You may not have realized it, but many of baby’s skin problems are actually caused by pH imbalance. Read on and find out the importance of maintaining proper pH and what even a slight variation from the balanced levels can do to your little one’s ultra sensitive skin. Presented by Huggies® Ultra.
Your baby’s largest organ, the skin, performs many vital functions. “It provides a barrier which prevents infection, the loss of water from the body, and penetration of irritants and allergens,” according to a paper by Tina Lavender et. al.
But this dynamic organ not only acts as a barrier between your baby and the environment around him; it also “provides UV protection, and regulates body temperature and sensory perception,” according to Teresa Oranges in a paper for the US National Library of Medicine.
Thus, keeping your baby’s skin healthy and free from irritations should also be top priority for his comfort. This might be a challenge, considering the fact that infant skin is quite different from adult skin in both structure and composition.
Our little one’s skin is much more sensitive and prone to irritations. But did you know that almost all baby skin problems are either directly or indirectly caused by an imbalance in the skin’s pH levels?
But first, what is pH?
PH, short for ‘potential of hydrogen’ levels of the skin, refers to how acidic or alkaline it is on a scale of 1-14, with 1 being the most acidic and 14 the most alkaline. The pH of water is 7, which is neutral, but a person’s skin has a pH level that is slightly more acidic which ranges from 4.5 to 5.5. This slight acidity prevents pathogens from entering or living on the skin.
According to the paper by Tina Lavender et. al, babies are born with a pH of 6.4. Their skin becomes a little less alkaline after a few days, developing what is called the ‘acid mantle’ which kicks off the skin’s barrier function by shielding the body from harmful bacteria.
This mantle is made up of sebum (fatty acids) from the sebaceous glands mixed with lactic and amino acids from sweat. Babies’ skin remain very different in structure and composition to adult skin until they reach a year old, when their protective barrier becomes a little more ‘adult-like’.