Why Are Babies So Cute? (And Other Burning Newborn Questions!)

Hair and Skin Issues

Why Do Babies Lose their Hair?

Most babies shed the hair they are born with in the first six months of life. This type of near-total hair loss, called telogen effluvium, is triggered by the drop in maternal hormones in baby's body in the weeks and months following birth. (Hormonal shifts may similarly cause moms to shed excess hair postpartum -- a temporary loss that's usually restored within a year.) The hair that grows back on baby's head may differ in color and texture from the crop she arrived with (so don't get attached to those golden ringlets or jet-black spikes just yet!). Babies may lose hair in patches as well, if, for example, their head repeatedly rubs in the same spot against the crib mattress. "Tight barrettes or headbands can also cause this sort of hair loss," says Dr. Shu.

Why Do Some Babies Get Acne?

Maternal hormones lingering in baby's body for the first few months after birth are the culprit, says Dr. Shu. Some 20 percent of babies develop acne -- with red pimples or whiteheads erupting on their cheeks, forehead, or chin -- at around 3 to 4 weeks. Fortunately, most babies' skin will clear by about the fourth month, requiring only gentle cleansing with plain water or a mild baby wash, says Dr. Shu. Avoid vigorous scrubbing, as well as lotions and perfumed soaps, which may make acne worse. In severe cases, doctors may recommend an over-the-counter or prescription medication, or an antibiotic if pimples become infected. But typically the acne will disappear as Mom's hormones leave baby's system.

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