Objective: To develop standard recommendations for skin care in neonates, infants and children to aid the pediatrician to provide quality skin care to infants and children.
Justification: Though skin is the largest organ in the body with vital functions, skin care in children especially in newborns and infants, is not given the due attention that is required. There is a need for evidence-based recommendations for the care of skin of newborn babies and infants in India.
Process: A committee was formed under the auspices of Indian Academy of Pediatrics in August, 2018 for preparing guidelines on pediatric skin care. Three meetings were held during which we reviewed the existing guidelines/ recommendations/review articles and held detailed discussions, to arrive at recommendations that will help to fill up the knowledge gaps in current practice in India. The initial draft of the manuscript based on the available evidence and experience, was sent to all members for their inputs, after which it was finalized.
Recommendations: Vernix caseosa should not be removed. First bath should be delayed until 24 hours after birth, but not before 6 hours, if it is not practically possible to delay owing to cultural reasons. Duration of bath should not exceed 5-10 minutes. Liquid cleanser with acidic or neutral pH is preferred, as it will not affect the skin barrier function or the acid mantle. Cord stump must be kept clean without any application. Diaper area should be kept clean and dry with frequent change of diapers. Application of emollient in newborns born in families with high risk of atopy tends to reduce the risk of developing atopic dermatitis. Oil massage has multiple benefits and is recommended. Massage with sunflower oil, coconut oil or mineral oil are preferred over vegetable oils such as olive oil and mustard oil, which have been found to be detrimental to barrier function.