The Importance of Skincare for Neonates and Infants: An Algorithm

J Drugs Dermatol. 2021 Nov 1;20(11):1195-1205. doi: 10.36849/jdd.6219.


Background: The skin of neonates and infants undergoes a maturation process from birth and is susceptible to barrier disruption. The current algorithm follows a US-based consensus paper on skincare approaches using gentle cleansers and moisturizers in neonatal and healthy infant skin. This summary provides clinical information for pediatric dermatologists, dermatologists, and pediatric healthcare providers treating neonates and infants.

Methods: The project used a modified Delphi process comprising virtual discussions followed by an online follow-up replacing the use of a questionnaire. During the virtual meeting, the systematic literature review results and a draft algorithm addressing over-the-counter skincare for neonates and infants with healthy skin were discussed and adopted using evidence coupled with the expert opinion and experience of the panel.

Results: The algorithm addresses three clinical signs: xerosis, erythema, and erosion/bulla. A growing body of evidence recognizes the benefits of ongoing daily use of non-alkaline cleansers and ceramides containing moisturizers to reduce inflammation and maintain a healthy skin barrier function. Diaper rash is common in infants presenting as erythema or, in more severe cases, skin erosion. Skin protection with a barrier cream and frequent diaper changes using disposable diapers resolves most cases; however, if the rash continuous despite appropriate care, rule out a candida infection.

Conclusion: The current algorithm focuses on neonatal and infant healthy skin that can benefit from skincare. When applied from birth onwards, gentle cleansers and moisturizers containing barrier lipids help maintain the protective skin barrier. J Drugs Dermatol. 2021;20(11):1195-1205. doi:10.36849/JDD.6219.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Child
  • Diaper Rash* / diagnosis
  • Diaper Rash* / drug therapy
  • Diaper Rash* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Skin
  • Skin Care*