Granny had it right all along: the best way to clean children’s skin is a wet cloth, such as a face washer.
Nappy wipes are commonly used not only on bottoms (for which they were designed), but on little faces and hands. They take off the skin’s natural oils, removing our skin’s precious barrier layer, leaving the skin open to all the environmental irritants in our modern lives.
We know that children can develop allergies through the skin if the barrier function is broken; the body tends to tolerate new foods if they are eaten, but some babies and children can develop food allergy if there is enough environmental exposure to trace amounts of food proteins such as peanut.
Not only should we be avoiding using cleaning products that affect the skin barriers, but the use of moisturisers in the routine skin care of babies and children is an important part of the prevention of allergy, as is the early and appropriate treatment of eczema.
For more information ASCIA has published a number of position statements on the prevention of allergies in babies.