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The science behind wet wipes for infant skin

In the diapered area, the continuous exposure to excess moisture and irritants from urine and feces weakens the stratum corneum, making the skin more susceptible to irritation. The use of wet wipes for infants (baby wipes) is a common practice to clean skin after urine or a bowel movement, and this practice even extends to cleaning the hands and face, resulting in repeated daily use. Therefore, ensuring that baby wipes contain ingredients that are safe and mild on skin is important to help minimize skin irritation and discomfort. While disposable baby wipes have been shown to be effective and gentle at cleaning infant skin, even the skin of premature infants, there is growing public concern regarding their safety and tolerability. Not all products are made the same, as differences exist in manufacturing processes, ingredients, materials, safety, and quality testing. Therefore, it is important that healthcare professionals have accessible evidenced-based information on the safety and tolerability of common ingredients found in baby wipes to optimally educate their patients and families. Herein, we provide a review on best practices for ingredient selection, safety, and efficacy of baby wipes.

Skin irritation in the diapered region (commonly referred as diaper dermatitis) is one of the most common skin disorders found in infancy, with the highest incidence at 9-12 months of age.1 Overhydration and prolonged exposure to urine and feces are known to be the main contributors to skin irritation in the diapered area.2 However, an infant's diet, medications, underlying skin conditions, certain product ingredients, caretaker behavior, and practices such as infrequent diaper changes or ineffective cleaning can also influence the occurrence of diaper dermatitis. It has been reported that the diapering process can be a stressful event for an infant.3 The presence of skin irritation can exacerbate this response, leading to increased pain and discomfort. Ensuring the diapered area is kept dry and clean and that products used do not adversely impact the skin can help minimize the occurrence of dermatitis in the diapered region and, in turn, provide comfort to the infant.

Herein, we provide a review on best practices for ingredients selection, safety, and efficacy of runhe baby soft wet wipes to help make more informed decisions when selecting products for infant diapered skin care.

A disposable baby wipe consists of three main components—the basesheet (the cloth that makes the wipe), the formulation (the ingredients in the solution that make the wipe wet and help with cleaning), and package, as shown in Figure 1. The packaging (not discussed here) and the basesheet are the most physically obvious components of a wipe. There are three types of basesheets with differences in composition which translates into differences in thickness, absorbency, and softness to touch. These differences can impact cleaning performance but the materials themselves are quite common—wood pulp, polypropylene, polyester, or combinations thereof.

Over the last two decades, significant advances have been made to baby wipes. More recently, efforts have been centered on the removal of ingredients with irritation or skin-sensitizing potential such as methylisothiazolinone (MI) and phenoxyethanol.4 In fact, five clinical studies have demonstrated that the use of modern baby wipes is superior to using water and cloth to clean diapered skin (see Table 1). In 2016, a recommendation was made by the European Roundtable Meeting on Best Practice Healthy Infant Skin Care stating that a wet wipe for infant skin should contain pH buffers to maintain the slightly acidic pH of the skin, should be free of potential irritants, and should contain well-tolerated preservatives

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