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What is neonatal acne and infantile acne?

Neonatal acne

Occurring in approximately 20% of newborns and appears at approximately 2 to 3 weeks of life. Looks like small, red bumps and pustules that are scattered over the cheeks. The forehead, eyelids, chin, neck, and upper chest may also become involved. This type of rash is not harmful to the child. Comedones, which are the typical lesion seen on adolescent acne, are not seen in acne of the newborn.

Underlying cause: Temporary hormonal imbalances, or the involvement of a yeast called Pityrosporum rather than P. acnes (i.e. a bacteria responsible for inflammatory acne). Can be difficult to diagnose accurately due to different, usually temporary and harmless conditions of the skin that often look very similar but have different underlying causes.

Treatment: Can be treated with a topical antifungal or a combination of antifungal creams that the baby's doctor prescribes, however, the condition will most commonly resolves on its own.

Infantile acne

This type of acne is relatively uncommon. Will present as comedones and inflammatory lesions and is similar to the way adolescent acne would look. Usually occur at anywhere from 2 months to 2 years of age or more. Most commonly found in baby boys than girls and the face is typically involved.

Underlying cause: Hormonal factor or a family history of severe, scarring acne.

Treatment: Unlike with neonatal acne, early treatment is important in even mild cases, as there is a significant risk of scarring. Infantile acne is usually treated with appropriate oral or topical antibiotics in conjunction with topical benzoyl peroxide (i.e. BP, an antiseptic commonly used topically in the treatment of acne and does not induce bacterial resistance) and low concentration of tretinoin (Retin-A, i.e. a vitamin A family medical compound commonly used to treat acne vulgaris). Tetracyclines (i.e. a class of antibiotics used in the treatment of acne vulgaris) are not used in this age group.

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