The first thing which comes into a persons mind when the word acne is mentioned is raging hormones and teenagers. Acne is a skin condition which commonly affects teenagers and young adults. This skin condition is characterized by the appearance of blackheads, white heads and red inflamed lesions. Acne is caused by the overproduction of sebum which is the natural oil produced by the skin.
So when someone speaks of acne and babies in the same breath, it catches most people by surprise. But there is nothing surprising in this, as nearly twenty percent of all newborn babies suffer from acne. This skin condition appears in infants approximately four weeks after birth and clears up within three to four months.
Acne neonatorum, acne infantum or baby acne appears as red bumps or pimples on the cheek, forehead, chin and face of infants. In some cases it even appears as a red rash. Unlike adult acne in infants, acne does appear on the back, neck or the chest. Baby boys are more likely to suffer from infant acne as compared to baby girls. It is extremely important to properly identify baby acne and not mistake it for other skin conditions like milia. Parents who are not aware of baby acne become extremely worried when the red bumps or pimples appear on their baby’s face.
What causes baby acne or what are the trigger factors which aggravates this condition is still not clear. However it is thought that the maternal hormones which the fetus is exposed to during the third trimester of pregnancy, causes babies to have an acne breakout in the weeks following the birth. Some of the maternal hormones are also passed on to the newborn child through the breastmilk.
These maternal hormones can cause a baby’s sebaceous glands to become overactive which in turn causes the overproduction of sebum or oil. The sebum easily clogs up a baby’s skin pores, as it is not fully developed, and results in of acne. The acne pimples generally come in waves until the maternal hormones are completely eliminated from the baby’s system.
Maternal hormones alone are not responsible for baby acne. There are many other factors which can cause a baby to have an acne breakout. Some babies suffer from acne immediately after birth as a result of certain medicines their mother may have had during pregnancy. If a woman is put on certain medications immediately after giving birth, some traces of the medicine can enter the baby’s body through breast milk. This too can cause the sebaceous glands in infants to become overactive and subsequently cause acne.
Skin irritations can also give rise to acne. A new born baby’s skin is very sensitive. If a child is made to wear clothes which has been washed using harsh chemicals it can cause an acne breakout. Use chemical free detergents to wash the baby’s clothes and rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of the detergent. For neonatal acne medical treatment is not required. However if the acne condition is extremely severe then consult a pediatrician for application of topical creams on the affected area. Application of breast milk on the acne is one of the best ways of treating neonatal acne.