Is It Baby Acne, Heat Rash, Or Cradle Crap?

Rebecca Prescott
 


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There are a number of skin conditions that babies can get, and two different types of acne. Each one has different treatments and recommendations, so it's good to know the symptoms of each.

Cradle Crap

Like neonatal acne, cradle crap and seborrheic dermatitis are related to the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, which cause the oil glands to go into overdrive. Cradle crap is:

* crusty, scaly, red patches on baby's scalp
* caused by overactive sebaceous glands (these produce the skin's oil)
* there can also redness in the crease of the baby's neck, armpits, and behind his ears
* when it is only on the scalp, it is cradle crap. When it spreads all over the face, and in the diaper area, it is called seborrheic dermatitis. You should contact your doctor to get a stronger shampoo or alternative treatment if this occurs.

Heat Rash

Heat rash can occur in anyone, though babies are more vulnerable because their sweat glands aren't fully developed. Thus, they are less able to re-balance their core body temperature. Heat rash is characterized by very small bumps on the skin, surrounded by a red area. Heat rash:

* usually breaks out on areas of the body covered by clothes
* this includes the trunk, groin, and armpits
* it can cause fever and heat exhaustion in severe cases
* hot and humid environments tend to be associated with it more
* it can feel prickly or stinging

Baby Acne

Like teenage acne, baby acne occurs more often in boys than girls. Unlike later forms of acne, it is generally mild or moderate, and rarely severe.

It generally occurs on the face of infants - usually the cheeks, though it can spread to the chin and forehead. When this type of acne is mild to moderate, it is unlikely to lead to permanent scarring. However, if the acne is severe, scars can occur that last into adulthood. Those babies who develop severe acne usually get acne vulgaris when they reach the teenage years. Acne vulgaris is the most common type of acne people suffer from.

Neonatal acne can include features of regular acne like whiteheads and blackheads, as well as papules and pustules. Papules do not have pus in them, and look like small, solid, raised areas of the skin. Pustules do have pus in them, as the name suggests. Pustules generally form in sweat glands or hair follicles. It is composed of inflammatory cells as well as pus.

When there are no comedomes (whiteheads and blackheads), babies may have what is call neonatal cephalic pustulosis. This is a result of an infection by a genus of yeasts called malassezia. There are a number of different species belonging to this genus, although it has not been established whether the different species cause particular skin conditions. Malassezia yeasts can cause seborrhoeic dermatitis and dandruff, as well as neonatal cephalic pustulosis and a range of other conditions.

Neonatal cephalic pustulosis doesn't usually need treatment, though a topical antifungal cream can be applied.

For more information on baby acne , click here. Rebecca's site also covers adult and teenage acne .

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