As neonates have a high sebum production compared with 6-month-old babies, we wished to investigate the relationship of sebum production in mother and neonate. The sebum excretion rate (SER) was therefore measured in 10 mothers prenatally, and in each mother and baby as soon after birth as possible, and again 5–12 weeks postnatally. There was a significant correlation between the maternal and neonatal SER perinatally. The perinatal SER in the babies was markedly higher than the postnatal sample. These observations suggest an important role for the maternal hormonal environment on the infant sebaceous glands. There is animal evidence which suggests that the endocrine environment of the neonate influences the sebaceous gland development in puberty, but it is not known whether babies with a high SER are more prone to seborrhoea and acne in later life.