‘As a Woman of Color with Eczema, I’m All About Being ‘Woke’ About My Skin—Here’s Why’

Representation matters.

Caregivers know: You slather your baby with ointment, shield her from wintry weather, and dress her in only the most breathable (and totally adorable) cotton onesies… and yet a new skin flare-up seems to emerge every day. What gives?

Baby care can feel like the wild, wild west, especially during the colder months. If you’re feeling totally overwhelmed by an ever-changing slew of skin woes, inundated by all the bath-and-body options out there, and unsure of what to try, take heart: There’s one ingredient that checks all the skin-soothing boxes—and it’s kid-tested, parent-approved, and doctor-recommended.

Board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, FAAD suggests scanning your baby skin-care products for calendula. It’s a plant-based ingredient with skin-calming properties that gently soothe all kinds of afflictions. To make it even simpler for you, NOW® Baby has a calendula-infused collection of baby essentials made from high-quality, natural ingredients that includes everything from gentle shampoo and bath wash to lotion and (a just-dropped) diaper paste.

So before you throw in the towel (literally) and resign to yet another bout of infant irritations, let Dr. King dish on some common skin woes and stock up on calming, calendula-infused essentials to help ease them. (PSA: They’ll be 20 percent off the whole month of March.) Oh, and as you navigate this whole caregiving thing? Be gentle on yourself—and your youngins.

Why do babies have such sensitive skin?

First things first, why all the irritation? “Baby skin is thinner and has lower lipid content [than adult skin], and the skin barrier function is less robust,” Dr. King says, which “means that transepidermal water loss increases and there is higher risk of irritation and infection from environmental toxins, irritants, and microbes.”

According to Dr. King, dryness, flakes, redness, and bumps—in various forms and on various parts of your babe’s squishy, snuggly body—can affect up to 70 percent of babies. While a mother’s hormones sometimes contribute to these afflictions, environmental factors almost always play a role. And if you live in a place that gets hit with winter weather, you’ll likely notice increased irritation throughout the season.

So yeah, it’s tough out there—but not forever. The skin barrier matures within the first five years of life, and most little ones grow out of these common ailments. Until then, you can give your little peanuts some major relief with natural, nourishing ingredients. Dr. King’s advice? “Avoid essential oils, parabens, alcohols, sulfates, and other harsh surfactants,” and look for gentle, hypoallergenic formulations instead.

What are the benefits of calendula?

When it comes to gentle, calendula is queen. “Calendula is a flowering plant from the marigold family,” Dr. King says, whose petals have been used in foods and traditional herbal systems for centuries. (Fun fact: The flower, which is native to the Mediterranean, got its name from the ancient Romans, when they noticed it blooming at the start of every month, or “calends.”)

“Calendula is often found in skin-care products because it has soothing…moisturizing, [and] antioxidant properties,” Dr. King says, which make it useful in relieving skin conditions—in one simple step. And when you pair the powerful extract with the other plant-based, functional ingredients in NOW® Baby & Kids essentials—like organic aloe, lavender, and chamomile (hello, sweet slumber)—you’re ushering in some seriously soft snuggles.

So stock up on NOW’s suite of soothing baby-care products, get elbow-deep in a very splashy bath routine, and bask in the benefits of calendula. Your skin will thank you, too.

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