Data on the effects of skincare for neonates and infants with sensitive, non-atopic conditions is lacking. However, there is a growing body of evidence supporting skincare starting early in life and ongoing for inflammatory skin conditions. Clinical guidelines and consensus papers on AD worldwide recognize the benefits of ongoing daily use of moisturizers aiming to reduce inflammation and to restore skin barrier function.43-57 Parental education on avoiding triggers of AD and how to apply gentle cleansers and moisturizers are an integral part of AD prevention, treatment, and maintenance.43-57
Promoting the skin barrier function, starting early in life by using moisturizers from birth, may not only be beneficial for the neonatal and infant skin but also may help to prevent AD.21,23 Two prospective, randomized controlled trials revealed that daily use of a moisturizer prevented AD in 32% of Japanese and 50% of Anglo-American high-risk neonates.24,25 More extensive research is needed to study whether moisturizer use from birth onwards reduces allergic sensitization by preventing the development of AD.24,25
Another randomized controlled study examined the effects of the twice-daily application of a ceramide-containing emollient for the first six months of life on the incidence of AD and skin barrier dysfunction in high-risk infants up to 12 months of age.36 Clinical follow-up revealed that twice-daily prophylactic use of the moisturizer might have a more substantial potential to prevent the development of food sensitization than the once-daily application of emollients used in previous trials.36
AD represents a significant health expenditure and is associated with multiple comorbidities.60-63 Daily moisturization may represent a cost-effective, preventative strategy to reduce the burden of AD and as prevention for AD among high-risk newborns.64
Skincare for neonates and infants should be safe, effective, inexpensive, and fragrance as well as sensitizing agent-free. Additionally, the skincare should be pleasant to use, containing ingredients that benefit the lipid and water content of the SC, such as those products containing ceramides. Several studies have shown that skincare, including appropriate cleansers and moisturizers, can reduce the risk of AD in ADprone newborns. More robust studies are needed to confirm the perceived benefits of skincare in neonates and infants.
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