4 Effective Tips To Treat New Born Baby's Body Hair

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You may be surprised to see your newborn’s body hair if you are a first-time mom. A newborn’s skin is usually dry and flaky and not as plump and smooth as commercials portray. However, it does not remain like that for long. Your baby’s body hair may be a cause of concern only in a few exceptional cases. Otherwise, they are naturally shed in a few months. Read on if you wish to know more about the fine hair on your infant’s body. We also provide some tips to make the shedding process faster.

About Newborn Body Hair

The hair that you see on your newborn baby’s skin is called lanugo, a word derived from the Latin word lana, meaning wool (1).

  • The hair is fine, but clearly visible.
  • It mostly grows on the back, shoulders, forehead, ears and face of the child.
  • It starts developing at 18 to 20 weeks of gestation ( 2).
  • Premature babies are more likely to have such body hair.
  • The hair is shed naturally and it may take from between a few weeks to a few months to disappear.
  • Sometimes babies start shedding this hair while in the fetus, while others may be born with lanugo intact on their body.
Quick fact
Lanugo hair color can range from light to dark and is mainly determined by genetics (5).

Role Of Hair On Newborn Baby Body

There is a definite reason for the existence of body hair in newborn babies (2) (3).

  • Lanugo acts as a protection on the tender skin of your baby while she is in your womb.
  • It prevents any damage that can be caused by the amniotic fluid.
  • It also holds together the vernix caseosa a greasy wax-like layer that covers your child’s skin in the womb to keep it warm and moisturized. It also helps to facilitate easy passage through the bony cervix at the time of birth.
Quick fact
Lanugo protects the baby’s skin and helps them to maintain body temperature until they develop body fats to regulate temperature (5).

So, even if it does not look so nice, this initial body hair is advantageous to your little one.

Problems Related To Newborn Baby Body Hair

In some cases, body hair can be a cause for worry. This happens when the lanugo does not shed properly and develops into more prominent hair (4).

  • Such a condition happens when a child has congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), signifying that they lack a certain enzyme.
  • CAH causes reduction or lack of production of a hormone called cortisol or aldosterone.
  • This further leads to higher secretion of the male hormone androgen, which causes excessive hair growth.
  • This problem can occur in male and female babies.
  • CAH also causes low sodium in the blood, which can lead to improper functioning of the heart.

What If Body Hair Does Not Disappear?

If your baby has not shed the initial hair within a maximum period of six months, or is developing darker hair, then you must consult a doctor.

  • Because of the problems related to CAH, its timely treatment is necessary.
  • Children with CAH are generally administered the required hormones externally to maintain a balance and prevent any serious condition (4).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do some babies come out hairy?

The exact reason why some babies are hairy is unknown. However, genes or DNA might be responsible for the hair growth on a baby’s body.

2. How long does it take for lanugo to fall off?

For most babies, lanugo disappears within the first two months of life. However, even after two months, some hair may be on their ears, neck, or tailbone. It is not a cause for concern in most cases (5).

For most new parents, it could be surprising to witness their newborn baby’s body hair. However, while it is not a common phenomenon, sometimes babies have considerable body hair after birth. You may have to wait for a few weeks for the hair to shed off. Also, it could be replaced by fine hair. Though your baby’s body hair is seldom a cause of concern, in some cases, the hair could develop prominently and may not shed with time. If you encounter such a situation, you may contact your baby’s pediatrician, who could comprehend its reason and suggest an appropriate remedy.

Infographic: Benefits And Drawbacks Of Newborn Baby’s Body Hair

Newborn baby body hair, also known as lanugo, is a fine, downy hair covering the fetus’ skin during the later stages of gestation and after birth. While there are several benefits of newborn body hair, if it does not shed for too long after birth, it can also lead to some complications. So, scroll through the infographic below to learn the advantages and disadvantages of newborn body hair.

pros and cons of newborn baby's body hair [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

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