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Neonatal eczema

Thanks to groundbreaking research in newborn skincare conducted at The University of Manchester, parents now have peace of mind when choosing which products are safe to use for cleansing their new baby's skin.

Professor Dame Tina Lavender and her team's work dispelled the myth that all 'natural' products such as oils are safe and beneficial to the skin, and that commercial products are harmful and have led to the rise in atopic eczema and dermatitis.

Until then, many new mums had felt guilty using shop bought products on their babies, in case they damaged their skin.

Two main clinical trials were undertaken by Professor Lavender, part funded by Johnson & Johnson (J&J).

Over 500 mums and newborns, midwives and health visitors were involved and proved that J&J baby wipes and bath wash are just as safe to use as water on babies. This challenged NICE guidelines at the time.

Attitude and practice amongst midwives, health visitors, paediatricians and dermatologists to baby skincare practices subsequently changed across the UK.

Information leaflets supplied to new parents on skincare recommendations have been modified to reflect the findings of the research.

Product packaging now includes a direct reference to the trials and a web address links consumers to Professor Lavender's research findings, thus providing parents with the confidence that their chosen product is based on pragmatic clinical trials and evidence-based research.

"Most commercial companies will do their own in-house investigations but have never subjected their baby products to an independent randomised pragmatic clinical trial," Professor Lavender says.

"J&J were the first to do this and we would have reported regardless of the results. The impact of this is that parents can choose what's best for them".

Findings from these trials have informed the European Consensus recommendations, compiled by a panel of experts.

"Most commercial companies will do their own in-house investigations but have never subjected their baby products to a randomised pragmatic clinical trial. We would have reported regardless of the results. The impact of this is that parents can choose what's best for them."

Tina Lavender / Professor of Midwifery