Clinical and therapeutic approach to childhood acne: an update

Pediatr Dermatol. Jul-Aug 2009;26(4):373-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.2009.00932.x.


There is a limited literature reporting on acne in childhood. Childhood acne can be classified in neonatal, infantile, mid-childhood, and prepubertal acne, depending on the age of onset. In this review we will present an update on the clinical approach and therapeutic options when facing prepubertal acne in a child. The use of tetracyclines is contraindicated in children younger than 8 years, and oral isotretinoin is not recommended in children younger than 12 years of age according to the FDA and the European Commission. Nevertheless, there are case reports of 10 patients successfully treated with oral isotretinoin for recalcitrant infantile acne with scarring. Further studies are needed to investigate whether isotretinoin may improve the long-term prognosis of infantile acne, which may be associated with more severe acne in adolescence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications
  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Acne Vulgaris / etiology*
  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Administration, Oral
  • Age of Onset
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Contraindications
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Isotretinoin / administration & dosage
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tetracyclines / therapeutic use


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Tetracyclines
  • Isotretinoin