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Neonatal skin acclimates rapidly to dry, aerobic conditions at birth and skin function gradually matures throughout infancy. Gentle skin care practices support the ongoing development and function of newborn skin.
A recent study published in Current Opinion in Pediatrics reviewed research updates and current skin care recommendations for full-term infants, premature infants and those born with severe cutaneous manifestations of genetic skin disorders
The consensus stated that although safe early bathing of full-term infants with environmental controls is possible, delaying the first newborn bath for 12-24 hours offers benefits of increased parental bonding and breastfeeding success. Meanwhile, swaddled bathing every 4 days is an effective bathing strategy for premature neonates. In addition, among infants with a family history of atopic dermatitis, regular application of bland skin moisturizers reduces their risk of developing the disease. While in newborns with erosive or blistering genetic skin conditions, the use of specialized wound dressings and emollients promotes wound healing and helps limit skin damage. The findings also disclosed that environmental control with humidified incubators helps in preventing life-threatening hypernatremic dehydration among babies born with collodion membranes. On the other hand, affected infants can tolerate breaks outside of the humidifier, as well—and it helps in promoting parent-infant bonding.
The present article reviewed infant skin care recommendations relevant to pediatric practice. Research to further optimize newborn skin care is ongoing, for the special populations of premature neonates and infants born with severe skin disease.
Source: Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 2019 Aug;31(4):476-481. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000791.