Why is there a poker (bristle) in newborns and how can it be removed?


The skin of a newborn baby is very delicate and thin. That is why the phrase “baby stubble” sounds rather strange. Whether there is such a pathology, how it manifests itself and how you can help the baby, we will tell in this article.

What it is?

“Shchetinka”, “stubble”, “poker”, “shchekotun” - this is how people call a very mysterious disease, in the existence of which humanity is still not sure. Even among the representatives of this very people there are supporters of the opinion that there is no such ailment, it is fictional. But there are also supporters of the opinion of the existence of the poker of newborns, hotly defending their point of view.

People call the bristle a condition of a newborn, in which the baby is restless, does not sleep well, cries a lot and for no apparent reason, arches the back while lying down. Grandmothers and great-grandmothers usually habitually state that the crumb has a “poker”, and they start giving newborn parents effective, in their opinion, advice on ridding the infant of suffering. However, this bristle is not always visible.

In this case, healers and traditional healers claim that short and prickly, hard hairs in a baby grow between the layers of the skin: the dermis and the epidermis. And because of the inability of the hair to reach the surface of the skin, the child is worried.

Sometimes the seta is really noticeable: it appears as dark spots on the skin, most often located in the shoulders, back, sides, legs and arms, less often on the ears. Folk "advisers" claim that it is possible to determine the "poker" by the roughness of the baby's skin, if you lightly hold it with a wet hand.

At different times, children with visible seta were considered special. Thus, in medieval Europe it was believed that the mother of such a child was engaged in witchcraft, and usually the poor woman ended her life at the stake. In Russia, right up to the end of the 18th century, it was believed that the mother of the child with a “poker” sinned and conceived a child in lust, a woman could be flooded for edification, and the child was tried to be taken to the bathhouse, hover and baptized as soon as possible so that the evil forces would not take away his pure soul.

Today, all these superstitions seem ridiculous and absurd, however, and with the existence of such a phenomenon as the bristle, there are also a lot of questions.

What do the doctor's say?

Traditional medicine categorically rejects the existence of a "poker", such a term you will not find in any reputable medical source. But everyone heard it, and most likely they are guessing what it was about. From the point of view of medicine, we are talking about lanugo - the very first hairs that appear in the fetus during its prenatal development.

As hair follicles form, they begin to work: thin and bleached hair grows. At the 12th week of pregnancy, the growth of lanugo starts and lasts until about 28 weeks. By this time, the baby’s body is almost completely covered with hair.

Lanugo - genetic memory from distant ancestors, a kind of atavism. But if you look closely at the development of a baby from the state of a fertilized egg, you can understand that in a few months he has been following an evolutionary path that humanity has been going through for hundreds of thousands of years. The tail, gills, fur - all this is inherent in the human cub during its prenatal development.

Lanugo needs a baby as protection.While his skin is very thin, and the subcutaneous fat is not yet formed, lanugo reliably holds the layer of original lubricant, which covers his body. As the subcutaneous fatty tissue grows, the need for a lanugo disappears, and the process of getting rid of it begins. The hairs fall out still in the womb, most often the process ends 2-3 weeks before the birth. But it happens that the baby is born with the remnants of lanugo, especially often this occurs in premature babies.

Lanugo in the newborn

By itself, the hair does not bother the child, does not affect his condition and development, and after about two weeks there is no trace of light lanugo hair. But it is precisely after this that the process of replacing the vellus hair with the real ones, which grow over the entire skin area of ​​absolutely every person, can be somewhat disturbed. The delayed and prolonged natural loss of lanugo sometimes disrupts the functioning of the hair follicles. This is the only more or less reasonable explanation for the appearance of a “bristle” in infants.

This condition is not considered a disease; the recommended treatment for it does not exist.

Opinion of Dr. Komarovsky

The famous pediatrician, whose opinion is listened to by hundreds of thousands of mothers in the world, believes that popular rumor somewhat exaggerates the harm from the infant bristle. Not in each case of the birth of a child with a lanugo then a seta will manifest, not in every case even a seta that appears will interfere with the child in any way. Even if absolutely nothing is done, both the lanugo and the bristle will disappear themselves.

Atavism is a property that was normal for distant ancestors, but is not considered the norm for this generation. The appearance of hair - “hello” from distant times, when the human body was covered with thick hair that protects it from cold, insects, animal bites.

There is nothing to worry about: congenital cases of total body hair are usually very rare genetic syndromes that occur in isolated cases. The excess, according to the parents, the hair on the body of the baby to such diseases usually have nothing to do.

Whether it is necessary to remove the seta, the question is ambiguous. From the point of view of medicine, it is not necessary, and sometimes even harmful, because unreasonable actions of parents can harm the baby more than the bristle symptoms described by mom and dad.

If you really want to bring dark points from the skin of the crumbs, parents can do this, but on condition that they act on the basis of the principle of rationality. First of all, parents need to make sure that the restless behavior of the child has no other reasons: hunger, pain, cold, heat.

If the child is fed, well-groomed, the room is not hot and not cold, if he is dressed in a vest made of natural fabrics, nothing annoys him or causes discomfort, and the crying continues, and even the called pediatrician cannot understand his reasons, you can try to remove the bristle , even if its symptoms do not appear. With rational actions, it will not cause harm to the child, and parents will immediately become much calmer and more comfortable.

How to get rid?

Since there is no provision for medications from such a phenomenon as a "poker", it is only the folk remedies that have been used to treat the hair spines. But for the beginning, folk healers suggest diagnosing: the baby is bathed and a few drops of breast milk are dripping onto the steamed skin in the bathroom after propping with a soft towel. It is believed that after this, the kid, suffering from the "poker", will surely show dark dots-thorns (they will be noticeable).

Folk healers have their own opinion on the need to treat the seta. They believe that this must be done, while traditional medicine denies the need for it.

The mind of the newly minted parents is arranged in such a way that it quickly “fails”, if the child shouts, bends, and needs to understand. Therefore, doing nothing is not our style.Parents who decide to fight the “bristle” of the baby, even if they do not know what it looks like, are recommended to choose the safest ways and methods for this.

One of these methods is bread. Mom needs to bake homemade bread, take a still warm crumb, roll a ball the size of a chicken egg out of it and roll it gently in circular movements on clean, steamed skin after the evening bathing in the back, arms, legs and crumbs. For the baby, it will be a light, gentle massage. For mom - reason to calm down.

The second popular way to get rid of "tickler" - the dough. In the first case, you need to prepare a steep and thick dough made from flour, vegetable oil and warm water, roll up the ball and massage the above-mentioned places with it after bathing. In the second case, the dough will need liquid, but its composition will remain the same: flour, warm water, a spoon of vegetable oil. Liquid, almost "pancake", the dough is coated with the baby, wrapped in a diaper and left for 15 minutes. It is believed that after this time, not only the dough will remain in the diaper, but also the hard hairs that have left the skin.

Another proven method that does not harm a child, either from the point of view of traditional medicine or from the point of view of non-traditional medicine, is a boiled chicken egg. A warm egg "rolls out" problem areas on the body of the infant in circular motions. The main thing - do not overdo it and do not attach to the skin of the crumbs too hot egg to prevent burns.

Many popular "advisers" strongly recommend that you steam your child in a bath, grease his skin generously with honey. Parents should understand that it is impossible to carry a baby in the bath and sauna: its thermoregulation is imperfect, it can easily overheat. And honey is the strongest allergen, which is not recommended even externally for children under 3 years old.

If you really want to treat, treat with dough and eggs, they will not be allergic and hyperthermia.

To get rid of the "bristle" you need to bathe the child every day, but soap should not be applied every day: it dries the baby’s skin very strongly, making them even thinner and vulnerable. It is necessary to bathe the child in warm water using a soft sponge.

What is forbidden to do?

The mention of Komarovsky and his pediatric colleagues about rationality is a non-empty warning. Unfortunately, often parents are too keen on popular advice in treating a child and can harm him.

With the "poker", if dark spots have already become noticeable, you should not try to remove the hair mechanically. You can not cut and shave them, use creams and peelings, which are used for mom depilation. Mechanical actions can cause injury to the hair follicles, the appearance of wounds, infection by pathogenic bacteria.

Wax and tar are not the best solution either. They can cause severe allergic reactions, including chemical burns.

Any attempts by parents to cut, pull out, pull hairs out of an infant's skin is a uniform mockery of the child, which causes pain to the child, causes fear, and also endangers the health of their skin in the future.

The most terrible advice that a young mother can get is to put butter on a child and wrap it in film for half an hour. Infant thermoregulation is weak, they give off heat easily and easily overheat. Such methods of "treatment" can be fatal, because hyperthermia can develop even before the end of the "therapy session."


According to the reviews of newly minted parents, they rarely encounter a bristle, they hear more about it, and these rumors are rather frightening. That is why many are beginning to look for the symptoms of this notorious "poker" in their children. This does not add peace to either the child or the nursing mother, who needs to keep the milk at all costs.

Those who noticed a bristle on the skin of their babies claim that bread crumb and thick elastic dough help very well.True, the procedure has to be repeated 3-4 times during the week: after the first “rolling out”, it is usually impossible to completely get rid of the dark spots on the baby’s skin.

Most young and modern parents do not believe too much in the scary stories and omens related to the infant seta. Representatives of the older generation by all means try to convince them.

Whether to treat a disease that does not exist is up to the parents themselves. If they are calmer, it can be treated, the main thing is that all participants should be fine in the end: the baby, his mother, father and, of course, his grandmother.

About what a poker (stubble) is in newborns and whether it needs to be treated, see the next video.

Information provided for reference purposes. Do not self-medicate. At the first symptoms of the disease, consult a doctor.