Red fleshy and ugly lumps on the skin of her cute, vulnerable newborn, is perhaps one of the most haunting experiences for a young mother. More often than not, the dreadful skin ailment called acne doesn’t even leave a baby alone from its grasp. Baby acne or neonatal acne, that is what we call it, can appear on the face, cheeks, back, hands, feet, or even other body parts of a newborn. The most vulnerable period is between the third and fourth week after birth. However, their onset and persistence can last up to 4 years of age.
What Are The Common Symptoms?
The symptoms of baby acne are not distinguishable from teen or adult acne. Oftentimes they are characterized by blackheads and whiteheads in their milder forms. Cysts and pustules can even appear with moderate severity, accompanied by redness and inflammation of the skin. Worst condition like permanent scarring of the skin is also not a very uncommon incident. Red, fleshy pimples are found to be predominant over the forehead, cheeks, and chin.
How It Forms?
- Although there is no foolproof evidence, yet skin experts usually blame the interlinked hormonal balance between mother and child as a major factor behind baby acne. Infants usually obtain their mothers’ hormonal traits at the end of pregnancy. And if there is any discrepancy in the hormonal balance of the mother, it might easily be transmitted to the baby.
- Among other factors, it is often thought that using harsh detergents to wash the clothes or unclean clothes soaked in saliva or sputtered milk might even generate blemishes if they are allowed to come in contact with the baby’s skin.
- Constipation is another phenomenon which is found to be quite usual among almost all infants. Irregular bowel movement or absence of one for 4 to 5 days might be natural unless there is some disturbance in the normal growth of the baby. Things might need an extra caution if it is prolonged abnormally or if there is hard bowel movements, because these waste matters within the body might generate toxic accumulation leading to acne formation.
What Should be Done?
Infants are always more vulnerable in every aspect than adults. And therefore they need an extra care in terms of both prevention as well as cure even if it is baby acne.
In most of the cases it is advised to leave the acne condition undisturbed, since they are found to be more prone to disappear without any interference. Still there are stubborn and persisting cases where baby acne even becomes unmanageable and medical supervision would obviously be essential in such cases.
Early diagnosis of the problem is essential before concluding whether it is really acne or something else. An intervention of an experienced pediatrician or a dermatologist is essential in this regard, who, with the help of certain easy physiological tests, would determine whether the patient is suffering from acne. However, no laboratory tests are generally conducted in this regard.
Treatments are simple in nature as in mild adult acne; like the application of benzoyl peroxide or Retin-A, under the supervision of the concerned physician, is recommended for babies above 3 years. Nevertheless, considering the side effects and the tender skin of the baby, it is always suggestible to consult a pediatrician and use some prescription medicines than administering any over-the-counter antiacne products meant for adults.
Sometimes a certain kind of medications might generate baby acne. Consult with your doctor to determine whether it is a medicinal side effect and what necessary steps should be taken to prevent this.
Before administering anything on the baby’s skin, it is essential to wash the area with some mild baby soap and clean water.
Fresh fruit juices work like wonder, since they provide nourishment both to the skin as well as overall health of the infant.
What Should Not Be Done?
Mothers often use harsh scrubbers to rub and clean the baby’s skin thinking it to be an effective way to keep the skin clean, whereas in reality it works just the other way round. Remember it is the tender skin of a baby and using such harsh materials would inflict more harm than what it apparently appears.
Trying different creams, lotions, moisturizers, and other products on the infant in an attempt to subdue baby acne might actually be doing more harm than good. Always consult the concerned pediatrician and a skin expert to decide on what steps are to be taken in order to prevent this problem.
Never squeeze, pop, or pick the pimples, instead use some paper towels to pat and soak the area dry.