Let’s start with the basics – how important is a skincare routine for babies?
“Babies skin needs to be respected and conditioned, in the same way an adult’s does, so a routine of sorts is important. The skin forms an important barrier to the environmental challenges that babies are exposed to from birth. However, the skin is not a static protective covering – it has a rich, dynamic immune system to protect your baby’s body from pathogens. From birth, these protection pathways start their communication and learning. It’s for this reason we need to protect it topically, but also be careful about the product we use, ensuring the formulas respect and support a healthy skin barrier.”
So, with that in mind, what is your recommended routine for little ones?
“Start by cleansing the skin with a soap or synthetic detergent, like La Roche Posay Lipikar Syndet AP+. This gentle cream body wash comes with additional moisturising properties. Avoid any soaps which will strip your baby’s natural, protective oils and avoid products that contain irritants such as fragrances or unnecessary chemicals that will disrupt the skin barrier. Secondly, moisturise your baby’s skin with a daily emollient, like La Roche Posay Lipikar Balm AP+M, to help protect the skin barrier. This will settle dry skin conditions efficiently before they become inflamed. It is also suitable for use on eczema-prone skin. Finally, protect skin from irritants – such as urine in the nappy area – by using a colourless, fragrance-free barrier cream. These types of products prevent urine meeting the skin. They can also be easily removed with cotton wool and water. As your baby grows, these products are also invaluable for creases and skin folds to help protect against dribble rash and for cheeks during teething and weaning.”
Do the same tips apply if your baby has conditions like eczema?
“Eczema is very common, affecting around 20% of children and 2% of adults worldwide. The reasons for developing this condition are complex and multifactorial, consisting largely of genetic factors. If your baby suffers with it, you’ll find it presents itself as dry, red patches on the skin, which can be accompanied by bleeding, if the skin is being scratched. It’s important to keep eczema-prone skin well-moisturised – which may involve applying cream several times a day – as this will maintain the skin barrier and a healthy microbiome for your baby. You should follow and maintain a routine of cleansing, moisturising and protecting the skin with fragrance-free barrier creams."
You mention both the microbiome and skin barrier – why are these important for my baby?
“The microbiome is the whole community of organisms and microbes living on all of our skin. These consist of not just bacteria, but also viruses, fungi/yeasts and mites. Put simply, the microbiome is our vital ‘gatekeeper’ when it comes to preventing infections and promoting tissue healing. The gut microbiome has been extensively investigated and has led to a greater understanding of the interplay between our microbiome and our immune system. We’ve been aware of the potential benefits of probiotics for gut health for many years. However, it can be challenging to develop skincare products containing the same probiotics – think about the live yoghurts that live in your fridge. Instead, skincare formulas are now using prebiotics – like La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP+M. Likewise, if you’re looking to boost or maintain a healthy microbiome, the aim is to be gentle in your approach and never use stripping soaps, detergents or antiseptics. As for your baby’s skin barrier, this is made up of a series of cellular layers and each cell is ‘cemented’ together with structural proteins. This protective waterproof barrier prevents water loss and protects the human body from the environment. If the outer layer of this barrier has abnormalities in its function, we experience this as dry or cracked skin. Therefore, it’s important to follow a simple routine of cleansing and moisturising, while using products that respect your baby’s skin microbiome.”
So, how does Lipikar work to soothe and support healthy skin?
“The Lipikar range has been designed and produced for babies and children and it is safe to apply from birth. The formulation of the products focuses on protecting and supporting a healthy skin barrier while respecting the skin microbiome. The Lipikar balm formula, enriched with AP+M technology [Aqua Posae + Microresyl], is a hydrating, soothing balm for dry skin. It restores the skin barrier function, reducing the frequency of dry skin-flare ups. This product is also suitable for use on eczema-prone skin.
Finally, are there any other products or remedies you should try for sensitive skin?
“La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Balm B5 is a colourless barrier cream with a hydrating, soothing formula, suitable for adults, children and babies from 3 months. This multi-purpose balm helps repair skin’s barrier function and help protect against feelings of discomfort associated with dryness. It cares for babies’ sensitive skin and helps protect against the cause of nappy rash.
It can be used on adults as well, to hydrate and soothe dry, sensitive areas or dry, irritated hands that some of us might have experienced during the COVID pandemic. La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Balm B5 SPF50 is suitable for use following a laser treatment or chemical peel. It has additional SPF, too, which helps protect skin from UV radiation.”
Visit Boots.com to discover the complete La Roche-Posay Baby range.