Skin maturation from birth to 10 years of age: Structure, function, composition and microbiome


Infant and adult skin physiology differ in many ways; however, limited data exist for older children. To further investigate the maturation processes of healthy skin during childhood. Skin parameters were recorded in 80 participants of four age groups: babies (0–2 years), young children (3–6 years), older children (7–<10 years) and adults (25–40 years). Overall, skin barrier function continues to mature, reaching adult levels of transepidermal water loss (TEWL), lipid compactness, stratum corneum (SC) thickness and corneocyte size by the age of about 6 years. Higher levels of lactic acid and lower levels of total amino acids in the SC of babies and young children further indicate higher cell turnover rates. In all age groups, TEWL and skin surface hydration values remain higher on the face compared with the arm. Skin becomes darker and contains higher levels of melanin with increasing age. The composition of skin microbiome of the dorsal forearm in all children groups is distinct from that in adults, with Firmicutes predominating in the former and Proteobacteria in the latter. Skin physiology, along with the skin microbiome, continues to mature during early childhood in a site-specific manner.

In Experimental Dermatology