Baby’s skin is more dry than adults’ skin. Special and gentle care is necessary. Commercial soaps strip your skin. Gentle soaps are better. Not all handmade soaps are gentle enough for babies.
Handmade soaps that are high in Olive, Sunflower, Shea butter, Cocoa butter and Almond oils are good for babies (even you). But avoid handmade soaps that are made with only coconut oil.(Prefer the ones without coconut oil, it behaves differently in soap). When it comes to additives aloevera, oats, chamomile and calendula are suitable for baby care. Essential oils of Lavender, Chamomile and Mandarin are also suitable for baby care (Other essential oils are not allowed in baby skincare). Or Simply choose unscented soaps. So you can look for a gentle handmade soap with or without above additives. And always less is more for babies.
Castile Soap – Its made with 100% Olive oil, If they are available they are best option for babies. And remember they won’t lather much, but they are gentle on skin. But a good soap company can make soap for babies without olive oil. Indian Sesame oil Soap is more good than olive oil soap. Just ask the soap company if they have suitable soap for babies.
Transparent soaps are not good, as they contain SLS which is a skin irritant. Bodywashes and shampoos are no no for babies because they contain unnecessary surfactants and chemicals. A Gentle handmade soap is better for washing body and hair. Actually No tears formulations contain additives that temporarily numb eyes. How many of you want to use such chemicals??
Soap is soap, it cleans oil and dirt from your skin. (but some are more gentle than others). So a preferred method of bathing babies is giving massage 5 -10 minutes before bath. It gives their tender skin more protection. Here are some massage oil options for babies.
Massage oils – Sesame, coconut, Ricebran are good for massaging babies.
There are expensive suitable oils like Apricot Kernel oil and Jojoba. Always use oils that are as fresh as possible, less than 6 months from date of manufacture. And Never reach out for imported olive oils, where they take several months before they reach Indian Markets.
Coconut Oil – Its protective,soothing, regenerative and cooling to skin. It also forms a protective layer on skin. Parachute pure coconut oil is better than cold pressed oils from mills. Also high end organic coldpressed / Virgin Coconut oil is preferred if available.
Ricebran is a good source of vitamin E fractions called gamma-oryzanol, betasitosterol and ferulic acid. They neutralizes free radicals and protects skin from uv damage. It is very good for babycare and for dry and mature skin. (A Great secret that many doesn’t know is massaging hair with rice bran, tames all that frizz).
Great Indian Black Sesame oil – It contains anti-oxidant called sesamol and minerals . It also has an SPF of 2-3. It is the more traditional and proven way to massage Indian babies. You can pick up organic or refined version from stores. I personally use this on my babies.
You can also read the benefits of almond oil for baby massage.
Gentle unscented soaps are always better.
- Gentle oil massage before bath can reduce the dryness that any soap causes
- Alternative way to wash very irritated dry skin babies is to make a smoothie by mixing handful of oats with a some water or tender coconut water and it can be used to wash babies. Oats are cleansing, soothing and protective.
- Leaving on oil is also not recommended for very dry eczema prone skin, because skin breath ability is important. hence a heavy cream is preferred
- Final point to make is that babies’ epidermis is 20-30% thinner than adults skin so scrubbing is not recommended . And bathing with water is more than enough in initial 3 months. Less is more for babies.
About the author :
Bindhu Amrutham, a mother of two, is an Engineer and a Management Graduate . She was a part of Corporate before she developed her passion for natural and organic skincare. Developing world class natural and safe cosmetics is her business now. For suggestions on skin care or for her wonderful handmade products, she can be contacted at [email protected].