Recommendations from a European Roundtable Meeting on Best Practice Healthy Infant Skin Care

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Abstract

Background:

European roundtable meeting recommendations on bathing and cleansing of infants were published in 2009; a second meeting was held to update and expand these recommendations in light of new evidence and the continued need to address uncertainty surrounding this aspect of routine care.

Methods:

The previous roundtable recommendations concerning infant cleansing, bathing, and use of liquid cleansers were critically reviewed and updated and the quality of evidence was evaluated using the Grading of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation system. New recommendations were developed to provide guidance on diaper care and the use of emollients. A series of recommendations was formulated to characterize the attributes of ideal liquid cleansers, wipes, and emollients.

Results:

Newborn bathing can be performed without harming the infant, provided basic safety procedures are followed. Water alone or appropriately designed liquid cleansers can be used during bathing without impairing the skin maturation process. The diaper area should be kept clean and dry; from birth, the diaper area may be gently cleansed with cotton balls/squares and water or by using appropriately designed wipes. Appropriately formulated emollients can be used to maintain and enhance skin barrier function. Appropriately formulated baby oils can be applied for physiologic (transitory) skin dryness and in small quantities to the bath. Baby products that are left on should be formulated to buffer and maintain babies’ skin surface at approximately pH 5.5, and the formulations and their constituent ingredients should have undergone an extensive program of safety testing. Formulations should be effectively preserved; products containing harsh surfactants, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, should be avoided.

Conclusion:

Health care professionals can use these recommendations as the basis of their advice to parents.

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