Thank you Baby Dove for sponsoring this post.
Living in Florida, there's no surprise that it's HOT and humid! Basically, a mini-nightmare for new parents trying to care for their new baby's sensitive skin. I get asked a lot about how we protect and care for R's skin given our climate. Especially in the summer months, as babies are wearing sunscreen or bug spray and splashing around in the pool. All of that fun in the sun can cause havoc on delicate skin by stripping the moisture it needs and damaging the protective layer known as the microbiome. The microbiome is the outermost layer of skin. It's a living layer that protects against germs, UV rays, pollution, and products. During those first few weeks of a baby's life, the microbiome is changing SO fast!
We didn't understand the importance of this when our daughter was first born and I was SO scared to put any products on her because I didn't want her skin to get irritated. Well, I wish I knew about the microbiome because all of my product avoidance resulted in our daughter struggling with dry skin and rashes. Our pediatrician recommended Baby Dove products. All of Baby Dove's products are dermatologist and pediatrician tested and recommended. We love them too because they are hypoallergenic, and created without dyes, parabens, phthalates, or sulfates.
We are huge fans of their Rich Moisture line which helps to nourish and balance the microbiome. This is essential for keeping our baby's skin healthy. It protects from harmful bacteria while the prebiotic moisturizer nourishes the good bacteria in the microbiome to support skin health and function. Aside from starting to use the proper products on our daughter's skin, we also learned some other ways to keep her skin healthy during the summer time (which is basically most of the year in Florida!).
Baby Skin In The Summer: How To Beat Rashes & Dry Skin
Reduce the risk of heat rash
Heat rash is the result of blocked pores. Basically the skin's sweat glands end up blocked, so when the body produces sweat, it unable to get to the surface and evaporate off the skin. Instead it results in an inflammation of tiny red bumps (sometimes even pustules) on the skin known as heat rash. These can be really itchy and vary in severity.
Most baby sunscreens use zinc oxide (which is great) but zinc acts as a barrier between the skin and water by blocking the pores. I personally made the mistake of wearing zinc oxide sunscreen and then wearing a long sleeve rash guard while on a boating excursion that resulted in the worst heat rash of my life! The friction of the material (even though it was light weight) on top of my zinc blocked pores led to a really bad reaction. So keep that in mind when applying sunscreen and dressing your baby.
To reduce the risk of heat rash, make sure your baby stays cool by hanging out in the shade, has good ventilation (especially if you're covering them up in a stroller, wears light layers, and once you are inside use a wipe to remove zinc based sunscreen and let their pores breathe. Remember heat rashes are the result of sweat – so the goal is to keep your baby dry and cool.
Sunscreen is key (once you're cleared by your doctor!) and should be applied regularly and frequently to protect your little one's skin! There are so many different types of sunscreens out there that it's important to familiarize yourself with them and choose one that meets your family's needs best. Despite my personal heat rash experience, we typically opt for zinc oxide since the ingredients are typically more gentle. It's also fantastic for protecting the skin when you're in the water and you don't need to wait the 15 minutes before sun exposure for it to start working.
Other sunscreens you will need to wait 15 minutes before sun exposure. You'll want to look for ones that are reef safe. And if you're using the spray sunscreen, never spray it on your baby's face! Spray some in your hand and then rub onto the face. As always, make sure to reapply your sunscreen.
Keep 'em covered
It's not recommended to put sunscreen on babies under six months. So keep your little one covered! I always toss a light blanket over her when we are going from the car into a store to protect from the sun. We also got her a hat and opted for a long sleeve swimsuit that has SPF 50. Be mindful of the fabrics you're putting on your baby, while you want their skin to be covered you don't want them to over heat. Which leads me to…
Feed more frequently
Just like we get dehydrated when out in the sun all day, so do our babes! Make sure to be flexible to their hunger cues and offer more feeds when it's hot and you're spending time outside. Overheating can lead to dehydration. So keep an eye on your child for the following signs of overheating: sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, or rapid breathing.
Suns out bums out
Summer heat is a breeding ground for bacteria, especially in the diaper region! Between splashing in the pool or ocean, or just sweating, chances are your babe's diaper region is a little damper than usual! Beat diaper rash by letting your baby go au natural as much as possible.
Luke warm baths when needed
Hot baths can dry out and irritate your baby's skin even more! Opt for luke warm baths and test the water temperature using your elbow or the inner part of your wrist. I know how counterintuitive this is: but too frequent baths can actually dry out your baby's skin. I know, you'd think, “we are in water, so our skin should be getting hydrated more!” But that's not the case. If you've ever spent time in the ocean or pool, you may have noticed that itchy feeling after your shower. It's because your skin is craving moisture! The same goes for your baby. We love using Baby Dove Rich Moisture Tip to Toe Wash for bath time to help retain our baby's natural skin moisture. It's not only mild, but it helps to replenish the moisture and nutrients on our daughter's skin that are lost through bathing. Plus it's a tear-free formula tested by ophthalmologists that our daughter doesn't mind at all!
Our pediatrician actually has us lotioning up our daughter twice a day with Baby Dove! We were using it once a day which made a tremendous difference in her rash, but we she wanted us to add just a little more in the morning to a couple of small stubborn areas behind her knees and in her neck folds. We use the Baby Dove Rich Moisture Lotion which is made with a prebiotic moisturizer and 100% skin-natural nutrients. It helps to nourish the microbiome while gently moisturizing baby's skin all day.