Infrequent cases have been recorded in the literature of a peculiar self-limited affection of the newborn, consisting of complete envelopment of the infant in a distinct constricting membrane, likened in appearance to collodion or oiled parchment. Prematurity is an associated feature, and constriction of the membrane produces temporary ectropion, eclabium, deformity of the external ears, and immobility and edema of the extremities, plus pressure ischemia.
A process of fissuring and peeling of the membrane usually begins within the first 24 hours, and large keratin lamellae are cast off, coincident with rapid improvement of the general well-being of the infant. The skin underneath, after healing at the site of the primary fissure, appears normal, and the process is completed in 3 to 10 weeks.
Desiccation of the membrane is the factor that initiates peeling. Abnormal drying of the keratin also plays a large part in the pathologic physiology of the