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Skin Sense

There's a reason people can't resist stroking babies' faces and nuzzling the tops of their heads. After all, what can compare with that clean, milky fragrance of innocence? What else feels as soft and plump with life as a baby's cheek? An infant's skin is the ultimate blank slate, free of scars, wrinkles, blemishes  -- all those marks we accumulate over a lifetime. When we touch the smooth, clear curve of a baby's forehead, we are filled with a sense of newness and possibility.

From that moment on, though, it's all downhill  -- at least as far as the skin is concerned. Sun, wind, pollutants, and the very process of living slowly take their toll. But by providing thoughtful care and observing a few safety precautions, you can keep your baby's skin perfect for as long as possible.

Susan Freinkel is a freelance writer and mother of three who lives in San Francisco.