What is vernix and what does it do?

July 12, 2016

Babies are born with a creamy substance, known as vernix caseosa, covering their skin. This greasy layer is white in colour and it has many benefits:

  • It acts in the same way as a moisturiser and protects your baby's skin from becoming dry. Because it's sort of like a waterproof coating it safeguards the skin from the drying effects of amniotic fluid and prevents existing moisture from escaping. It also ensures that your baby's skin doesn't get wrinkly from floating in fluid for 9 months.
  • Vernix also makes a fantastic lubricant for the birth and facilitates your baby's passage through the birth canal.
  • It conserves heat and insulates your baby's body, helping to regulate the internal temperature and keep your little one warm.
  • Babies that are born at full term have more vernix than babies that are born overdue because the amniotic fluid has more time to absorb it.
  • Lots of parents like to leave the vernix on their baby's skin for as long as possible so that their baby can soak up all of its natural benefits. When the time comes to remove it, vernix should be wiped off or rubbed away gently. Remember that because it has a greasy texture it won't wash away easily in water so a soft washcloth or natural sponge can help.


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