African American Infant Skin Care

Written by tamara warta
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African American Infant Skin Care
(Mother and child in shade image by geophis from Fotolia.com)

African-American infant skin care is different than other nationalities, and for babies adopted into a trans-racial environment, as well as for African-American families caring for their first child, it can be tricky learning how to properly care for this special kind of skin. However, if you establish and follow a good routine, African-American baby skin is actually very manageable and gorgeous.

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General Skin Care

African-American infant skin care is the same as other nationalities in only a couple of ways. The first of these being the fact babies rarely need moisturisers, baby oils or anything else on the market. This can actually irritate their skin and rob their body of its natural oils. The only instance in which an infant should receive skincare creams and oils is when the child is suffering from eczema, or another medically diagnosed skin condition.

Secondly, babies of any nationality, but especially African-Americans, do not need to be bathed daily. As one doctor on WebMD.com has stated, "Once-a-week sponge baths (or even less) are best for newborns with darker skin tones (like African-American). These infants tend to have dryer skin and have a higher risk of skin problems such as eczema."

Since African-American babies tend to have drier skin than other races, long and hot baths on a daily basis are never recommended.

Winter Skin Care

In the winter, African-American babies do actually require a natural moisturiser such as cocoa butter. Without it, you may see a layer of dry skin forming, identified by white and flaky patches on the elbows, stomach, face and any exposed part of the body. Winter clothing fabrics can also cause this irritation.

Start the routine of using a natural moisturiser right after bath time to seal in moisture, so when your baby is old enough to apply lotion on their own, they are in the mindset to do so.

You will also want to make sure your baby is regularly hydrated, as infants get thirstier with winter's dry air, and internal dehydration can leave tell tale signs on the skin. This shows up much more quickly on African-American babies, so keep on top of it before there is an issue.

Summer Skin Care

When it comes to sun exposure, dark pigmented skin endures much better in the sun than light skin, but it can still burn. Oftentimes darker skin is burnt before you can physically see the damage, and then will make itself known through peeling skin later on.

Apply sunscreen to your child as faithfully as one would do with a fair skinned child to avoid the discomfort of an undetected sunburn.

Other Tips and Tricks

Once your little one is old enough, "stand up" baths work better than sitting and soaking in the bathtub, as this can prevent drying and irritation of the skin.

Sun exposure is important in regular doses, as it evens out the African-American skintone. Apply sunscreen, but do not be afraid of the sun.

For difficult eczema, an oatmeal bath can do wonders.

Finally, always thoroughly wash the scalp with each bath, as fungal infections are always a risk with that area of skin.

Further Precautions

Taking precautions before there is skin irritation is the number one weapon you have against common skin problems found in African-American infants. Whenever you purchase a new outfit, be sure to wash it with gentle detergent before putting it on your baby.

Since African-American newborn skin is so sensitive, avoid using any products other than water and a very mild soap during those first few months, as this is the time period where skin allergies like eczema develop.

Finally, with African-American skin, as you would with any skin type, cleanliness is key. Wash baby's sheets and other bedding regularly, and allow the skin time to breathe whenever possible.

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