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Premature infant skin barrier maturation: status at full-term corrected age

A Correction to this article was published on 23 June 2020

This article has been updated

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the effects of gestational age (GA) and postnatal age on skin barrier integrity by comparing premature infants at full-term corrected age with infants born at term.

Study design

Parallel comparison of chest skin in 36 premature infants with 39 full-term infants using daily measures of transepidermal water loss (TEWL), skin pH, erythema and rash, over 2 weeks.

Result

Chest skin pH was significantly lower for premature infants, indicating that acid mantle formation had occurred in the premature versus full-term infants. Chest TEWL was significantly higher for premature versus full-term infants over 2 weeks, suggesting that even 7–8 weeks after birth, skin integrity is poorer in premature infants.

Conclusion

Skin barrier properties of premature infants at adjusted full-term age differ from full-term infants, suggesting that epidermal barrier development depends on GA and time from birth. These maturational differences may influence premature infant response to topical agents.

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Fig. 1: Chest pH decreased significantly overtime for full-term infants (p < 0.05) but not for premature infants by GLM analyses.
Fig. 2: Chest TEWL did not differ by study day for either premature or full-term infants via GLM with the linear regression lines calculated from the mean values.

Change history

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Funding

Partial funding for this work was provided by a grant from The Procter & Gamble Company, Cincinnati, OH.

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Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

MOV—substantial contribution to study design, study execution, data acquisition, data analysis, and data interpretation; literature review, paper preparation, and review with critical revision; approval of final version. ANC—substantial contribution to evaluation of analysis strategies, data interpretation; paper preparation and review with critical revision; approval of final version. VN—substantial contribution to evaluation of analysis strategies, data interpretation, discussion of clinical relevance; paper preparation and review with critical revision; approval of final version.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marty O. Visscher.

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Conflict of interest

VN has no conflicts of interests to disclose. The authors with disclosures to report are as follows: A member of MOV’s family owns stock in The Procter & Gamble Company. ANC is an employee of The Procter & Gamble Company.

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Visscher, M.O., Carr, A.N. & Narendran, V. Premature infant skin barrier maturation: status at full-term corrected age. J Perinatol 41, 232–239 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41372-020-0704-3

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