“Skin health is often overlooked, as it is seen as non-life threatening and thus tends to be shrugged off. Healthy skin is critical to the development of healthier babies because they will be less vulnerable to infection and free from the discomfort and inhibitions of skin problems.” Dr Carol Hlela, Paediatric Dermatologist

Reading this quote by Dr Carol Hlela the other day prompted me to write this article, not only because I am a huge supporter of the Healthy Skin project she has launched in association with JOHNSON’S® Baby and NGO Unjani, but also because I am a staunch believer that our skin is one of the most amazing organs of our body.

As well as being our largest organ (did you even know it is considered an organ?)  skin is also a critical part of our defence system. Without skin, we could not regulate our temperature, would dehydrate and die of infections quickly. Our skin is our ultimate protective barrier to the world.

Covering the entire surface of our body and containing a multitude of touch receptors, our skin also affects our mood and emotions. When you are sunburnt, you know exactly how irritable you become and how poorly you sleep.

Finally, it is through our skin and the sense of touch that we learn about our world. Babies explore the qualities of the world and learn spatial reasoning through the sense of touch.

In a nutshell, care of your baby’s skin is vital for:

  • Immunity and health
  • Emotional wellbeing
  • Learning and development

Since your baby’s skin is so important, you need to protect and care for it. Infant skincare is a very important part of parenting. Your baby’s skin is different to your skin and needs special care. If your baby was born early, her skin is even more fragile than other babies.

Here are my top 5 baby skincare tips:

  • Do not take chances with the products you use on your baby – they must be well researched and safe. Preservatives can be a problem as they are absorbed through the skin. Reputable companies make sure baby skin products are carefully tested.
  • If your baby develops infantile acne, cradle cap or eczema you may be tempted to interfere with these patches but whatever you do, don’t pick or scratch. Keep the area clean and moisturise the skin well.
  • Nappy rash is best avoided by changing your little one’s nappy when wet and soiled and occasionally airing her bum with no nappy on for a bit.
  • Follow a skin care regime for your baby that includes cleansing with a gentle cleanser that is not drying followed by a scent free moisturiser.
  • Whenever your baby could be exposed to the sun, make sure she is well covered with light clothing, a hat and/or sun cream.

You can follow the conversation for baby skin health at #johnsonsbabyhealth

What is The JOHNSON’S® Baby Healthy Skin Project?

The project will provide a platform for community nurses to assist and educate mothers on baby skin health, and will provide thousands of babies with access to primary healthcare.

The JOHNSON’S® Baby Healthy Skin Project aims to achieve the following:

• Give thousands of mothers and babies in need access to treatment through Unjani Clinics;
• Educate mothers about skin health for babies
• Strengthen health systems in vulnerable districts by investing in Unjani Clinics, contributing to the establishment of new Unjani Clinics and providing training and resources for Unjani Nurses;
• Work with dermatologists and healthcare influencers to educate parents on how to attain healthy skin for healthier babies;
• Sponsor JOHNSON’S® Baby products and educational material to improve skin health for babies in need.

“By 2020, we aim to improve the health of more than 3 million babies in South Africa” – a powerful statement by JOHNSON’S® Baby Portfolio Manager, Jacquelyn Paterson.