When can you use bath products on a baby?
Babies are born with an ‘incompetent’ skin barrier. Simply put, infant skin isn’t as good at keeping things out or keeping things in. Meaning that transdermal absorption of whatever you apply onto the skin occurs much more readily. Likewise, the cleansers you use can more easily strip water and lipids from the skin; resulting in dryness and irritation, as well as an ineffective skin barrier. So be careful when you apply baby toiletries, and which ones you apply!
Adult skin ranges from anywhere between 0.5mm to 1.5mm in thickness. So, not very thick. Infant skin is even thinner! Up to a fifth thinner in fact. Mind. Blown.
A thin, immature and therefore poorly functioning barrier means that whatever is applied to the skin may get absorbed into the blood. What’s more, the detoxing mechanisms of the skin are not yet fully operational in a baby, so any toxic compounds absorbed aren’t broken down and detoxed before reaching the blood.
There’s much debate as to just when a baby’s skin is developed enough to tolerate topical products such as cleansers and creams. What everyone is in agreement with though, is that plain water is adequate to wash your newborn. By 4 weeks a healthy baby born at term should be able to tolerate mild cleansers well. If your baby was premature, then it’s recommended you hold off until your baby is 6-8 weeks old. Waiting even longer is ok too! As we mention in our ‘when to bathe a newborn’ guide, young babies just don’t get very dirty and don’t need all that much in the way of bathing. The culture around how to care for your baby is changing and guidelines are being rethought as we slowly recognise the need to respect nature’s evolutionary mechanisms for protecting our babies. Where once we would be washing babies in hospital grade cleansers immediately after birth, now we are being told to just leave babies to absorb the fluids they were born in! We’re trying to encourage the growth of (good) bacteria on their skin, to set them up with a microbiome that will protect them through life. Unnecessary washing with harsh cleansers is at odds with those recommendations.
If you’ve ever read the ingredients list on any of your toiletries while hanging out in the tub, then you’ll know there is something like a zillion ingredients in the average store-bought personal care product. Most of which you can’t pronounce. Many of these ingredients have been linked to a myriad of health concerns, including, allergies, hormone disruption and cancers. You’ll want to go ahead and avoid most of these for your little one. For several years at least, since skin continues to mature throughout childhood. Better yet, avoid them forever. No one wants those nasties on or in their bodies.
Thankfully people are waking up to the importance of clean living! There are now lots of fantastic, non-toxic personal care products out there for both baby and you! Here at BabaMe HQ, we take time to research our products to try & bring 100% natural living to our customers. Natural & sustainable is at the heart of our ethos, and we aim to only stock products from companies who share these values. Hopefully, you discover a love for these products as we have, as we really do believe that everyone can benefit from reducing toxins in their lives!
Read: What baby toiletries do I need?