Acne on a Baby's Face
Not just a skin condition of teenagers, acne can affect newborns and infants as well. According to Whattoexpect.com, acne develops in about 40 percent of babies. The pores in a baby's skin clog easily with dead cells, bacteria or substances produced by the skin since a baby's pores are still in the development process. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, hormonal changes are the likely cause of baby acne, and this condition generally doesn't require more than simple treatment at home.
According to Skinsight.com, baby acne is classified as either neonatal acne or infantile acne. Neonatal acne develops in newborns up to 1 month of age. Infantile acne is more severe and causes multiple types of acne lesions, but this type of baby acne is less common and it develops in infants 3 to 16 months of age. According to Whattoexpect.com, a baby develops acne more commonly at 2 to 3 weeks of age and this condition clears up before the baby is 6 months old.
Signs and Symptoms
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, baby acne typically erupts on the nose or cheeks and this condition affects more boys than girls. Lesions associated with baby acne can include blackheads, whiteheads, red bumps called papules and blister-like lesions referred to as pustules. This skin condition may appear worse if your baby cries or is fussy.
Diagnosis of baby acne involves a physical examination of the skin for the amount and types of acne lesions. In severe cases of baby acne, the baby's physician may also obtain blood work to rule out a hormonal disorder, examine the baby's mental and physical development since early acne may indicate a problem with development, and consult a pediatric dermatologist. The baby's physician may also ask if your baby has had contact with any medications that could cause him to develop acne such as corticosteroids or drugs containing iodine.
The first step in treating baby acne involves washing the baby's face 2 to 3 times daily with a mild, fragrance-free cleanser and then gently patting the skin dry. Resist the urge to pick or pop the acne lesions which can lead to an infection or scarring. If the acne doesn't resolve with daily facial cleansing, your baby's physician may initially prescribe a topical acne medication such as a 2.5 percent solution of benzoyl peroxide. Your baby's physician may also prescribe an oral antibiotic that you may need to give to your baby for up to 18 months.
Contact your baby's physician for an evaluation if the acne worsens, if your baby picks at or scratches the acne lesions, if the acne doesn't resolve within 3 months or if your infant develops acne between 2 to 6 years of age. The presence of acne is uncommon between 2 to 6 years of age, and this stage in life is often referred to as the acne-free zone.
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