Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby's Skin
There are two forms of baby acne: neonatal and infantile. Neonatal is more common, appearing in the first few weeks of life as small red bumps and tiny whiteheads on the nose, forehead, and cheeks. In fact, it looks a lot like a case of teenage acne, only milder and usually without the blackheads. Acne in this age group is also a result of hormones, again, similar to the teens, but in this case the hormones come from the mother, having been passed to the baby’s system through the placenta before birth. During the several weeks it takes those hormones to naturally return to low levels (since they are not replaced by the baby’s body once they degrade), the acne can persist. Once gone, however, the acne will resolve.
Infantile acne, lasting beyond the newborn period, is not common. Rarely, it is treated with acne medicines, but not before being evaluated by a pediatrician or other specialist.
Up to 50 percent of newborns will get some degree of jaundice in the first week of life. This is a yellowish hue to the skin that comes from a buildup in the body of a molecule called bilirubin. It is rare (and worrisome) before 24 hours of life, and usually begins to appear at 48 to 72 hours.
Extra red blood cells needed by a baby before birth but not after begin to break down shortly after birth. This process releases bilirubin molecules into the bloodstream. It is the liver’s job to clear this away, but, being only a few days old and somewhat immature, the liver can’t process the whole load. Bilirubin piles up, and jaundice begins, first appearing in the whites of the eyes, then face, and working its way down the body as the jaundice becomes more severe.
Though most babies never build up a dangerously high level, severe jaundice is a serious condition that needs to be treated in the hospital. Less severely affected babies can become sleepier, though, and more difficult to feed. After peaking in the first week, uncomplicated physiologic jaundice will begin to fade over the next few weeks.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN