Your kid’s skin starts off all new and squishy and delicate. But before long it’s grubby and whiffy and covered in yoghurt! Little bodies need different care as they grow. So! Here’s everything you need to know to keep your child healthy, and kick-start their happy skin habits.
Infant skin is thinner and more sensitive than adult skin, and lacks adequate barrier protection, so it needs a little extra care. New babies only need to be bathed 2-3 times a week, using warm 37°C water and a gentle, soap-free body wash. A mild cleanser (like, ahem, this one) without SLSs, synthetic fragrances, synthetic surfactants or excessive foaming, and with a pH of 5.5 will clean skin effectively, and care for it at the same time.
After bath, pat your baby dry, paying special attention to all those delicious folds and creases! To prevent dry skin, slather on a creamy moisturiser from the top of their cute heads (avoiding eyes, of course!) to the tips of their tiny toes. If your baby’s skin is extra dry, you might need to apply lotion two to three times a day.
To calm and soothe your tiny human (as well as help them digest and toot!), try incorporating a gentle baby massage into your after-bath routine. In a low-lit but toasty room, start gently, but firmly, massaging a nourishing body oil all over – palms, thighs, arms and of course, the tummy – in a gentle, rhythmic manner. It should feel relaxing for both of you!
Your kids are learning how to dress themselves! They can brush their teeth (almost) unassisted! They’ve started demanding their sandwiches be cut in triangles and not squares! (GAH!) They’re also learning how to wash their bodies and care for their skin. This is the perfect age to start teaching your little squirts about the importance of cleaning their hands and face.
Between puddle jumping and finger painting and hunting for bugs in the backyard, toddlers put their skin through the wringer. A daily bath can be a helpful (and calming) part of their evening ritual. On really sweaty, dirty days, you’ll want to wash all over with a gentle body cleanser – but on less active days, follow your instincts. You can get away with scrubbing only the stinky bits!
If your kid hates getting squeaky clean, try making a game out of it. Ask them to copy you as you wash your face, use empty bottles to create mini waterfalls, or try a game of Simon Says to casually dish out directions. Using pump bottles that are simple and fun, and that your kid feels a sense of ownership over, will help kick-start healthy habits around washing their hands and bodies.
Hop out of the tub and follow up with moisturiser to keep their skin from becoming dry. This is especially important in the cold winter months! Applying a creamy lotion straight after bath (while skin is still slightly damp) will help lock in the moisture. Try squeezing a little into their palms to apply. (And while they’re painstakingly rubbing it in, you can slather it all over properly.)
Congratulations! You’ve raised a completely independent little human! Well, not quite. (They still need you to reach those top-shelf pantry snacks.) But these little-big kids are starting to make their own decisions, so try empowering them with some responsibility.
Encourage your child to create their own rituals that reinforce good skin care habits. Maybe it’s washing their face with a soft cloth before bed, applying their own moisturiser after bath, or putting on sunscreen in the morning before they go outside.
You might also start to transition your kid’s nightly baths into the shower. If they’re expressing interest in washing themselves, they're probably ready to try! Guide them through their first few showers – showing them where to wash and teaching them about the hot and cold taps. If you start to incorporate a shampoo and conditioner into their hair care, the water pressure of the shower can help them get a better rinse.