Newborn Skin Is Developing And Needs Special Care

Skin barrier function is less mature

Newborn skin is different from adult skin. For example, Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL), which indicates the amount of water that escapes from the skin, is higher in newborns than in older baby skin1. Consequently, the newborn skin barrier is less mature and likely to be more vulnerable to environmental threats. TEWL does not decrease to ‘mature’ levels until at least the first year of life2.

Important implications for newborn skin3

  • More prone to dryness, environmental threats and irritation
  • Skin barrier must be maintained and protected

Newborn skin cleansers must be as gentle as possible

Cleansing products are necessary to effectively remove unwanted substances, such as urine and faeces, dirt or breast milk residues from newborn skin4. But, harsh cleansers can increase skin barrier disruption, leaving it likely to be more vulnerable to irritation5. Mild cleansers should respect the newborn skin barrier4.


1.Nikolovski, J., et al. Barrier Function and Water-Holding and Transport Properties of Infant Stratum Corneum Are Different from Adult and Continue to Develop through the First Year of Life. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Vol. 128. Pg. 1728–1736. 2008.

2.Stamatas, G. The Structural and Functional Development of Skin During the First Year of Life: Investigations Using Non-invasive Methods. Textbook of Aging Skin. Vol 69:7. Pg 15-24. 2010.

3.Garcia Bartels, N., et al. Effect of Standardized Skin Care Regimens on Neonatal Skin Barrier Function in Different Body Areas. Pediatric Dermatology. Vol. 27 No. 1. Pg 1–8. 2010.

4.Walters, R. et al. Designing Cleansers for the Unique Needs of Baby Skin. Cosmetics and Toiletries Magazine. Vol. 123, No. 12. Pg 53-60. 2008.

5.Cork, M., et al. Predisposition to Sensitive Skin and Atopic Eczema. Community practitioner. Vol.
78, No. 12. Pg
440-442. 2005

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