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Skin Barrier, Hydration, and pH of the Skin of Infants Under 2 Years of Age


Address correspondence to Stefania Seidenari, M.D., Department of Dermatology, University of Modena, Via del Pozzo 71, 41100 Modena, Italy.


Abstract: The goal of this study was to instrumentally evaluate the skin of healthy infants and to compare it to adult skin. A total of 70 infants, 45 girls and 25 boys, ages 8–24 months, and 30 healthy women were studied by means of transepidermal water loss (TEWL), capacitance, and pH measurements at two different skin sites, the volar forearm and the buttocks. No significant differences in TEWL were found between infants and adults, either on the buttocks or on the volar forearm. On the contrary, capacitance values were higher in infants. Their skin also appeared less acid than that of adults, with high statistical significance. No TEWL, capacitance, or pH variations were observed in infants according to sex and age. On the basis of the above data, the skin of infants 8–24 months of age shows functional signs of immaturity. This may lead to an increased permeability and a reduced capacity for defense against chemical and microbial aggression.