Everything you ever wanted to know about your baby’s skin, but didn’t know to ask.
It doesn’t take a scientist to notice that a baby’s skin is different: the velvety cheek, the tiniest, softest hands, those irresistibly plump legs—it’s all evidence that there’s something special going on. But if you’ve got a little one at home, you also know there are plenty of surprises and plot twists when it comes to caring for baby skin. Baby skin is a complex, unique organ that’s changing and still developing even after it comes into the world, and its needs are unique, too.
Newborn skin starts out with its very own built-in moisturizer.
Newborns are born with a creamy miracle substance on their skin called the vernix. The vernix is rich in moisturizing lipids like squalene, and creates a protective waterproofing effect on babies’ skin when they’re in utero. The true genius of the vernix wasn’t fully understood until recently; hospitals used to wipe the vernix away immediately after delivery, but studies have since shown how beneficial it is for newborn skin functioning. The World Health Organization now recommends leaving the vernix on for at least six hours after birth so it can fully absorb and babies can reap its benefits. Immediately after birth, the vernix is an important protective, moisturizing barrier as newborns’ skin adjusts to the outside world, and it may also have antioxidant and anti-microbial properties to bolster skin’s defenses. Our entire line of baby products is built upon the hydrating superpowers of the vernix, employing a sustainable, sugarcane-derived version of squalene that baby skin recognizes instantly.
Sometimes, that perfect newborn skin is….not so perfect.
In the days after the vernix absorbs, newborn skin may peel or flake a bit. If your baby is born post-term or didn’t have as much vernix, the peeling and dry skin might be more noticeable. Don’t stress—it’s a common and completely normal baby skin issue, and should go away in a few weeks with regular baby lotion applications to boost hydration. Our everyday Pipette Baby Lotion is designed to sink in instantly and give long-lasting hydration with clean, gentle, plant-derived ingredients. (As with all skin conditions, make sure you talk to your pediatrician about skin peeling to rule out other possible skin issues.)
First peeling, then…acne?!
Yes, you heard right: babies often develop little pimples on their noses and cheeks a few weeks after birth. The breakouts may have to do with moms’ hormones leftover in babies’ bloodstream from pregnancy, and you don’t need to do anything at all other than gently wash skin as usual to keep it clean (definitely no acne treatments!). The acne usually goes away on its own after several weeks, and you’ll get back to that velvety-smooth baby skin again.
Try: Baby Shampoo & Wash, $12
It’s vulnerable to sunburn.
Because baby skin is thinner and more delicate, babies can get sunburns much more easily than adults—they can burn in as little as ten to fifteen minutes!—and childhood burns increase the risk of skin cancer in the long run. That’s why for the first six months, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends avoiding sun exposure for babies between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, when UV rays are the strongest. Always keep baby sunhats at the ready, and after 6 months make sure to apply a clean, nontoxic, broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen to any sun-exposed skin.
Baby skin loses moisture much faster than adult skin.
For the first year of life, babies are still developing a healthy skin moisture barrier—i.e., skin’s first line of defense against harsh ingredients or bacteria. Because that barrier isn’t fully mature, babies’ skin loses moisture fast, which is also what makes it particularly delicate and vulnerable to irritation. (Rashes, anyone?) Since baby skin has a tendency to dry out so easily, baths should be kept short, sweet, and not too hot (hot water can be particularly drying), and should always be followed immediately with lotion or oil (our nontoxic, fragrance-free Baby Oil is particularly fast-absorbing, and great at locking in moisture). For stubbornly dry spots or delicate areas like the diaper area, our richly moisturizing Pipette Baby Balm is packed with extra-nourishing ingredients like fatty acids, jojoba esters, and our sugarcane-derived squalane.
Baby skin also absorbs moisture much faster than adult skin.
Even though baby skin dries out faster, it absorbs moisture faster, too. Which is good news! That’s also why it’s so crucial that the moisturizers you use on their skin are made with the safest ingredients: because they sink into skin so swiftly and readily. All formulas that touch babies’ skin should be gentle, nontoxic and free of irritating additives, from shampoo to wipes to your laundry detergent. It’s also why Pipette is so strict about banning all potentially suspect ingredients—over 2000!—and keeping baby formulas clean, pure, and to the point.
The information provided by Pipette is intended solely for educational purposes. The information is not to be used for medical diagnostic purposes and is not intended to serve as a recommendation for treatment and/or management of any medical/surgical condition. Most of all, this information should not be used in place of a physician or other qualified health provider. If you believe you or your child have a medical condition, please contact your physician immediately.