In contrast with the full-term infant, the skin of the preterm neonate is structurally and functionally immature, especially birth occurred before 30 weeks gestation. The inefficiency of the epidermal barrier may result in dehydration, thermal instability and toxic reactions from percutaneous absorption of topically applied agents. An increased risk for bacteremia and sepsis exist because of the easily injured skin, combined with compromised immunity. The present article summarizes the consequences of this skin immaturity and the different means to avoid them. We shall also describe 2 pathologies more frequent in premature infants: sclerema neonatorum and acquired zinc deficiency.