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The Effect of Application of Aquaphor on Skin Condition, Fluid Requirements, and Bacterial Colonization in Very Low Birth Weight Infants

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the effects of repeated application of an occlusive ointment on the skin of very low birth weight infants.

STUDY DESIGN:

Nineteen neonates of 26 to 30 weeks gestational age were randomly assigned to receive topical Aquaphor ointment twice daily for 2 weeks or to receive standard skin care. Skin quality, fluid requirements, and skin bacterial colonization counts were assessed.

RESULTS:

Infants treated with Aquaphor had significantly improved skin condition scores versus controls (p = 0.002). Aquaphor improved skin scores over time (p = 0.012) in treated infants, whereas skin scores of untreated infants worsened before eventually healing. There were no significant differences in total fluid requirements, urine output, serum sodium concentrations, skin bacterial counts, fungal counts, or colonization patterns between treated and control infants in either gestational age cohort.

CONCLUSION:

Aquaphor ointment, used during the first two postnatal weeks, improved skin condition in infants of 26 to 30 weeks’ gestation without changing skin bacterial flora. We speculate that improved skin condition may limit transepidermal water loss and decrease portals of entry for pathogens, thereby potentially decreasing fluid and electrolyte imbalances and sepsis in very low birth weight infants.

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Correspondence to Ira H Gewolb MD.

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Pabst, R., Starr, K., Qaiyumi, S. et al. The Effect of Application of Aquaphor on Skin Condition, Fluid Requirements, and Bacterial Colonization in Very Low Birth Weight Infants. J Perinatol 19, 278–283 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.jp.7200157

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