Baby Acne – Acne Neonatorum

Baby Acne – Acne Neonatorum

When you think of babies, you probably envision soft, smooth skin. Fortunately, most babies are born with a fresh, flawless complexion – but even among infants, skin disorders can occur. While you don’t commonly hear people talk about baby acne, it’s an actual condition that usually first appears in little ones within two to three months after birth.

Baby acne, or acne neonatorum, is generally confined to the facial area and often appears as red colored lesions on the cheeks. In some instances, the acne may cause blackheads, papules, or pustules to form on your baby’s skin. Although this can be quite alarming to new parents, thankfully most baby acne conditions will completely disappear by the time your baby is six months old.

A hormonal imbalance is the primary culprit of baby acne. During pregnancy, a baby is exposed to a higher level of hormones. After birth, the body must adjust to the change and maintain a healthy hormonal balance.

As a result of this adjustment, in some cases acne will appear. Unlike other types of acne, acne neonatorum will not cause scarring. Once the outbreaks have ceased, your baby’s skin should remain undamaged from this temporary condition.

Studies have shown that male babies are more prone to acne than females. This isn’t surprising, since after birth your son will experience a much lower level of estrogen hormones in his system. As the body adjusts to this change in hormones, baby acne may periodically disappear only to flare up again a few weeks later.

If your child experiences an outbreak of baby acne, there’s no reason to panic. Acne neonatorum is actually a rather common problem in infants. Nearly 1 out of 5 babies will experience some form of baby acne during their infancy. Since scarring is not an issue, your first priority should be your baby’s comfort.

In an attempt to conceal outbreaks, many parents will try applying various lotions and oils to their baby’s face. You should avoid this temptation and instead use a very mild soap and warm water to cleanse your baby. In many cases, the use of lotions can actually aggravate and prolong the condition.

You should only seek your doctor’s assistance if extreme or severe cases of acne occur. After examining your child, the doctor may choose to prescribe benzoyl peroxide or some type of retinoid cream to help ease the symptoms. Although this can be very effective in healing acne, prescription medications or ointments should be a last resort for treatment.

For parents that are overly troubled by this condition, there are safe over-the-counter treatments that may help ease your baby’s discomfort. Many doctors will recommend using an anti-itch cream such as hydrocortisone. Just remember to apply the cream sparingly.

Too much lotion may damage your baby’s delicate skin and cause excess peeling to occur. In dealing with baby acne, both time and patience are required. As your child ages, baby acne conditions will disappear on their own.

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