Full-term babies are born with more alkaline skin, or skin with a pH of 6 or more. Baby's skin starts to become less alkaline within the first days of life, developing what is called the "acid mantle," which helps maintain the skin's barrier function and stave off harmful bacteria. Altering the newborn skin pH, as can occur when bathing with alkaline soaps, can cause skin breakdown leading to irritation. This is why AWHONN's nurse experts recommend selecting mild cleansers with a neutral or mildly acidic pH of 5.5-7.0.
This is important for nurses and other health care professionals to remember when considering the appropriate products for babies' developing skin. For example, the Neonatal Skin Care: Evidence-based Clinical Practice Guideline, 3rd Edition recommends a neutral or slightly acidic pH cleansers:
For more information on skin pH, turn to page 5 or page 14 of the Neonatal Skin Care Guideline.In this video, David Mays, PharmD, MBA—Director of Global Scientific Engagement, Skin Care, for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.—discusses new findings on the maintenance of an infant's skin microbiome.