There’s Something About Coconut Oil: Evidence in Baby Acne
The onset of acne is usually puberty because fluctuations in hormones involved in reproductive maturity cause overproduction of sebum. Skin oil is the main cause of acne during puberty, so acne almost always starts to appear during a person’s teenage years.
If this is the case, why is it that at around three to four weeks of age, a baby breaks out in what appears to be acne?
What is Baby Acne?
Baby acne, also called Erythema Toxicum Neonatorum is a rash babies are born with that occurs during the first 28 days of birth (the neonatal period). This type of acne is pretty common in babies and generally goes away on its own.
The appearance of baby acne can in some ways be described as occuring during a baby’s peak stress period as the acne is usually correlated to frequent gas production and restlessness.
What Causes Baby Acne?
Baby acne is also due to stimulation of the oil glands due to hormones. However, the stimulation comes from the mother’s hormones crossing the placenta, rather than hormones produced by the baby itself. Basically, the baby’s body deals with its mother’s hormones in its body by producing acne. This crossing of hormones helps to build the baby’s immune system as well as mature its lungs.
Is a Baby with Acne Unhealthy?
Baby acne is pretty common among babies and usually goes away on its own. The condition appears in healthy babies and will probably stick around in fluctuating periods until the fourth to sixth months of age.
How To Treat Baby Acne
Baby acne will usually go away on its own. Simply make sure the area is cleaned with lukewarm water and don’t put any topical treatments on the baby’s skin. The condition will only remain until the mother’s hormones stop circulating in the baby’s bloodstream. The baby won’t produce hormones of its own that can cause a continuance of the acne.
If baby acne lasts more than 6 months, then you can consult a doctor and a topical treatment may be recommended.
Babies can suffer from a number of skin conditions, one of the most common being baby eczema. This looks like baby acne, but the spots are red, fluid-filled, and itchy. These will need to be treated with something topical.
Coconut Oil and Baby’s Skin
Although I said that baby acne will usually go away without treatment, there are certain conditions such as baby eczema that needs to be treated with a gentle, antiseptic, pure, and natural substance. This is not because the baby is a natural hippie, already demanding old school and organics.
Rather, a baby’s skin is extremely delicate and its immune system has not developed enough to be tested with the amount of toxic chemicals we’ve been exposed to for years.
If you read my previous post, The Big Debate: Is Coconut Oil Good for Acne?, you’ll figure out that I still have some reservations about using coconut oil for my adult acne on my adult face. However, reading about the benefits of coconut oil for baby skin makes me reconsider once again the question of whether coconut oil is a good treatment for skin diseases.
A Gentle Cure for Gentle Skin
One of the most beautiful things about a baby and young children in general is their flawless complexion. ‘Smooth as a baby’s bottom’ doesn’t exist for anything. A baby’s skin is perhaps the softest you could ever experience.
The maintenance of this type of skin is generally achieved with gentle, natural, products and one of these products is coconut oil. If we consider coconut oil to be a safe treatment for baby’s skin, can we apply that mentality to treating our own adult skin?
Coconut oil is great for a baby’s skin because it contains natural antiseptic properties, it is moisturizing and fast-absorbing, it contains tons and tons of rich nutrients (it is the only source of naturally-occuring lauric acid other than breast milk), and contains vitamin E- considered by some to be the holy grail of skin health.
Additionally, coconut oil is a natural product which means that you can find it in its pure form and 100% organic. Any skin product that you can find in this form is the highest quality product you could ever get.
Using Stuff That’s Good for Babies
We have this functional fixedness about pretty much everything in our environment, and especially concerning skin products, clothes, etc. This is a country of labels and if something says it’s for a ‘baby’, we automatically think that we should look in a different section.
I personally love baby products because I know that they are gentle and that I can trust them. For example, I always buy sunscreen labeled for babies because I know that it is made to protect extremely sensitive skin in a non-chemically laden fashion.
The same attitude should be used in choosing skin products. ‘Stronger’ cleansers and treatments can be too harsh on acne-prone skin and as I’ve said in many posts before, irritation causes acne.
But I understand where you’re coming from. I myself used to have this idea that because I had acne, my skin was ‘tough’ and could take anything. The reality is totally different. People with acne should view their skin as extremely sensitive and buy products accordingly.
In this case, there couldn’t be anything gentler and more effective than coconut oil.
So, what about yourself? Have you ever used the mentality behind protecting a baby’s skin to treat your own?
1. “Properties of Coconut Oil.” Organic Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. Nov. 2013.
2. “Patient.co.uk.” N.p., n.d. Web. Nov. 2013.