Influence of Bathing or Washing on Skin Barrier Function in Newborns during the First Four Weeks of Life

Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Clinical Research Center for Hair and Skin Science, Charité-Universitatsmedizin Berlin, DE-10117 Berlin, Germany.
Skin pharmacology and physiology (Impact Factor: 2.37). 08/2009; 22(5):248-57. DOI: 10.1159/000235552
Source: PubMed


After birth, skin barrier function is in state of flux and at risk of dysfunction. In a prospective clinical study, we compared the effects of 2 standard cleansing procedures on skin barrier function in newborns.
Fifty-seven healthy full-term neonates aged < or = 48 h were randomly assigned to either a bathing group (group B; n = 29), who were bathed with clear water twice weekly, or to a washing group (group W; n = 28), who were washed with a washcloth moistened with clear water twice weekly. Transepidermal water loss (TEWL), skin pH, stratum corneum hydration (SCH) and sebum production were measured at days 2, 7 and 28 of life on the forehead, abdomen, upper leg and buttock.
Group B showed significantly lower TEWL on the buttock and higher SCH on the abdomen and forehead compared to group W at day 28.
Both skin care regimens do not harm the adaptation of the skin barrier in healthy neonates within the first 4 weeks of life. Skin barrier function differentiates after birth in a regionally specific fashion.

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    • "Three relevant RCT's, two by the same authors, were published after the completion of our pilot trial. Bartels study [26] tested the hypothesis that neither twice-weekly washing nor bathing would harm the natural adaptation of the skin barrier with respect to long-term effects on skin function in healthy newborns. The bathed group showed statistically significant lower TEWL on the buttock and higher hydration on abdomen and forehead compared to the wash group at day 28. "
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