Relationship between skin barrier function in early neonates and diaper dermatitis during the first month of life: a prospective observational study

Pediatr Dermatol. Nov-Dec 2014;31(6):692-7. doi: 10.1111/pde.12394. Epub 2014 Sep 10.


Diaper dermatitis, a common skin problem in newborn infants, is characterized by poor functioning of the skin barrier. This study aimed to elucidate the relationship between skin barrier function in 4-day-old infants and the occurrence of diaper dermatitis during the first month of life. We recruited healthy Japanese infants born at 35 weeks of gestation or more. We measured indicators of skin barrier function, namely skin pH and transepidermal water loss, in 4-day-old infants on four places on the body. Individual characteristics were recorded from the infants' medical charts. The presence of diaper dermatitis was judged using the diaper rash and erythema scoring scale, which was based on daily recording of the infants' skin condition by their parents. The parents also filled out a questionnaire 1 month after birth regarding stool frequency and certain external factors. The association between diaper dermatitis and skin barrier function was assessed using multiple logistic regression analysis. The analysis included 88 infants. The incidence of diaper dermatitis was 25.0%. After adjusting for stool frequency for 1 month we noted that high pH on the inner arm skin in 4-day-old infants increased the risk of diaper dermatitis during the first month of life (adjusted odds ratio 3.35 [95% confidence interval = 1.12, 10.04]). Early neonatal skin pH may predict the risk of diaper dermatitis during the first month of life. Our results may be useful in devising strategies to prevent diaper dermatitis.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Diaper Rash / epidemiology
  • Diaper Rash / metabolism*
  • Diaper Rash / pathology
  • Epidermis / metabolism*
  • Epidermis / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Water Loss, Insensible