Caring for baby’s skin the right way is a challenge. Every single day, media reports tell us yet another company is making unsafe products. For confused parents looking for holistic, completely safe and natural baby products, Ayurveda provides many answers. In this post, we will discuss 5 simple ayurvedic tips to care for baby’s skin. These 5 skin care practices also help boost baby’s immunity and overall health.
Pregnancy: a time to take stock and re-evaluate choices
Most of our consumers tend to discover Krya when there is a particular problem they have not been able to find answers to like persistent hairfall, or when there is a new and wonderful change in their life (pregnancy or the birth of a child).
Most of us adults tend to bludgeon through life, and are willing to experiment quite widely with our health, skin and hair. Nothing else can explain how, despite all the evidence to the contrary, we continue to eat pesticide ridden foods and hormone and antibiotic filled dairy. However, when we see the fragility and delicate nature of an infant, we are forced to re-examine our choices and we make much better and more informed choices.
Why is it critical to treat baby’s skin and hair with care and reverence?
Human skin is the largest sense organ in our body. It is considered the seat of the Indriyas / sense organs and is literally the seat of sight, sense, touch, feeling and hearing. It is our first barrier layer and helps protect our internal organs from damage and bacteria. It is a marvel of bio engineering and hosts a massive colony of micro organisms which work along with us to ensure a constant pH of 5.5, with an acidic mantle that keeps harmful organisms away from us.
The skin and hair structure in children is one of the last major systems to be formed. The sweat glands which help regulate temperature, eliminate toxins from our body and help maintain the skin’s natural acid mantle takes upto 3 years to form. This means that babies stay sweet smelling longer, but this also means that their body does not have the mechanism to readily eliminate toxins like adults do.
This means that they can handle far smaller toxic loads than adults – so it makes NO sense to keep on massaging them and washing them with toxin filled synthetic oils, lotions, creams and soaps. Even if the label says that it is “gentle” and will not make your baby cry.
How should we be protecting and caring for baby’s skin instead? Read on below for 5 simple ayurvedic tips to care for baby’s skin.
5 simple ayurvedic tips to care for baby’s skin
1. Follow the 3 step ayurvedic fabric washing routine for baby’s linen and clothing
Baby’s skin is under-developed and fragile. It lacks the ability to resist attacks by micro-organisms, fungal organisms and small insects and bugs. Therefore Ayurveda recommends that baby’s skin is to be cleansed with suitable herbs.
Step 1: Wash with a natural detergent
Ayurveda also recommends that all fabric coming into contact with baby’s skin is cleansed thoroughly in natural, non irritating, anti bacterial, “Rakshoghna” herbs like Shikakai, soapberry, Triphala, Vacha, Neem, etc.
To prevent rashes, contact dermatitis, we recommend double rinsing baby’s linen, cloth diapers and clothing using only a gentle natural detergent.
When we use the words “gentle, natural detergent” we mean a completely plant based herbal detergent. Any other detergent which uses either castille soap or SLS is too harsh for baby’s skin. If using a synthetic detergent, consider switching to a completely natural detergent.
Step 2: Line dry in hot sun
After washing baby’s clothing in a completely natural detergent, line dry it in the hot sun (forenoon sun is recommended).
Step 3: Fumigate with natural herbs
Why is a 3 step washing routine a part of a post that is titled “5 simple ayurvedic tips to care for baby’s skin”? In our experience at Krya, synthetic detergents are the culprit for a huge host of skin related issues for baby.
Many parents who are told that their baby has contact dermatitis and are pained to see baby suffering with a constant itchy skin rash find that it vanishes when the detergent is changed. Switching to a good ayurvedic fabric washing routine can do wonders for baby’s skin health.
2. Massage baby everyday before bath with a nourishing botanical oil
As baby’s skin is still under-developed, the sebaceous glands are not fully formed. Therefore there is a decreased production of natural oils to coat the skin. In adult skin, the natural sebum also forms the skin’s barrier function. So in the absence of this, the baby’s skin has to be assisted through daily massage using a mildly acidic, herb infused botanical oils.
Oil application of the skin has a twofold effect: the herb infused vegetable oil is able to penetrate the skin easily and nourish it, ensuring baby’s skin does not go dry.
Krya recommends daily oil massage of the baby 15 minutes before the bath to boost the skin’s natural oils and improve skin’s barrier function. This everyday oil massage with a good botanical oil is a critical part of the 5 simple ayurvedic tips to care for baby’s skin. This oil massage ensures that baby’s skin is well hydrated, and well supported and the right synergistic bacteria are encouraged to colonize.
3. Cleanse baby’s skin with right products
As baby’s skin is still under-developed, the sweating mechanism is not present. Therefore it is important to assist the skin in its thermoregulatory function.
For thermoregulation, the srotas (minor channels of the skin) need to be massaged, detoxified and cleaned well every day. The massage of the skin every day helps deep cleanse the srotas.
Snana (bath) that follows should be done using a mixture of grains, lentils and Ayurvedic herbs. This mixture has the capacity to gently massage the srotas, and remove toxins along with excess oil. When the srotas are active and clean, they can do the job of thermo regulation properly.
As per Ayurveda (unless you live in a very cold climate), the srotas should not be masked or covered after a bath with any moisturising substance. This brings down their activity. This is why Taila abhyanga (oil massage) is done in Ayurveda before the Snana.
Many parents write to us asking for the best moisturizing lotion that can be used on babies. They are surprised when we ask them to do a pre-bath oil massage and use a Krya baby ubtan instead. When we cleanse skin correctly, there is NO NEED to apply any post bath moisturisation. Also this application blocks the skin and impairs its functioning. This is why correct cleansing is an important part of our post on 5 simple ayurvedic tips to care for baby’s skin.
4. Keep baby warm
Because of the unformed nature of baby’s skin, infants are very sensitive to temperature and changes in humidity. Because of their growing nature and diet which is high in liquids, they are prone to kapha dosha imbalances. Hence Ayurveda suggests the following:
Keep infants well covered and slightly warmer than you would keep yourself. Protect all vata based organs like skin, feet and ears, especially when taking baby out in the open.
Babies must be bathed in warm, and not hot water. Check the temperature before bathing baby.
Baby’s nursery should be kept slightly warm, and draughts of wind must not be allowed inside. Fumigation with rakshoghna herbs atleast once a day, especially in late evenings is advised to keep infection at bay.
5. Bathe baby with a special herb infused water
To boost baby’s immunity, support skin and keep micro organisms and diseases causing germs at bay, Ayurveda recommends adding s special herb mixture to baby’s bath. A simple herbal decoction can be made at home using either Neem or Tulsi leaf. Neem leaves is used when the weather is hot and Tulsi leaves when the weather is cold. The leaves can be added in the following manner:
How to make a bath steep for baby’s bath:
Mild decoction: Boil 4 – 5 Neem / tulsi leaves in 1 glass of clean water. Boil until the water reduces in half. Strain and add to baby’s bath water. Ensure the temperature of the water is suitable for baby’s skin before bathing her.
The same decoction can also be done with dried Neem leaf or Dried Tulsi leaf powder. In this case, boil the decoction until it reaches ¾ the original volume, strain and use.
To sum up:
Baby’s skin is fragile and vulnerable. As the skin system is under developed, the products we apply on baby’s skin must protect and support its healthy growth.
Ayurveda offers worried parents many wonderful solutions to holistically nurture and care for baby’s skin. These solutions are specific and range from how baby’s linen must be washed to how baby must be bathed.
We hope you found these 5 simple Ayurvedic tips to care for baby’s skin useful and easy to follow. Please do try them out yourself or forward the same to a friend in need.
If you have any questions or queries on the same, please write to us.
Krya products recommended for baby:
- Krya baby massage oils – made using authentic ayurvedic herbs, and organic cold pressed vegetable oils processed through a rigorous ayurvedic manufacturing process. Can be used from the time a baby is 1 week old
- Krya traditional baby massage oil with Bala & ashwagandha – traditional formula that aids baby’s muscle development . Can be used from the time a baby is 1-2 days old. Not recommended for babies with sensitive skin, dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis. For these conditions, see below.
- Krya Palmarosa & Rose nourishing baby massage oil – Can be used from the time a baby is 1-2 days old. Recommended for dry , non oozing skin conditions like dermatitis, dry eczema. Not recommended for oozing skin conditions.
- Krya Lemongrass & Grapefruit nourishing baby massage oil– Can be used from the time a baby is 1-2 days old. Recommended for dry , non oozing skin conditions like dermatitis, dry eczema (sensitive skin). Not recommended for oozing skin conditions.
- Krya baby ubtans & bodywashes – made from organic or forest collected herbs, grains and lentils . Cleans thoroughly yet is extremely soothing and gentle on baby’s skin. Can be used everyday from the 1st day of baby’s birth.
- Krya detergent – completely natural, plant based herbal detergents to cleanse baby’s linen without irritating baby’s skin