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Skin Care in the Well Term Newborn: Two Systematic Reviews

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Background: Awareness is increasing that the use of some commercial products on the premature neonatal skin may be beneficial, whereas the use of others may be harmful. The World Health Organization developed general postnatal care guidelines and the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses published specific evidence‐based guidance relating to neonatal skin care. No systematic reviews on the topic have focused on the term newborn. The objective of this review was to determine, for the well term baby, if the use of soaps or detergents in bath water is associated with the development of dry, cracked, or flaking skin in the perinatal period, and short‐ and long‐term consequences of the use of emollients, lotions, or moisturizers for dry skin. Methods: We conducted a structured systematic review of prospective studies involving term newborns. Results: No relevant studies were located. Conclusions: No prospective studies of research in skin care involving the term newborn were found. Some recommendations for skin care may balance risk and benefit for the compromised infant, but this balance may be different for the healthy term newborn. Clinical practitioners should be aware that outcomes related to the use of soaps, detergents, emollients, and lotions on the term neonatal skin have not been formally investigated. Systematic reviews that yield no formal results provide insights into unresearched areas of practice, and should be reported to highlight these deficits, and to avoid duplication of effort by future investigators.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Midwifery Team Leader, Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre National Health Service Hospital Trust, Blackpool; 2: Professor of Midwifery, University of Central Lancashire, Preston; and 3: lecturer, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire, England.

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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