While babies’ skin is super-sensitive, you don’t quite expect them to become afflicted by the a-word so early on. But infant acne is more common than you think.
There’s actually a few types of acne affecting babies:
Neonatal acne, which manifests around two-to-six weeks, is divided into two versions—
benign cephalic pustulosis, which shows as pink bumps and occasionally pustules on the scalp, forehead, cheeks, and chin. The cause is yeast, and gentle washing should take care of it.
true acne is exactly what it sounds like; with all the hallmarks of an adolescent breakout: blackheads, whiteheads, pink bumps, pustules and large, deep pimples. The cause is a result of hormonal imbalance; namely an excess of androgens—typically from the mother. This type of acne can resolve over time without intervention, if mild. Otherwise, topical medication may be prescribed.
Infantile acne can show up anytime from three months of age. Again, it’s the same acne we’re familiar with in teens and young adults—also linked to excessive androgens. The condition is more prevalent in boys as androgens are the male hormones; present in both sexes, but higher in boys.
Explains paediatrician dermatologist Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse:
“Severe cases can lead to permanent scarring and should be managed with oral medications, if appropriate,” He goes on, “Over-the-counter ingredients such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide are usually effective for more mild cases. More moderate and severe cases may require prescription medications.”
It’s important that you keep your paediatrician up-to-date with the progress of the condition, as if it doesn’t resolve—usually around the two year mark—it could persist into the pubescent years, and in rare instances, be indicative of a deeper hormonal imbalance that requires specific treatment.