Aloe Vera for Babies: Is It Safe?
Is it safe to use aloe vera on babies either as a daily moisturizer, for sunburn, or when a rash develops? As a member of the succulent plant family, aloe vera has been widely used as a natural treatment for dermatitis throughout the ages. The clear, soothing gel found within the aloe plant has been applied as an ointment to treat varying types of cuts, scrapes, wounds, burns, and rashes for at least 6,000 years.
Nevertheless, is the “plant of immortality,” as it was once known in ancient Egypt, safe for babies? It’s an important question. When it comes to treating an infant with dry or irritated skin, such as diaper rash, your baby’s health and safety is no doubt your number one priority. An infant’s skin, i.e., the epidermal layer we all have, is far different than that of an adult, or even a toddler, child, or teenager. A baby’s skin develops and matures over the first 12 months. In infancy, a baby’s skin is far more permeable and reacts easily to the environment as his or her epidermal barrier matures. Subsequently, an infant is far more susceptible to common inflammatory skin disorders than children or adults.
Using Aloe Vera for Diaper Rash
As any parent suffering sleep deprivation will attest to, diaper rash is chief among these skin conditions. The good news is, aloe vera is a safe, natural remedy to relieve baby’s painful rash. A National Institute of Health study showed the therapeutic effectiveness of aloe vera on diaper rash. No adverse effect was reported in one study and the evidence further “suggests that topical aloe … could serve as safe and effective treatment for the treatment of diaper dermatitis in infants.”
Applying cool aloe vera gel can provide quick relief for your baby’s irritated skin. You should use it a few times a day when changing diapers. It will be both healing and soothing to your newborn. The gel is over 95% water and contains infection-fighting antibacterial properties and anti-inflammatory agents like B-sitosterol, vitamins B and C, minerals such as zinc, and skin-friendly vitamin E. In addition to diaper rash, you can use it as a topical relief for dryness, cradle cap, or any mild skin irritation your baby may be having a reaction to.
Treating Infant Sunburn with Aloe
Important: Sunburn of any severity on a baby under 1 year old should be treated as a medical emergency. Due to their sensitive skin and reduced ability to control body temperature, babies are at risk of severe dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke with prolonged exposure to sun. Take your baby to the doctor or hospital immediately if they become sunburned.
The best treatment for sunburn is preventative, and babies should always be protected from direct sun and heat as even a mild sunburn should be considered a medical emergency for an infant. Unlike adults, who usually experience nothing more than uncomfortable or painful skin irritation, a sunburn could results in dehydration or heat stroke for a baby. Dealing with these more serious aspects are paramount but once a doctor clears your baby, aloe vera is safe to use as a soothing and cooling agent on the infant's skin.
How to Use Aloe Vera Safely on Infants
To apply topical aloe vera gel on your baby’s skin, place a small amount of it on a finger and rub gently on the affected areas. Let it dry completely before putting another diaper on your baby or covering up the area with clothing. You may also want to consider introducing aloe vera gel is a preventive measure before a baby’s rash develops. Add aloe vera to your diapering routine or after bathing as you would any skin moisturizer.
Is Aloe Vera safe for use on a baby's face?
Aloe Vera is safe for use on any area of a baby's body, however special care should be taken when applying to the face. Be careful to avoid the eyes, mouth, nose, and ears.
Can babies take Aloe Vera orally?
Although Aloe is quite safe as an oral supplement, it is recommended that parents consult a pediatrician before letting their baby eat or drink Aloe Vera. Infants have very sensitive digestive systems and any other medications they are taking or other parts of their diet should be considered.
How to Tell Which Aloe Vera Products are Safe
It’s important to note if you purchase an over-the-counter cream, ointment, or any type of aloe vera solution, it may contain other additives and ingredients that may not agree with your baby, even sting. Discount brands can be attractive in price but may contain lower quality or purity Aloe. Be absolutely sure that the Aloe product you get for your baby is:
- 100% natural/organic
- Free of additives
- Sourced from a reputable company
When treating your baby’s skin, remember that a newborn and an infant’s epidermal layer is far different from that of an adult in its structure, function, and composition. A newborn is not only susceptible, but likely to develop a rash or rashes of some kind during the first year as his or her skin matures. Studies have shown that the use of aloe vera gel as a topical application on your infant is therapeutic. Rubbing the gel on your baby’s irritated or dry skin is an effective means to help reduce the inflammation and pain caused by a reaction or an environmental condition. Applying aloe gel a few times a day is a safe and effective treatment for your baby’s irritated skin.
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