Acne In Children At A Glance
- Best Results3-6 treatments
- Treatment Recovery0 days
- Procedure Time10 minutes LED therapy
- Skin SpecialistMedical Dermatologist
- Duration of ResultsMonths
- Back to WorkNot applicable
Acne in children
Acne or acne-like eruptions on the skin can occur in children of any age however it is very unusual for it to occur in children between the ages of 2 and 6 years. This period is often referred to as the acne-free zone because oil gland activity in the skin is at its lowest during this period.
In children, acne has two important ages of occurrence. Firstly, acne can occur from about 2 weeks of age. This is referred to as neonatal acne or more recently ‘neonatal cephalic pustulosis’. Secondly, acne may develop in older children, from about the age of 3-6 months. This is more commonly known as infantile acne & may persist until puberty.
FactsFacts on Acne in Children
- Occurs in more than 20% of healthy newborns
- Occurs from about 2 weeks of age
- Usually clears by about 3 months of age
- Most often affects the cheeks and nose
- Cause is not clear – certain types of yeast which grows on the skin (Malassezia) are thought to play a role
- May also be caused by high hormone levels in this age group acting upon sebaceous (oil) glands in the skin
- Often resolves without medical treatment
- Antifungal creams, lotions (ketoconazole) or benzoyl peroxide products are often effective treatment
- Severe cases may require systemic (tablet) treatment
What causes acne in children?
The cause of neonatal and infantile acne is unknown. In neonatal acne, certain types of yeast that live on the skin may be a cause. Hormones passed from the mother to the baby during the end of pregnancy may also be involved through their action on the oil glands in the skin.
Infantile acne likely has an inherited tendency. Generally, hormones are not thought to cause it. However, other medical problems associated with abnormal levels of hormones can amongst other things, cause acne in children.
In some cases, irritation from soaps, lotions, fabrics & food or milk can cause acne-like rashes on babies face. On occasion, medications and other illnesses can also play a role. Where cases of acne in babies and infants do not clear after a few weeks, review by a specialist Dermatologist is recommended.
In most babies with acne there is no need for investigations. In older children where it is suspected that there may be hormonal abnormalities, your specialist Dermatologist may perform some screening blood tests to look for various hormones and other tests.
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How is acne in children treated?
Neonatal acne generally clears up without treatment. This may take a few weeks. It generally does not cause scarring to the baby’s skin. Occasionally, an antifungal cream may be beneficial and may help speed up the resolution of the acne. Gentle soap free cleansers may also be helpful.
Infantile acne is generally treated in a similar way to teenager acne. Gentle soap free cleansers and non-comedogenic moisturisers are useful. Often, topical treatments such as creams and gels containing benzoyl peroxide or antibiotics are used. Occasionally, treatment with antibiotic tablets may be required, particularly where the acne is stubborn or severe. Antibiotics that are used include erythromycin & trimethoprim. Your specialist Dermatologist may need to use a special vitamin A drug called isotretinoin in extreme cases, particularly where there is a risk of scarring from the acne or it is not responding to other treatments.
If any underlying medical condition is identified in the screening tests ordered by your doctor, these must also be treated in order to adequately treat the child’s acne.
There is a risk that children with severe infantile acne may be more likely to develop acne at puberty. Talk to your medical dermatologist to discuss strategies to manage this should it occur.
Disclaimer: I do not manage acne as this is a medical condition. My colleagues @cutis_dermatology can assist. I do not provide advice as your child’s acne requires a formal confirmation before management.
How can acne scars be treated in children?
Acne in children can results in scars, however in many cases if acne is managed early and appropriately scarring can be minimised. Young skin has an amazing ability to heal and acne scaring is no exception.
Gentle LED or low level laser emission diodes & vascular lasers can remodel early acne scars & treat inflammatory acne. This form of acne scar treatment does not break the upper layers of the skin. Specialists recommend a series of 4 treatments. Downtime is less than 12-24 hours. This form of acne scar revision can be used in children over the age of 8. It is safe, and in the correct application, it is an effective method of acne scar revision. For patients in from 12 to 16, Tixel can be an effective modality to remodel acne scars.
How do I make an appointment to see an acne specialist?
Clinic Cutis has a team of consultant dermatologists and specialist nurses to diagnose, and treat all forms of acne and acne scarring.
If acne occurs under the age of 12, a Paediatric Dermatologist will help manage this condition. Dermatologists who see children include Dr Belle Cominos, Dr Shiva Baghei, & Dr Heba JIbreal.
A referral from your GP will entitle patients to claim a rebate from Medicare.
For more information on the referral process contact Cutis Dermatology.
Davin’s Viewpoint on acne management in children
These viewpoints are based upon medical dermatology. I elect not to practice medical treatments as I am procedural only.
One in children can be more distressing for the parent than the child, however as children reach their teenage years and are more self-conscious, treating acne at this stage is important. Most cases of childhood acne can be managed with a combination of creams containing Vitamin A and antibiotic lotions and gels. If acne is potentially scarring, treatments such as isotretinoin maybe considered in extreme & exceptional circumstances.
Early, safe and effective management of childhood acne can reduce or even prevent long term scarring. For an opinion on options, see my medical colleagues @cutis_dermatology
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