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Vol. 22, No. 5, 2009
Issue release date: October 2009
Skin Pharmacol 2009;22:248–257

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

Garcia Bartels N. · Mleczko A. · Schink T. · Proquitté H. · Wauer R.R. · Blume-Peytavi U.
aDepartment of Dermatology and Allergy, Clinical Research Center for Hair and Skin Science, bDepartment of Medical Statistics and Clinical Epidemiology, and cClinic for Neonatology CCM, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany

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Background and Objectives: 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. Methods: Fifty-seven healthy full-term neonates aged ≤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. Results: Group B showed significantly lower TEWL on the buttock and higher SCH on the abdomen and forehead compared to group W at day 28. Conclusions: 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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Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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