Simran was distraught. Her newborn daughter’s beautiful face suddenly broke out into a rash that resembled acne. Acne? Whoever heard of a newborn baby developing acne? That surely wasn’t possible… or was it?
More than 30 percent of babies are
born with, or more commonly, develop a rash soon after birth. There are
various types of rashes, baby acne being one form. This form of acne usually
begins when a baby is around 3 weeks, and can last until the baby is 4
or 6 months old. Baby acne is perfectly normal, and is caused by hormones
passed to the baby, through the placenta, before birth. These hormones
stimulate the oil glands on your baby’s skin, leading to baby acne. In
addition to acne, the hormones may also cause your newborn son or daughter
to have tiny breasts. These breast buds are in no way permanent, and all
soon disappear with time. Sometimes newborn girls may have some vaginal
bleeding, similar to a period. This is also due to hormones passed on to
the girl, and is not a cause for concern. The bleeding will stop soon enough,
and will not recur until your daughter is an adolescent.
Often, the baby’s skin breaks out
into pimples, and while most of the acne is in the form of red rash, whiteheads
are also common. While the acne will be most visible on the face, a few
pimples may appear on the chest and arms as well. If your child is agitated
for some reason, heated up or unwell, the rash may become more severe,
causing you further anxiety. Similarly, if his skin is irritated, the rash
will worsen. Take care not to wash your child’s towels or bibs in harsh
detergents, as these may irritate the skin if not carefully and completely
washed off. Make it a point to gently clean out saliva or milk from his
face, so they do not cause further irritation.
Clean his face with water gently,
and use a mild baby soap to wash his face. There is no need to rush around
looking for a cure. Baby rash disappears on its own, with time, so applying
oils and medications will not help, and are in any case, not required.
In fact, applying oils will almost definitely cause the acne to worsen.
Make sure this is indeed acne, and
the rash is not just because your baby is allergic to something. If you
feel your child may have an allergy, keep a lookout for any possible allergens,
and keep them away from your baby.
If your baby has acne, how do you
look after her skin in the winter? Always remember, use less moisutriser
and stay away from heavy creams. Use light, non-scented lotions. Also,
make sure you do not over-bundle your child. Your baby will show her discomfort
if she is too cold, but will not, if she is too warm. As a result, your
child’s skin will break out into a heat rash (yes, heat rash is surprisingly
common in the winter too) worsening her acne. So if you take your baby
outdoors in the winter, cover her up well, but make sure you remove some
of the layers when you bring your child indoors.
And finally, there is no reason to believe that just because your child has had baby acne, she will be susceptible to teenage acne. At times, the babies with the severest acne have grown up to develop flawless skin.
Understand Baby's Skin: Read more
about cradle cap, diaper rash and heat rash.
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