Collodion Baby

September 14, 2005
Alexander K. C. Leung, MD

When this boy was born, he was covered by a transparent membrane resembling oiled parchment or collodion. The membrane was shed within 2 weeks and, subsequently, the infant was found to have normal skin. Lamellar ichthyosis usually develops in babies with this condition, although in some the skin clears completely.

When this boy was born, he was covered by a transparent membrane resembling oiled parchment or collodion. The membrane was shed within 2 weeks and, subsequently, the infant was found to have normal skin. Lamellar ichthyosis usually develops in babies with this condition, although in some the skin clears completely.

There is an increased incidence of perinatal morbidity and mortality among collodion babies. Problems include cutaneous infection, pneumonia, diminished sweating, and heat intolerance. Affected babies need to be maintained in a high-humidity environment. Manual debridement of the membrane is to be avoided, although application of nonocclusive lubricants may facilitate shedding.