If you spent nine months in water, your skin would shrivel to an irreversible prune-like state
If you spent nine months in water, your skin would shrivel to an irreversible prune-like state. Yet babies come out of the womb looking pink, plump, smooth, and perfect. Why? Researchers are now attributing the perfection of baby skin to a material called vernix—it’s the white stuff covering their skin when they’re born. Most doctors wipe babies clean upon delivery; now some believe it’s better to leave the vernix on. A recent study performed at the Skin Sciences Institute (SSI) of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center looked at the skin of babies with vernix left on and vernix wiped off. The skin of those whose vernix was left had better pH balance, was more hydrated and was less scaly. This study has huge implications for the future of skin care. Already researchers at the SSI are working to produce a synthetic version. The SSI scientists say their main priority for a synthetic version is its potential use for premature infants, whose vernix has not yet formed; however, they acknowledge that it could also be used in wound healing, anti-aging formulas, moisturizers and a myriad of other beauty-related products.