From 27 to 29 September 2013, Rise and Shine Expo, an informative expo to raise happy and healthy children was held in Singapore. There were more than 100 seminars, workshops and trial classes held and one of the seminars by dermatologist Dr Lynn Chiam was on ‘All about Children’s Skin’, a topic I’m very passionate about.
Dr Lynn Chiam of Children & Adult Skin Hair Laser Clinic is a consultant dermatologist who subspecializes in paediatric skin conditions at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Medical Centre, Singapore. She was formerly the head of paediatric dermatology at National Skin Centre, Singapore before leaving for private practice. She has vast experience in childhood atopic dermatitis and childhood birthmarks. She has previously shared her expertise in this blog on Teen Eczema and Facial Eczema.
Dr Lynn’s Seminar at Rise and Shine Expo
The seminar was held at the stage area in Hall 401, Suntec City Convention Centre at 4.30pm, Saturday 28 September. The parents who turned up were very keen to understand more about children’s skin, as most of their children had either eczema or other skin conditions.
Dr Lynn shared on the various functions of skin, that is more than a covering but also
Acts as a barrier to prevent the penetration of irritants, toxins and harmful organisms
Prevents moisture loss
Shields the body from harmful UV light
Forms part of our immune system
Regulates temperature and part of our body’s sensory mechanism (touch)
Function of skin for a baby
The baby’s skin is different from that of adult, being (i) thinner, (ii) less hair, (iii) less oil and (iv) less pigmentation. It is also less equipped to handle temperature changes, sunlight and prevention of moisture loss, and is more vulnerable to toxin, blistering and erosions. A new born baby’s skin is covered by vernix caseosa, a creamy white substance that helps the newborn adjust from being in a womb to outside when delivered. It is lubricating and has anti-bacterial function.
Skin Changes for a Baby
The baby’s skin will undergo changes, gradually getting thicker with less permeability and with more mature sweat and sebaceous glands. There is then less heat and moisture loss.
Care of Baby’s Skin
The newborn baby’s skin does not require much washing, bathing once daily or once in two days is sufficient. Hot water should not be used and avoid showering more than 10 minutes, always taking care to pat dry instead of aggressively rubbing dry. As baby’s skin is more susceptible to sunburn, sun protection with at least SPF 30 and also wearing protective clothing, hats and not going out from 10am to 4pm in direct sunlight is important. Topical creams or lotions can be used in infants but parents must be careful to examine ingredients to ensure no toxicity or irritants.
The most common skin irritation by baby is diaper rash, which is a form of irritant contact dermatitis, triggered by faeces (watery stools) and urine. The diaper results in a significant amount of time for which the urine is in contact with the skin, taking into account all the time a newborn spent lying or sitting down. The skin ought to be gently cleansed and lubricants applied.
Next week, I will be posting on the next segment of Dr Lynn’s talk on common skin conditions and grateful to Dr Lynn Chiam for reviewing the above on her talk at Rise and Shine Expo.