Aim: This study aimed to identify the relationship between the skin barrier function after bathing at 2 weeks of age and subsequent facial skin problems during the first 6 weeks of life. Methods: A prospective observational study was conducted from July 2017 to February 2018 on healthy newborns aged 2 weeks. Skin barrier function was evaluated before bathing and at 30 and 90 min after bathing by measuring transepidermal water loss (TEWL), stratum corneum hydration (SCH), sebum secretion, and skin pH. Infantile facial skin problems were assessed using skin condition diaries maintained by a parent for 4 weeks. Results: Analysis of the data from 56 infants showed that 29 infants (51.8%) experienced facial skin problems from 2 to 6 weeks of age. A lesser change in the sebum secretion on the forehead before bathing to 90 min after bathing and a higher SCH of the forehead before bathing were less likely to result in facial skin problems (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.98, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.97–0.99; AOR = 0.96, 95% CI: 0.92–0.99). Conclusions: A greater change in the sebum secretion on the forehead before bathing to 90 min after bathing and a lower SCH of the forehead before bathing were associated with subsequent infantile facial skin problems, indicating that a better ability to recover after bathing is important to prevent facial skin problems. Future studies should identify factors that enhance the recuperative functions of infantile skin.
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