREGNANCY SKIN CONCERNS:
- How can I treat pregnancy acne?
First of all, make sure you are using a good, non-comedogenic (non pore blocking) skincare regime with a cleanser such La Roche-Posay Effaclar Gel and a moisturiser. Effaclar Duo+ is a great product with some salicylic acid and zinc which can help with breakouts. If things don’t improve, see your doctor.
- Can I use acne products such as Effaclar Duo(+) on my back and on my baby bump?
Yes although I don’t think I’ve ever seen acne on a baby bump! If you have a rash there, check with your doctor what it is exactly first.
- What can I do to prevent and reduce stretch marks?
Stretch marks are a combination of sudden changes in body shape and hormonal changes. Some people are more prone than others. I advise daily massage with a rich moisturiser to ensure the skin is in the best possible shape as your body changes.
- Since being pregnant I have dry skin in patches on my neck and forehead. What can I do to help?
Have a look at your skin care regime and strip out harsh cleansers or acid toners. Use a gentle cleanser and moisturiser such as La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane range which should settle things down.
- What do you recommend for skin prone to rosacea?
Extremely gentle skin care which doesn’t exacerbate redness and inflammation and strict sun protection on a daily basis. In your lifestyle, avoid smoking, keep alcohol to a minimum and make sure you diet is low in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
- Which is the best cleanser for rosacea?
I use La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser in the context of rosacea. Pick a non-foaming, fragrance free cream cleanser.
GENERAL SKINCARE QUESTIONS:
- I have dry red skin around my nostrils what can I use to get rid of it?
La Roche-Posay’s Cicaplast Balm B5 is excellent for this area. If the problem persists, see your doctor as you may have a type of dermatitis.
- How can you make your skin less prone to blemishes and scarring?
You need to establish what is causing the blemishes and treat the underlying cause. If it is acne, have a look at your skin care regime. Use a regular cleanser and moisturiser which are non-comedogenic and then products such as La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Duo+ with salicylic acid. If you can reduce the blemishes from developing, the skin should have a chance to repair itself.
- I have a sunburn or some kind of hyper pigmentation any advice?
I think it would be worth seeing your doctor to see what is causing the hyperpigmentation. However, in the meanwhile, daily sun protection is essential to prevent pigmentation from worsening and is a critical step in the treatment of any hyperpigmentation.
- What skincare with SPF do you recommend?
I always advise using a daily stand alone facial sunscreen. La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Ultra-Light is great and absorbs well with no white cast.