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The secret to fighting skin irritation in babies? Maintain pH balance

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.

ph-bal-2 Just one touch of baby’s impossibly smooth skin already tells you how delicate it is.

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’.

Learn tips on how to maintain pH balance on the next page.

Destroying the mantle with pH imbalance

Your baby’s skin is protected by an external layer or mantle of tightly bound cells that work like bricks protecting a house. A slight change in pH levels can cause these bricks to pull apart or crumble, which could cause skin dehydration, roughness, visible flaking, and irritation.

This in turn puts the skin at risk of developing other infections by making it vulnerable to attacks by harmful bacteria, organisms, and other environmental factors that can cause damage.

crying-baby-2 Skin conditions can get very itchy and even painful for infants.

According to an article by Dr. Lisa Bennet “if the acid mantle is disrupted, the skin becomes more susceptible to damage. [And] although acid and alkaline are on opposite ends of the spectrum, either [of them] disrupts the pH and either can cause dry skin and cause or exacerbate eczema.”

Other skin conditions that may result from an imbalance in the baby’s skin’s pH levels include rosacea, a skin problem characterized by inflamed and scaly skin, and diaper rash which can cause itchy and painful scales on baby’s bum.

Choose pH-balanced products for baby’s sensitive skin

To protect your baby’s skin from harmful chemicals that can disrupt its pH balance, it is important for mommies to choose products that come in contact with baby’s skin with utmost care. Read the label and consider product features and chemical compositions before you make your purchase.

Soaps, lotions, and even laundry powders should be carefully chosen. And since babies are in diapers almost all day every day, those should be meticulously selected.

Opt for diapers that would care for baby’s sensitive skin – those that understand how damage-prone it is and know the importance of maintaining a balanced pH level.

Huggies® Ultra is both hypoallergenic and pH balanced to maintain skin’s natural defense against bacteria and other infections. It contains natural extracts too to give baby gentle protection and all-day comfort.


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