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Vernix has a highly variable makeup but is primarily composed of sebum, cells that have sloughed off the fetus's skin and shed lanugo hair.[1] 12% of the dry weight of vernix is branched-chain fatty acid-containing lipids,[2] cholesterol and ceramide. Vernix of term infants has more squalene and a higher wax ester to sterol ester ratio than preterm infants.[1]

Vernix is theorized to serve several purposes, including moisturizing the infant's skin, and facilitating passage through the birth canal. It serves to conserve heat and protect the delicate newborn skin from environmental stress. Vernix is also thought to have an antibacterial effect;[3] though there is little to support a chemical role of vernix in protecting the infant from infection, it may form a physical barrier to the passage of bacteria.[1]
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Parenting, Pregnancy & Maternity, Pregnancy, Baby Skin Care, Attachment Parenting, Birth, Labor And Delivery, Natural Birth, Birth Plan, Birth In The Hospital

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review by . March 15, 2011
posted in Joy In Birthing
The vernix caseosa is the waxy looking white substance that covers your newborn baby. When you see videos of a birth on television, you may see the doctors wiping off the “dirty” looking baby. If you think that this is a good idea, you may want to reconsider. This substance, made up of the skin oil and dead cells that the baby has shed in the womb, helps protect him or her from dehydration. Without the vernix caseosa, the baby would be born wrinkly from constantly being exposed to amniotic …
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