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Are you currently recommending water only for cleansing baby’s skin?

There is a lot of confusion for parents and healthcare professionals on what to use to cleanse baby’s skin. Although many healthcare professionals are currently advising parents to use water only, you may be unaware that water alone is not an effective cleanser and could potentially be damaging for baby’s delicate skin.

Water alone is not an effective cleanser for baby's skin1-3

Water alone only removes water-soluble substances.

Fat-soluble substances (faeces, faecal enzymes, milk etc.) can irritate a baby’s skin if not properly cleansed away. Such substances can only be removed with surfactants that bind to the fat-soluble substances and allow them to be effectively removed from the skin.

Exposure to irritants for long periods, especially in the occluded nappy area, can lead to: discomfort, irritation, infection and skin barrier breakdown.

Water Alone is not Effective - JOHNSON’S® BABY

Water only can be harmful3,4

Depending on bathing frequency and quality of water used (for example in hard water areas), washing with water alone can have a drying and irritating effect on infant skin, which may lead to impairment of infant skin condition

Baby skin needs mild, effective cleansers to maintain its integrity and effectively cleanse5

In order to address the confusion for healthcare professionals and parents about what is safe for baby’s skin, independent randomised clinical trials (RCT’s) were carried out to compare the effects of a specially formulated baby cleanser and baby wipe with water alone on healthy newborn skin6,7

These were the largest ever clinical trials on newborn cleansing methods, and were conducted by a multidisciplinary team, led by midwives, on over 500 newborns (non-invasive testing of baby’s skin).


Top to Toe Bath & Wipes are Clinically Proven - JOHNSON’S® BABY

Now healthcare professionals and parents can confidently make a choice when it comes to cleansing their newborn baby, right from the first day.

Read more about the clinical trials here:


1) Gelmetti, C. Skin cleansing in children. JEADV 2001; 15(1):12-15.

2) Walters RM, Fevola MJ, Librizzi JJ, et al. Designing cleansers for the unique needs of baby skin. Cosmetics & Toiletries 2008;123(12):53-60.

3) Telofski LS, Morella P, Correa CM, et al. The Infant Skin Barrier: Can we Preserve, Protect, and Enhance the Barrier? Dermatology Research and Practice 2012;12:198789

4) Tsai, T.F. Maibach HI, How irritant is water? An overview. Contact Dermatitis 1999;41(6):311-14.

5) Blume-Peytavi U, Cork MJ, Faergemann J, et al. Bathing and cleansing in newborns from day 1 to first year of life: recommendations from a European round table meeting. JEADV 2009;23:751-759.

6) Lavender T, Bedwell C, Roberts SA, et al. Randomized, controlled trial evaluating a baby wash product on skin barrier function in healthy, term neonates. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs 2013;42(2):203–14

7) Lavender T, Furber C, Campbell M, et al. Effect on skin hydration of using baby wipes to clean the napkin area of newborn babies: assessor-blinded randomised controlled equivalence trial. BMC Pediatrics 2012;12: 59.

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Please email us at [email protected] if you have any questions.

Your query will be dealt with by our expert on the JOHNSON'S® range of products who is a qualified (and former) midwife

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