Our skin is our largest organ, and it has many functions that protect us from the moment we are born. So how does your baby’s skin function and protect them for life outside the womb?
The Three Layers of Your Baby’s Skin
Just like adult skin, your baby’s skin is a sensory organ that stores moisture, regulates temperature, and protects against bacteria, light, heat and much more. Babies are born with three essential skin layers: the epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermis, also known as the subcutaneous fat layer.
The epidermis is the outermost layer of our skin. It is made up of many types of cells that shed and regenerate, including melanocytes. Melanocytes create melanin, giving your baby’s skin its color.
The second layer of skin is called the dermis. Strong and flexible because of the collagen the body creates, it also allows your baby to access their sense of touch. Things like blood and lymph vessels, sweat and oil glands, nerves and hair follicles live in the dermis.
This is our innermost layer of skin. It is made up of fat and collagen cells and helps your baby stay warm while protecting them from injury.
The Difference Between Infant Skin and Adult Skin
While your and your baby’s skin are made up of the same stuff, they are different in many ways, and because of those differences, they require different types of care. You’ve been walking around in your skin for a long time and you’ve been exposed to a variety of environments, weather, dirt, chemicals and even skincare products, so your skin has toughened over time.
However, babies’ skin is developing, which means it’s much more sensitive to the everyday things our skin encounters. Those glands that live in the dermis aren’t as effective in babies, so they aren’t able to sweat as much to regulate their body temperatures, and they don’t produce as much oil or melanin. Because of this, your baby’s skin needs extra-special care and attention.