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J Dermatol. 2018 Jan;45(1):24-30. doi: 10.1111/1346-8138.14080. Epub 2017 Oct 6.

Effects of moisturizing skincare on skin barrier function and the prevention of skin problems in 3-month-old infants: A randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Midwifery and Women's Health, Division of Health Sciences and Nursing, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.
Department of Health Quality and Outcome Research, Division of Nursing Systems, Global Nursing Research Center, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.
Department of Children and Women's Health, Division of Health Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan.
Department of Health Sciences, Basic Science for Clinical Medicine, Division of Medicine, Graduate School Department of Interdisciplinary Research, University of Yamanashi, Yamanashi, Japan.


An effective newborn skincare protocol has not been established. We aimed to evaluate the effects of moisturizing skincare, including using lotion and reducing routine bathing. Our hypothesis was that moisturizing skincare would improve skin barrier function. This randomized controlled trial included 227 healthy Asian newborns between 1 week and 3 months old. We compared moisturizing skincare (bathing every 2 days and using lotion daily; intervention, n = 113) to daily bathing without lotion (control, n = 114). We assessed the skin barrier function (transepidermal water loss [TEWL], stratum corneum hydration [SCH], skin pH and sebum secretion) as a primary outcome at 3 months old. We also assessed the incidence of skin problems according to parents' diary reports. Compared with the control, the intervention group had a lower face TEWL (mean ± standard deviation, 14.69 ± 7.38 vs 17.08 ± 8.26 g/m2 per h, P = 0.033), higher face SCH (60.38 ± 13.66 vs 53.52 ± 14.55, P = 0.001) and higher body SCH (58.89 ± 12.96 vs 53.02 ± 10.08, P < 0.001). Compared with the control, newborns in the intervention group had significantly lower rates of diaper dermatitis between birth and 1 month old (6.3% vs 15.9%, P = 0.022), and tended to have lower rates of body skin problems between 1 and 3 months (42.1% vs 55.2%, P = 0.064). Moisturizing skincare was effective for improving skin barrier function and preventing newborns' diaper dermatitis. The results of our study may help parents make informed decisions about newborn skincare.


diaper rash; newborn; randomized controlled trial; skin care; skin diseases

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