Babies are not born rosy, but covered in a sticky, whitish substance. Many parents are surprised to see it. Is named vernix caseosa, and it is like a layer of fat that adheres to the newborn's skin and that also has a certain function. What exactly is vernix caseosa for? What is this substance made of? When should we clean the baby to get rid of it?
The vernix caseosa It is a natural white or grayish substance that covers the baby's skin when it is born. It is also known as sebaceous daub. The word comes from Latin: 'vernix', which means varnish, and 'caseoso', which means cheese. That is, the vernix caseosa It is a 'varnish' with a texture similar to cheese.
This substance is composed of Water (by 80%), grease (by 10%) and protein (another 10%), and begins to form from week 20 of gestation. It is a mixture of tallow, lanugo (very fine hair) and skin cells scaly baby. It accumulates especially in the back and the folds of the extremities of the newborn.
This substance has one mission: to protect the delicate skin of the baby. It must be taken into account that inside the uterus there are irritating substances such as amniotic fluid. The vernix caseosa protects the baby's skin during pregnancy From dehydration, it isolates you from humidity and cold, and as soon as you are born, it acts as a barrier against possible infections and helps to keep your temperature constant. It also helps him at the moment of expulsion by making him slide better through the birth canal.
However, not all babies are born with vernix caseosa. From week 36 of gestation, its production decreases. That is why most babies born before week 38 have more vernix caseosa than those born full-term.
The doctor Angela Hernandez Martin, a dermatologist at the Niño Jesús Hospital, recommends 'keeping this substance in contact with the child's skin during the first days after birth', especially for its protective function. In fact, the doctor points out that there is no specific day to bathe the baby, but rather let the vernix caseosa gradually disappear on its own (as it is reabsorbed by the skin). So he recommends' at least leave for a week, a prudent number of days, to keep the little boy with its natural protection. '
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