Physiological Skin Characteristics of Infants and Children Compared to Those of Women

Cureus. 2021 Nov 25;13(11):e19904. doi: 10.7759/cureus.19904. eCollection 2021 Nov.


Introduction There is little information regarding skin conditions in infants and children, especially with respect to age, anatomical sites, and seasonal variations. This study aimed to compare the physiological skin characteristics of infants and children with those of women. Methods This study involved skin measurements and a questionnaire-based survey assessing healthy infants and children aged one month to six years and four months (37 males and 48 females) and 15 healthy women in their twenties in the summer, and healthy infants and children aged two months to six years and seven months (34 males and 45 females) and 15 healthy women in their twenties in the winter. The physiological characteristics of the skin of infants and children were surveyed by age. We excluded infants and children with allergic symptoms at the time of measurement. There were 11 subjects with a history of atopic dermatitis. Results Compared with women, infants and children had lower stratum corneum water content and higher transepidermal water loss (TEWL) at most sites. Minimal sebum secretion was observed throughout the body in infants and children aged ≥1 year. The skin surface pH of infants and children was low throughout the body. The questionnaire revealed that skin issues were most common at the anterior neck and cubital fossa, where TEWL was markedly high. These results suggest that barrier function is less developed in the skin of infants and children than in the skin of women. Conclusions The physiological characteristics of skin varied depending on age, anatomical site, and season; hence, skincare guidance must be provided according to these factors.

Keywords: children; infant; seasonal variation; site variation; skin physiology.