We usually associate the
development of acne with adolescence, but acne and acneiform
(acne-like) lesions can occur in infants.
A newborn may have an acne eruption on
the nose or cheeks. This is usually caused by hormonal changes that
occurred as the fetus was developing, and the outbreak typically
clears in a matter of weeks, without treatment.
When to See a Physician
A physician should be consulted when:
An infant or very young child has
acne that persists for more than several weeks. An infant or
very young child with acne that persists for more than several
weeks should be examined by the childís pediatrician or a
dermatologist. If the acne persists or becomes severe,
consultation with an endocrinologist and pediatric dermatologist
is recommended. Causes that may be investigated include:
Family history. Do the
infantís parents, brothers or sisters have acne, or did they have
it at some time? A close genetic connection is a high risk factor
for developing acne.
Early hormone production. Does
the infant have a condition that causes very early production of
sex hormones, especially the androgenic hormones associated with
acne? The possibility of sexual precocity (very early sexual
development) requires medical attention to prevent or moderate
disabilities linked with this condition.
Growth and developmental
abnormalities. Are there any indications of problems with
mental or physical development? Very early acne can also be an
indication of a developmental abnormality.
Drug-induced acne or acneiform
eruption. Has the infant had any contact with a medication
that can cause acne or acneiform lesions, such as corticosteroids
or iodine-containing drugs?
Acne develops between the ages of
2 and 6. While acne occurs in infants, it usually subsides by
age 2. If acne develops between the ages of 2 and 6, a
dermatologist should be consulted as this is a stage in life known
as the acne free zone.
During the acne free zone, which
occurs from approximately 2 to 6 years of age,
acne vulgaris rarely
occurs. It is believed that acne usually does not occur between
the ages of 2 and 6 because sebum
production is very low. The low
sebum production is
probably associated with the low levels of
androgenic hormones in the
childís developing body.
Where Infantile Acne Occurs
In infants and very young children, acne usually appears as
rash-like comedones and
the cheeks and chin. There may also be the occasional small
Boys are more likely than girls to have infantile or juvenile
(Photo used with permission of the
American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic
Infantile and juvenile acne is treated in much the same way it is
treated in teenagers and adults. Actual treatment usually consists
of gently cleansing the skin and treating it with topical agents.
Only rarely, in very severe cases, are antibiotics or isotretinoin
prescribed. Therapy is required for as long as the acne persists. As
in adolescent and adult acne, any underlying condition must also be
content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology