This fine hair is called “lanugo.” It’s commonly produced during the last stage of pregnancy and most full-term babies are born with it. It tends to cover certain parts of the body, including the back, shoulders, ears, and forehead. The lanugo usually falls off during the first weeks of life but may remain for as long as a few months.
Most babies shed the excess hair within the first year. However, it is common to see two or three year olds with fine dark hair on their back, shoulders and arms especially if the child has a dusky complexion. Heredity also plays an important role. If other female members of your family have excess hair, it’s possible that your daughter has inherited the same.
Elders and well-meaning relatives may recommend home remedies such as applying Uptan (a paste of turmeric and gram flour) or a paste of wheat flour and yellow lentils in raw milk and rose water. Although these home remedies are in common practice, there is no scientific evidence to prove they really remove or retard hair growth. It is important to remember that raw milk can carry a host of bacteria and cause infections, such as diarrhoea, E. coli and salmonella. The gram flour or lentil paste is abrasive in nature and may cause skin allergies, rashes or even bruises. Besides, applying the paste and washing it off may be an experience your baby does not enjoy too much.
It is wise to keep a close watch on your baby’s health — especially any changes in hair growth patterns. If the hair gets thicker, longer or darker it could be a sign of a hormonal imbalance and you should see your doctor who may recommend your baby to an endocrinologist or paediatric dermatologist.