“Why Does My Newborn Look Like a Tiny Teenager?”

Believe it or not, acne, breast buds, and dandruff are normal in newborns! Read on for more information about these conditions:

  1. Peeling, dry skin is commonly seen during the first few weeks of life. After birth babies need to “shed” their first skin. It may appear baby has dry and peeling or cracking skin particularly around wrists and ankles. There’s no need to panic or moisturize. This is dead skin and just needs to slough off. Once it does, your baby will have skin that is soft and delightful.
  2. Milia or small white bumps can develop on the nose, cheeks, and chin. You might even see milia on your baby’s palate or gums. (Inside the mouth these are known as Epstein pearls.”) Milia are comprised of dead skin cells that are trapped just below the skin’s surface. There is nothing to do about them – they typically disappear after a few weeks to a few months.
  3. Acne may come and go for the first sixor so weeks of life and sometimes, though rarely, it may look quite severe. Acne occurs in response to exposure to mom’s hormones in utero combined with baby’s own hormones at the beginning of life, and we need to wait for these to subside before the skin clears. Acne typically appears as small red bumps on the face which at times travel down to the chest area and up into the scalp. You don’t need to anything about the acne – in fact, putting creams or other topical products on it may make it worse. Don’t worry! Even severe cases of acne do not bother babies – instead, it’s parents who are often distressed by it, not wanting to have photos taken or concerned that baby is uncomfortable. Hang in there, as it will totally resolve.
  4. Breast buds are another common finding in boys and girls, and it is also related to hormone exposure. Breast buds can feel like a rubbery enlargement under the nipple and one side might be larger than the other. This will also go away in the weeks to months after birth.
  5. Seborrhea, better known as cradle cap, can be caused by overactive oil glands on the scalp and you guessed it – it’s another condition influenced by hormones. The greasy scales on the scalp and/or between the eyebrows and on the forehead are benign. For moderate/severe cases, natural oils can be applied to the scalp to soften the scales followed by gentle removal using a paddle brush or soft bristled toothbrush. Rarely, there can be an overgrowth of a common scalp fungus which contributes to a more severe cradle cap. In those cases, we will recommend a few tried and true remedies.

At GetzWell, we’re here to support new parents through every stage of baby’s development, even virtually. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need us! https://getzwell.com/contact-us/

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