Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant found in many plant- and animal-based foods. It's a fat-soluble vitamin, making it a natural complement to water-soluble vitamin C, another powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E has been suggested as a treatment for a wide range of ailments, though as of early 2012, clinical evidence is rare and studies frequently contradict each other. However, vitamin E is widely believed to contribute to skin tone and moisture, so it's commonly included in moisturizing creams and lotions for all ages. Some brands are specifically formulated for use on infants.
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Like other antioxidants, the health benefit of vitamin E is thought to derive from its ability to hunt free radicals, cells that can cause skin damage and other health problems. Vitamin E is valuable because it's fat soluble, meaning that oils and fats can transport it into body tissues and systems where water-soluble vitamins can't pass. Concentrated vitamin E oil can be applied topically for therapeutic purposes, but for general skin protection, it's usually incorporated as a minor ingredient in a lotion or cream containing other less-potent substances.
Giving Baby Moisture
Infants are susceptible to all the same causes of dry skin as adults. In fact, because their skin is more delicate than an adult's, they're more prone to dry skin. A gentle moisturizing lotion containing vitamin E can be an effective treatment, soothing your baby's skin and preventing the irritating itches and rashes that can make your infant restless and fretful.
Environmental factors are a common cause of dry skin among babies, just as they are among adults. Dry skin is more common during the winter, when humidity is low both inside and out, but dry summer weather can be a factor as well. Another major cause of dry skin is the baby's bath. If your infant is prone to dry skin, minimize the risk by keeping baths short, and use warm water instead of hot. Use a gentle soap-free cleanser, and don't use it until the end of the bath when you're done playing. Moisturize your infant as soon as he's dried.
Have a warm, draft-free space prepared before you begin moisturizing. Warm the lotion before you start. Cold lotion on a warm body doesn't feel very good, but it's pleasant at body temperature or slightly above. Smooth small amounts of lotion on your baby's feet and legs first, then slide them into the pajamas. Support your infant in a sitting position to moisturize her back, then stretch the pajamas on your work surface and lay her back down on them. Moisturize her hands and arms, sliding them into the sleeves, then finish up by rubbing the lotion onto her belly and chest.