Soaping Less and Moisturizing More Even Helps Healthy Babies

Research spotlight on the effects of moisturizing skin care

Research Spotlight: "Effects of moisturizing skincare on skin barrier function and prevention of skin problems in 3-month-old infants: A randomized controlled trial"the 

In newborns especially, there is a higher prevalence of skin problems. From having itchy eczema to easily dry skin, infants often suffer from a deficiency in their skin barrier, which is essential for the skin to retain water and remain moisturized.[1] In a recent study, researchers examined the impact of moisturizer in infants in the long term by examining how their skin barrier changed with moisturizer use.

In the study, researchers studied 227 healthy Asian newborns that were from 1 week to 3 months old. The infants were split into two groups:

  • The first group of infants was bathed once a day with soap and without the regular use of moisturizer (to mimic how babies are typically treated).
  • Babies in the second group were bathed every other day with soap and moisturizers were applied daily at least once every day. The parents of the infants applied the moisturizers and soaps from an approved product list given by the researchers and applied the moisturizers on the babies depending on the baby’s skin condition.

Throughout the twelve weeks of this research experiment, the researchers examined the infants’ skin for any redness, dryness, or diaper rash. Based on the study’s findings, the babies who bathed every other day with the daily use of moisturizer use experienced less water loss from the skin and increased skin hydration than the group who bathed every day and did not have any moisturizers applied. Furthermore, the infants in the daily moisturizer group also experienced less diaper rash and skin problems, which included redness, dry skin, and eczema.

Since the babies in the daily moisturizer use group also bathed every other day instead of daily, it is hard to know if the babies in the daily moisturizer group did better because they bathed less (and were exposed to less soap) or if it was because they were treated daily with a moisturizer.

With the prominence of skin problems in infants, this study shows promising results and highlights the importance of reducing soap exposure and the beneficial effects of daily moisturizer use. While every baby’s skin is unique and can react differently, the implementation of this routine may be helpful for the appearance of healthy, soft skin.


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  1. Visscher MO, Chatterjee R, Ebel JP, et al. Biomedical assessment and instrumental evaluation of healthy infant skin. Pediatr Dermatol.2002;19(6):473-481; PMID: 12437545 Link to research.