Baby and children skinThe skin is our largest organ and at the same time one of the most important. Our skin works as sensor and protection centre, so we perceive, touch, pain and pressure. At the same time, skin is an effective barrier that prevents foreign substances such as, pathogenic bacteria, viruses or fungi, chemical substances and allergens, from entering the body.
Structure of the skin
The skin is formed from three layers with different functions: The subcutis, dermis and epidermis.
The subcutis is mainly composed of fatty tissue. It serves to maintain the body temperature and as a kind of dampener that protects the internal organs from pressure and shocks. Due to its various connective tissue fibres, the dermis forms an elastic layer.
The layer above, the epidermis, is a protective layer. It consists of serveral layers. New skin cells are regularly formed, and they are gradually pushed to the surface, during this time the skin cells keratinise, hence, the upper layer is called horny layer. It is similar to a wall in which the layered horn cells are held together by horn fats (epidermal lipids). The horny layer is covered with a thin water-fat film, the so-called acid mantle, which consists of sebum, sweat and components of the horny cells. The horny layer and the acid mantle form the protective skin barrier, which protects against harmful germs such as bacteria or fungi, and regulates the moisture balance.
Main mechanisms have to develop
Baby skin absorbs moisture faster than adult skin. But the lipid film is not yet fully developed and thus, the moisture is very quickly released. Rapid loss of moisture dries out the skin and causes skin irritations. The fatty tissue of the subcutis, which serves as temperature insulation, is also not yet formed. Consequently, babies overheat or cool down quickly.
UV protection is essential
Furthermore, baby skin only forms very little melanin or brown colour pigments and has no natural UV protection, therefore it reacts very sensitively to UV radiation and should never be exposed to direct sunlight and should be slowly accustomed to the sun. In addition, babies and children should be protected throughout the year by protective clothing (hat, scarf, gloves) from UV radiation, heat, wind, moisture and cold.
How can baby skin be protected at an early stage?
Only products, which are particularly developed for the needs of sensitive baby and children skin should be used. It should be taken into account that the ingredients are as gentle as possible and provide the skin with sufficient moisture and fats.