Skin Care Practices for Newborns and Infants: Review of the Clinical Evidence for Best Practices
Article first published online: 20 OCT 2011
© 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 29, Issue 1, pages 1–14, January/February 2012
How to Cite
Blume-Peytavi, U., Hauser, M., Stamatas, G. N., Pathirana, D. and Garcia Bartels, N. (2012), Skin Care Practices for Newborns and Infants: Review of the Clinical Evidence for Best Practices. Pediatric Dermatology, 29: 1–14. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.2011.01594.x
- Issue published online: 18 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 20 OCT 2011
Abstract: In recent years, there have been continuing efforts to understand the effects of baby skin care routines and products on the healthy development of baby skin. Such efforts aim ultimately to determine the best infant skin care practices. The pediatric and dermatologic communities have not reached consensus on what constitutes an appropriate cleansing practice. In the United States, guidelines for neonatal skin care have been developed, propagated, and implemented. The accumulated knowledge has promoted evidence-based clinical practices and, therefore, may help to improve clinical outcomes, although these guidelines primarily cover the care of preterm newborns and the treatment of those with other health problems. High-level, long-term clinical evidence of the effective and safe cleansing of healthy, full-term newborns and infants is scarce. This review presents a comprehensive analysis of the scientific literature on baby skin development, cleansing practices, and related products (for healthy newborns and babies) since 1970. The evidence drawn from the reviewed literature can be summarized as follows: Bathing immersed in water seems generally superior to washing alone. Bathing or washing with synthetic detergents (syndets) or mild liquid baby cleansers seems comparable with or even superior to water alone. Nevertheless, larger randomized clinical trials with age-defined cohorts of babies as well as more-defined parameters are required to identify optimal practices and products for skin cleansing of healthy infants. These parameters may include standardized skin function parameters such as transepidermal water loss, stratum corneum hydration, skin surface pH, and sebum production. Clinical skin scores such as the Neonatal Skin Condition Score may be employed as outcome measures.