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What Makes Baby’s Skin Different from Adults?

Everyone knows babies have the softest skin…but what you may not know is that they have the most delicate skin. Despite being required to do everything an adult’s skin does, their skin is not quite as developed as ours and needs a little extra care.

Babies get sunburned more easily. Melanin protects our skin against damage from ultraviolet rays. Babies make less melanin and are therefore more susceptible to sun damage, which is especially troubling since research has shown that ultraviolet damage to a person’s skin in infancy or early childhood is a major risk factor for several cancers.

It’s easier to get under their skin – literally. Baby skin is more permeable than an adult’s because they have fewer elastic fibers (making their skin less dense) and because the dermis and the epidermis do not attach as well (making the skin less tightly sealed together). Additionally, infants have more fat under their skin allowing some fatty substances – like steroids – to sink in more readily than they would with adults.

Since your baby’s skin is more susceptible to harsh substances seeping in, you should avoid using certain products and ingredients that may dry or irritate your infant’s delicate skin – like cortisone, parabens and steroids.

Babies can’t regulate their own temperature as well. As adults, the blood vessels in our dermis widen or narrow to help regulate our temperature. Since babies can’t do this, it is important that you help to heat and cool your baby yourself. This is especially important when your baby is suffering from a rash that may be triggered by heat.

Healing: As babies grow, their skin grows. So it’s no surprise that a baby’s skin grows faster than adults, but it may surprise you to learn that as a result – baby skin can heal better than adult skin. This does not mean that you should let a wound go untreated. Babies do not have a fully developed immune system.