Vernix caseosa is a naturally occurring fetal barrier film produced in late pregnancy as a result of sebaceous and epidermal lipids combined with desquamation of maturing fetal corneocytes. Vernix lacks desmosomal interconnections between corneocytes as demonstrated in adult stratum corneum and is, therefore, referred to as a “mobile phase” stratum corneum. Vernix is proposed to have multiple fetal/newborn overlapping biological functions: moisturization, anti-infective, antioxidant, wound healing, and waterproofing. Patients with altered skin integrity due to burn injuries lack the protective qualities necessary for wound healing. Emerging research suggests that Vernix applied to skin cultures may enhance wound healing. Application of the fetal/neonatal skin science findings to the adult burn population offers the potential for a clinically relevant homologous substitute for impaired tissue integrity.

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