Treatment of the milk crust and neonatal acne

The milk crust and neonatal acne are skin conditions that occur early, virtually from birth.

The milk crust mainly affects the scalp of the newborn. However, it can extend to the face, mainly to the area of ​​the center of the face and to the folds around the nose, behind the ears, the neck, the navel, the armpits or the groin.

The milk crust It is a rash characterized by reddish spots with a well defined edge. They may be covered with a yellowish, greasy-looking peeling. The scales do not produce pain or itching and, although they can be difficult to remove, they are benign and usually disappear by themselves.

Causes of the milk crust

The exact cause of the appearance of the milk crust is not known. One of the possible causes is that the sebaceous glands of the scalp of the baby produce an excess of sebum.

Another possible cause, although not entirely confirmed in children, could be an increase in the population of some microorganisms who usually live on the skin. Such is the case of a type of yeast (fungus) called Malassezia.

Another factor that may be involved is the genetic predisposition, but it has not been sufficiently studied. In any case, the milk crust is not contagious or dangerous and neither does it have an allergic origin nor does it cause a lack of hygiene.

Treatment of the milk crust

The prognosis of the milk crust is good and it can be cured by itself, so the treatment should not be aggressive. The Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEPED) recommends the following options for its treatment:

  • Topical corticosteroids: topical corticosteroids of moderate potency are the treatment of choice. In a few days, they are very effective.
  • Keratolytics: Salicylic vaseline at 3% or 5% can be applied to dilute the scales. You can also apply oily substances such as olive oil; they are left to act for one or two hours and then they are removed. Then, a corticoid cream of medium potency can be applied.
  • Shampoos: Shampoos with sulfur, zinc pyrithione or breasts may also be useful, although it is advisable to individualize the treatment because they can potentially be irritating to the infant's skin.
  • Antifungals: given the role of some fungi in this condition, they can be used, either in cream or shampoo, depending on the location of the lesions. Its action is usually slower than that of topical corticosteroids.
  • Oral corticosteroids: in very generalized and severe cases, corticoids can be used orally.

You may also be interested: What are antifungal medications and what are they for?

Hygienic measures

Lotions, gels, non-fatliquors or specific emulsions can be applied to the baby. These products can help reduce excess sebum and inflammation. In this way, the redness diminishes, the skin calms down and the scales flake off.

To apply it correctly, the following guidelines must be followed:

  • Apply a small amount on the baby's scalp. In case of facial seborrheic dermatitis, it can also be used on affected areas of the face. Then gently massage the area with your fingers.
  • Wash with a mild baby shampoo and rinse thoroughly, so that there are no remains of the product.

It is important to avoid scratching to reduce the danger of infection, since, in this case, it may become necessary to take antibiotics.

Neonatal acne and its treatment

Neonatal acne is a condition that can develop during the first two weeks after birth. It consists of the appearance of red pimples on the face, especially on the cheeks, forehead, chin and, occasionally, also on the back.

Both the skin of the granites and the surrounding area becomes red. This phenomenon can get worse with heat or when the baby is nervous. Neonatal acne usually disappears without any dermatological treatment a few months after it appears.

Read also: Skin care in babies

Hygienic recommendations to treat neonatal acne

The following tips They can be useful to take care of the baby's skin while the acne lasts:

  • Keep the baby's face clean: To do this, wash the baby's face daily with warm water and mild baby soap.
  • Dry gently: Dry the skin of the baby with soft touches.
  • Do not squeeze or rub the area affected by acne, you can cause more irritation or infection.
  • Avoid using lotions or oils in the face of the baby.