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Gentle Skin Care of Babies Saves Lives (Pedcast)

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Introduction

Thanks for joining me today. I am your host, Dr. Paul Smolen, a board certified pediatrician with 35 years of practice under my belt and a whole lot to say. From diapers to the diploma, if it involves kids, we discuss it here. Ever wonder why a baby’s skin feels better than the skin of older children and adults. Well, the reason is really rather simple. Baby skin is thinner and more supple than that of an older person. Baby versus adult skin. To get a sense of the difference thickness makes to skin, take a moment and feel the skin on your own palm, and then compare that with the skin on the back of your hand. Most of the difference that your feel, is due to the difference in the skin thickness. More specifically, we are talking about the thickness of the surface layer that is also known as the epidermis. Do you remember the names of the two layers to your skin? The deeper layer, where the nerves, blood vessels, sweat and oil glands are located is called the dermis. The dermis in turn is covered by multi-layers of cells called the epidermis; similar to the way shingles on the roof protect your house. The thing is, babies don’t have nearly as many shingles in their epidermis as do older people.  Their skin therefore tears easier, is more porous, loses water more easily, cracks easier, and tends to dry out faster.  Consequently, if a baby’s skin becomes damaged more easily, things that they touch the surface can penetrate right into their dermis provoking bad things to happen. More on that a few minutes and many other exciting things you need to know about your baby’s skin so don’t you dare miss this episode of Portable Practical Pediatrics. Continue reading