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What Is Lanugo?

What Is Lanugo?

Lanugo is a particular sort of physique hair discovered on new child infants. The sight of a child lined in hair might be distressing, however it’s completely regular. Not all infants are born with lanugo, however all of them have been coated with it within the womb. The hair often goes away earlier than beginning, however typically it sticks round till a child is born and even for just a few months after.

Most frequently, this tender, downy hair seems on preemies, however full-term newborns are typically born with lanugo, too. Whereas it may be a shock for folks to see, it isn’t a trigger for concern. Be taught extra about why this child hair is there, how lengthy earlier than it sometimes goes away, and when, in uncommon situations, it may very well be an indication of an issue. 

Why It is Necessary

Lanugo is a part of an essential developmental stage to your child. The time period lanugo comes from the Latin phrase “lana” which implies wool. This physique hair seems to have many capabilities and researchers are persevering with to review it and be taught extra about what it does.

Lanugo is the primary hair that grows out of your child’s hair follicles whereas they’re nonetheless creating within the womb.

What we all know is that infants lose their lanugo whereas they’re nonetheless within the womb, or shortly thereafter. It falls off into the amniotic fluid. Infants drink that fluid—together with no matter else is floating in it. After the infant takes within the lanugo, it should make its approach by their system and grow to be a part of their first poop (meconium). 

It is thought that the essential capabilities of lanugo embrace the next:

Pores and skin Safety

Within the womb, a thick, white, greasy substance known as vernix caseosa coats your child’s pores and skin, offering a barrier to guard them from the amniotic fluid that surrounds them within the womb. Lanugo sticks to the vernix to assist it keep in place on the pores and skin. If the vernix didn’t have the hair to cling to, it may slide off the infant’s physique.

As your child will get nearer to their due date (40 weeks), they’ll have much less lanugo, much less vernix, and fewer safety towards the consequences of floating in amniotic fluid. You may usually see these results when a child is overdue, as they have an inclination to have wrinkly, peeling pores and skin.

Temperature Regulation

Your child doesn’t begin to placed on important weight or develop a layer of fats to maintain them heat till the previous couple of months of being pregnant. The expansion of lanugo is believed to play a job in serving to them regulate temperature, maintain in warmth, and preserve heat contained in the womb.  

Hormonal Regulation

One other concept is that the motion of lanugo in your child’s pores and skin would possibly play a job within the launch of hormones that scale back stress and stimulate their development contained in the womb.

What to Look For

Lanugo could seem like white or darkish hair, or it might not have any pigment or colour in any respect. You would possibly be capable to see and really feel lanugo in your child’s again, shoulders, arms, brow, and cheeks. The hair could also be sparse and minimal or extra widespread. It may happen in only a few spots or coat many of the physique.

The hair might be discovered wherever on the physique aside from the elements that would not have hair follicles—such because the lips, palms of the fingers, soles of the toes, sides of the fingers and toes, genitals, and nails. 

Number of Look

Lanugo will present up in another way in several infants. Relying on the size of your being pregnant it may be absent or ample. Your loved ones’s genetics can even play a job, making the hair lighter or darker. Listed here are just a few methods lanugo would possibly seem.

Genetic Components

Lanugo is likely to be gentle or don’t have any colour in infants with lighter pores and skin. Infants with darker complexions are inclined to have darker hair and, due to this fact, darker lanugo. The darkish colour of the hair could make it extra noticeable. 

Overdue (Publish-term)

Infants born after 42 weeks don’t often have any seen lanugo. 


Infants are inclined to shed their lanugo the nearer they get to being full-term. If a child is born early (earlier than 37 weeks), they might have a variety of lanugo that takes time to go away.

Time period Infants

A time period new child (37 to 42 weeks) could or could not have seen lanugo. Lanugo is current in as much as 30% of full-term newborns. 


Lanugo begins to indicate up in your child’s pores and skin across the fourth or fifth month of your being pregnant (by about 16 to twenty weeks gestation). At roughly 28 weeks, the lanugo is at its most ample. After this level, a child’s layer of lanugo often begins to shed. Starting after the seventh or eighth month of being pregnant, there’ll sometimes be progressively much less and fewer of the hair till all of it disappears.

In case your youngster is born with lanugo, it should probably fall out and go away by itself inside just a few weeks. Nonetheless, it is regular for it to last more, particularly in case your child is a preemie.

Many full-term infants lose all their lanugo earlier than they’re born, however some don’t. Whether or not your child’s lanugo falls out earlier than or after they’re born, it should ultimately go away. When it does, one other sort of hair will develop as a substitute. The brand new hair is named vellus hair.

Vellus hair is just like lanugo however thinner and never as noticeable. This hair will cowl your child’s physique all through childhood. Lanugo and vellus hair usually are not the identical because the hair on the pinnacle or the hair that develops throughout puberty (terminal hair).


You do not have to do something particular to deal with the lanugo in your untimely child or new child, however the next suggestions will assist you take care of your child’s physique hair.

Be Affected person

Time is the very best remedy for new child lanugo. Depart your child’s hair alone and it’ll ultimately disappear. In just a few days or perhaps weeks, your new child ought to lose lanugo—but when it lasts longer, that may nonetheless be regular.

Don’t Use Hair Removers

Don’t wax, shave, or use a physique hair remover to eliminate your child’s lanugo. These merchandise usually are not protected for infants and will hurt their delicate pores and skin.

Strive Light Therapeutic massage

Massaging the world of pores and skin very gently with delicate child oil would possibly assist expedite lanugo falling out, however use excessive care to forestall damaging your child’s pores and skin. Solely use merchandise that won’t irritate your child’s pores and skin or eyes.  

Discuss to the Physician

Your physician or your child’s pediatrician can reply your questions and reassure you that, extra doubtless than not, the hair is nothing to fret about and can go away by itself.

When to Fear

It is common to see lanugo on newborns, however as soon as it goes away within the weeks or months after beginning, it mustn’t develop again. The event of lanugo after the new child interval or later in life generally is a signal of a number of medical circumstances, together with the next:

Excessive Malnourishment

Lanugo can point out poor vitamin—often to the purpose of hunger. This state is likely to be brought on by consuming problems resembling anorexia or different circumstances that trigger extreme weight reduction. Lanugo develops when somebody doesn’t have sufficient physique fats to maintain them heat. A layer of sentimental, downy hair grows to guard and insulate the physique. As soon as an individual’s dietary standing improves, lanugo ought to go away.

Genetic Dysfunction

Hypertrichosis Lanuginosa is a uncommon genetic dysfunction that causes extreme development of lanugo or lanugo-like hair. An toddler might be born with the situation or it could actually develop later in life. The uncommon dysfunction is usually known as “wolfman” or “werewolf syndrome.” When it develops later in life, the dysfunction is usually triggered by a well being situation, consuming dysfunction, or the aspect impact of a drugs. 

Different Well being Issues

Research have proven that, though uncommon, lanugo generally is a signal of sure well being circumstances, together with most cancers, endocrine problems, or metabolic problems.

A Phrase From Verywell

Lanugo is a pure a part of fetal improvement, and it is completely regular in case your child is born with this tender physique hair. Don’t fret, it sometimes disappears after the new child stage, but when your child’s lanugo lingers past just a few months, ask your pediatrician. If lanugo develops on an older youngster, teenager, or grownup, discuss to your physician. It may point out a critical well being downside that wants remedy. 

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