Lanugo: A-to-Z Guide from Diagnosis to Treatment to Prevention

Before birth, a baby is covered with fine soft lanugo hair over most of the body – except palms, soles, lips, penis, nails, sides of the fingers and toes, .

Before birth, a baby is covered with lanugo, a fine soft hair over most of the body – everywhere except the palms, soles, lips, penis, nails, and the sides of the fingers and toes.

What is it?

This soft prenatal hair is called lanugo hair. Most of the time, most of this hair is shed during the 7th or 8th month of pregnancy. Sometimes it is still present for a few months after birth, especially in babies born early.

Who gets it?

Anyone can be born with lanugo hair – especially babies born before their due dates. Sometimes lanugo hair after birth runs in families.

It can also be seen in children or adolescents with anorexia nervosa.

What are the symptoms?

Soft fine hair is seen, especially on the face, trunk, or limbs.

Is it contagious?


How long does it last?

Parents are concerned that this hair will stay. Lanugo hair is shed, never to return, within weeks.

How is it diagnosed?

Lanugo hair is recognized by its appearance and location.

How is it treated?

No treatment is necessary. Some advocate rubbing the hair to speed its shedding. However, this reminder that your baby is in the fleeting newborn period will soon disappear with no treatment.

How can it be prevented?

No prevention is necessary.

Last medical review on: October 17, 2013
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Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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