Introduction: Compared to adults, newborns’ skin has a thinner epidermis and stratum corneum with decreased hydration levels, higher transepidermal water loss, and a pH variation between 5.5 and 7.5. These characteristics can predispose to the occurrence of dryness, infections, and dermatological conditions. Water and liquid soap with adequate formulation have shown to be beneficial and safe for newborns’ skin. However, studies evaluating the effect of bar soap, products widely used in Brazil and Latin America, are unknown. Therefore, the objective of this study was to compare the effects of liquid and bar soaps on the term newborns’ skin. Methods: This randomized controlled, parallel, single-blind clinical trial was conducted at a public university hospital in São Paulo, Brazil. 100 healthy term newborns with no congenital anomalies, acute diseases, or dermatological conditions were randomized to use liquid soap (experimental group) or bar soap (control group). Skin pH, transepidermal water loss, stratum corneum hydration, sebum content, and skin condition were assessed before and after the first bath, at 48 h, 14 days, and 28 days after birth. These evaluations were performed on the forearm, abdomen, buttocks, and thigh. In addition, the mother’s perception of soap use was also evaluated. Results: Data of 100 newborns were analyzed by intention to treat. The rate of retention was 53%. Newborns exposed to the liquid soap presented significantly better skin acidification (p < 0.001) and significantly better stratum corneum hydration (p < 0.001) than the skin of newborns exposed to the bar soap, regardless of the area evaluated. There were no significant differences in transepidermal water loss, sebum content, dryness, erythema, or skin breakdown and the mother’s perceptions of the use of the soaps. Conclusion: Newborns in the experimental group presented better skin acidification and stratum corneum hydration when compared to newborns in the control group.

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