PROPER care of the skin of the newborn child, during its stay in the hospital nursery and after it reaches home, is an important problem in infant pediatrics. That there is little unanimity of opinion regarding such care seems largely due to a lack of understanding of the physiology and pharmacodynamics of the skin of the newborn and to the difficulty of apportioning the influence of nursing technic on conclusions otherwise reached.
Like other organs of the newborn, the skin differs from that of the adult both histologically and physiologically in many fundamental respects. The child's skin (after the vernix caseosa has been removed) is pink, soft and silken to the touch and exquisitely delicate in texture. Potter and Abel1 reported that few babies display surface sterility at birth, the majority showing contamination, principally with Staphylococcus albus and Escherichia coli. After twelve to twenty-four hours, the skin becomes hyperemic,