Doctor Q&A

Rise and Shine Feature – Seminar with Dr Lynn Chiam on Skin Functions

Dr Lynn Chiam Dermatologist Children Skin Conditions Eczema

Dr Lynn Chiam shared during the Rise and Shine Expo on ‘All about Children’s Skin’. She consults at Children & Adult Skin Hair Laser Clinic and subspecializes in pediatric skin conditions. She was formerly the head of pediatric dermatology at National Skin Centre, Singapore. She has also shared her expertise on Teen Eczema, Hand Eczema and Facial Eczema.

Skin Functions

Dr Lynn shared on the various functions of skin, that the skin 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)

Baby Skin Functions

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.

Diaper Rash

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 baby skin conditions and grateful to Dr Lynn Chiam for reviewing the above on her talk at Rise and Shine Expo.

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