The Science and Art of Neonatal Skin Care

Maureen Shogan, MSN, RNC

Neonatal Nursing Consultant, Clinical Director of National Institute on Drug Abuse NAS Project

Adjunct Nursing Faculty, Washington State University, Spokane, WA

Updated Skin Care Guidelines

In the attached publication, Maureen Shogan, MSN, RNC, discusses the updated skin care guidelines that were released by the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN)- in 2018. These are the fourth edition of Neonatal Skin Care, with the original skincare framework dating back to 2001.

Key Takeaways

  • Read the labels of ingredients placed on babies’ skin
  • Protect the skin acid mantle while bathing
  • Use natural cord drying
  • Preventatively protect the diaper area to decrease diaper dermatitis, especially with the most vulnerable preterm infant
  • During skin assessment, it is essential to consider nutritional deficiencies, particularly in the preterm
  • Provide adequate individualized nutrition support for all infants


1. Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. Neonatal Skin Care: Evidence-based

Clinical Practice Guideline. 4th ed. Washington, DC: Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and

Neonatal Nurses; 2018.

2. Çaka SY et al. J Spec Pediatr Nurs. 2017;23. doi: 10.1111/spn.12202.

3. Curley MAQ et al. J Pediatr. 2018;192:189-195.

4. Garcia-Molena P et al. Research and Reports in Neonatology. 2017; 29-39.

5. Goldberg DL et al. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2018;doi:10.1016/j.jand.2017.10.006.

6. Heimall LM et al. Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2012;37: 10-16.

7. Kuller JM. Newborn Infant Nurs Rev. 2014;14:166-170.

8. Medoff Cooper B et al. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2012;41:774-785. doi: 10.111/j.01401.x.

9. Posthauer ME et al. The ASPEN Adult Nutrition Support Core Curriculum. 2017;419-433.

10. Szekely LJ et al. Pocket Guide to Neonatal Nutrition. 2nd ed. 2016; 1-31.

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