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What Exactly Are Ceramides & Why Are They So Important for Baby’s Skin?

You may be a pro at your skincare routine, but as a new parent, it’s normal to be apprehensive about what you’re putting on your baby’s skin. After all, you want to ensure you’re doing everything you can to keep them healthy. That includes their skin health too. According to a study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, baby’s skin is continuing to develop after birth so it is still thin and delicate, which means it can easily be disrupted by external irritants. The study also found that the level of hydration in baby skin is lower compared to adult skin for up to five years after birth. These reasons are why it’s so crucial for parents to incorporate a skincare regimen into their baby’s routine and of course, avoid products with harsh ingredients. Because babies are more susceptible to environmental irritants, a simple and gentle skincare routine is very important and can help protect baby’s skin barrier as it develops as well as hydrate, soothe, and moisturize the skin.

But in order to make the most out of their skincare routine, you’ll want to use products formulated to enhancing and benefiting baby’s delicate skin. Trust us, doing so can help set the stage for a lifetime of healthy skin. Baby skin should be nourished with products free of ingredients like parabens, phthalates, fragrances and dyes that may disrupt their delicate skin barrier and trigger irritations. But one thing you want to make sure your baby’s skincare products do contain—ceramides. Ceramides are the building blocks of healthy skin and are key to helping maintain baby’s skin barrier while it develops. If you’ve never heard of ceramides, read below for everything you need to know.

What Are Ceramides?

Ceramides are naturally occurring lipids, which don’t dissolve in water. They are present within the stratum corneum, the outermost protective layer of the skin, and help form the normal barrier to lock moisture into the skin and prevent irritation and dryness. Ceramides may also protect the skin from environmental damage or aggressors like dry air or pollution. If your skin lacks ceramides, as is often the case in those with atopic dermatitis (eczema), the skin barrier cannot perform optimally, and the child may be more prone to rashes, dry skin and even skin infections.

What Do Ceramides Do?

Ceramides are the glue that holds our skin cells together to keep our skin barrier intact and healthy. A healthy skin barrier helps seal in moisture and seal out impurities. For babies, ceramides protect their developing skin in the womb thanks to a waxy, protective layer called the vernix caseosa, which contains ceramides. While the vernix caseosa is lost soon after birth, choosing a ceramide-rich moisturizer can help replicate the benefits to soothe their dry skin and maintain the skin’s barrier, helping to seal moisture in and keep allergens out.

“If that protective skin barrier is compromised, it can cause newborn acne, eczema, or cradle cap,” Dr. Whitney Casares, a pediatrician and pediatric medical consultant for CeraVe®, tells SheKnows. We want to make sure we are preventing those issues because it can be really irritating to babies and in turn cause parents a lot of stress. Ensuring that you are using gentle products with ceramides to replenish and maintain the skin barrier can help prevent baby from having skin issues and the consequences that come from having irritated skin.”

Why Does My Baby Need Them?

Because they are naturally found in baby’s skin, ceramides are safe to use on your baby. Described as the skin’s natural moisturizer, ceramides help the skin by creating a protective layer that helps prevent moisture loss and shields the skin from environmental irritants, which is crucial for a baby’s delicate, developing skin.

“Ceramides benefit a baby’s skin and health by assisting in rebuilding and restoring a protective barrier,” Dr. Robin Gehris, a triple board-certified pediatric dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology, tells SheKnows. “This barrier serves the purpose of maintaining moisture in the skin and preventing environmental skin damage. In addition, ceramides provide babies’ sensitive skin protection from other chemicals applied to the skin that may irritate them. Since babies have a higher body surface area to weight ratio, they are inherently more at risk for absorbing chemicals, medicines and toxins through their skin, so keeping the skin barrier strong and intact decreases the already elevated risk of this occurring.”

How Do I Know a Product Contains Ceramides?

Dr. Gehris is a strong proponent of parents using products that contain ceramides as they can help protect babies’ sensitive skin. “Ceramides within a skincare routine play a crucial role in maintaining skin that is protected against irritants, allergens and dehydration,” she says. “Using creams or lotions with ceramides can help replace that missing protective barrier in sensitive skin and thus restore hydration.” Using daily moisturizers that contain ceramides may also reduce the rate of flare-ups caused by skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, according to a study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.

If you’re in need of dermatologist-developed products that contain ceramides, Dr. Casares suggests parents use CeraVe®. All of their baby products contain three essential ceramides (ceramides 1, 3, and 6-II), which are identical to those found naturally in baby’s skin and critical in helping maintain the skin’s natural barrier while keeping harmful irritants out.

“The CeraVe® Baby line is specifically developed by dermatologists and pediatric dermatologists with baby’s skin sensitivity in mind,” says Dr. Casares. “I use it on my kids because all of their products are formulated with ceramides but without irritating ingredients, like any extra fragrances or dyes. Each product within the line also holds the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance, so parents using these products can have some much-needed peace of mind.”

“Caring for your baby’s skin is also a really awesome way to bond with your baby,” says Dr. Casares. “Baby baths and baby massages can be a great way for parents to attune and connect with their kids because the power of human touch is really important for babies.”

This article was created by SheKnows for CeraVe®. 

J Drugs Dermatol. 2020;19(8) 769-776: doi:10.36849/JDD.2020.5252

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