What Is Baby Acne
When your newborn baby is around 2 to 5 weeks old you may start to see small pimples on his face, usually on his cheeks, nose, eyelids, chin, and/or forehead. Baby acne is also referred to as neonatal acne and is commonâabout 3 in 10 babies get it.Experts are not exactly sure what causes baby acne, but it could be due to one of the following:
An inflammation caused by yeast on your baby’s skin
Overstimulated oil glands in your baby’s skin caused by coming into contact with hormones in the placenta during your pregnancy.
Baby acne has nothing to do with the type of acne that a teenager may experience.
How To Get Rid Of Baby Acne: What All Parents Should Know
If youre wondering how to get rid of baby acne, you are not alone.
In this article, well go through the different types of baby acne, whats causing them, how to treat baby acne, what not to do, and also what other skin conditions may mimic baby acne.
Skin problems are one of many concerns parents may have about their newborn baby. They worry whether or not there will be skin sensitivities, dryness, or rashes.
Just when the routine of feeding, sleeping, and diaper changes has been established, red spots begin to develop on the babys cheeks. Instead of fading within a few days, they spread and start to resemble acne. This can be very worrisome for parents, conjuring up images of adolescents with cystic acne and scarring.
Fortunately, the majority of infants do not experience a level of severity. Most baby acne is a very different entity.
How Is Infantile Acne Treated
Although most cases of infantile acne resolve over time, it might be necessary for your doctor to prescribe medication.
Products containing benzoyl peroxide or topical retinoids are often prescribed for mild to moderate cases of infantile acne. Theyre usually applied directly to your baby’s skin.
Antibiotics are prescribed for mild acne that is inflammatory. The antibiotics come in the form of cream, and its applied to the skin. Antibiotics are used to treat severe acne too, but these are usually taken by mouth. Multiple medications may be prescribed at once.
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Caring For Acne On Your Babys Skin
If your baby has acne, dermatologists recommend that you:
Never put acne medicine or acne wash on your babys skin, unless your childs dermatologist or pediatrician recommends it.
Be very gentle with your babys skin, and avoid scrubbing the acne.
Wash your babys skin with lukewarm water.
Stop using any oily or greasy skin care products.
When To Seek Medical Advice
If your baby has a case of neonatal acne happening before six weeks, there shouldnt be a need to worry. You can follow some of the treatments above and it will no doubt run its course. But of course, always consult your pediatrician if youre in doubt.
Specialists recommend you seek medical advice if your baby develops acne after six weeks of age. This is generally to implement the right treatment to prevent scarring. Doctors will usually treat it with topical creams and oral medicines .
However, sometimes, infantile acne could be an indicator of a health issue in your baby. Your doctor might carry out blood tests or an X-ray to eliminate other conditions.
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Dress Your Baby Carefully
Babies have super delicate skin thats intolerant and easily irritated. This is normal and nothing to be concerned about. Just be sure to dress your baby in soft, loose-fitting clothing so that you dont cause their baby acne to flare up.
Its also best to use baby-friendly, hypoallergenic laundry detergents to wash your babys clothes, sheets, and blankets. This will protect your little ones skin from any irritating chemicals that ordinary detergents may contain.
For bedtime, try Mustelas Stelatopia Skin Soothing Pajamas to relieve skin discomfort. These pajamas will also reduce your little ones desire to pick at their acne. Youll be relieved knowing that your little one is clothed in material thats hypoallergenic, free of parabens and phenoxyethanol, and made with 100 percent natural ingredients.
How To Prevent Baby Acne
While its impossible to prevent neonatal acne, the newborn period is the best time to develop smart infant skin care habits, which can help prevent future rashes, infant acne and skin issues. Even if baby was lucky enough to be born with silky-smooth skin, many of the strategies used to treat baby acne can also help prevent it:
Go fragrance free. The chemicals that make up artificial fragrances can irritate babys sensitive skin. Try hypoallergenic products, including lotions, shampoos and laundry detergents, when possible, to help prevent newborn acne.
Wash, dont scrub. Scrubbing can cause further irritation and make matters worse. Instead, gently wipe and pat babys skin dry to help prevent baby acne on the face.
Bathe baby regularly. For older, active infants, dirt and oil can get trapped in pores and exacerbate breakouts, just like with adults, so giving baby frequent baths can help minimize the possibility of breakouts.
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How Is Baby Acne Treated
Baby acne usually disappears without treatment.
Some babies have acne that lingers for months instead of weeks. To treat this stubborn form of baby acne, your babys pediatrician may prescribe a medicated cream or ointment that helps clear up the acne.
Dont use OTC acne treatments, face washes, or lotions. Your babys skin is very sensitive at this young age. You might make the acne worse or cause additional skin irritation by using something thats too strong.
Do I Need To See A Doctor About Baby Acne
Usually, you wont need to see a doctor about baby acne. However, you may want to see a doctor if baby’s acne lasts for several months. Your doctor may prescribe a treatment to help clear babys acne.
The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends seeing a doctor if baby acne begins when baby is over 6 weeks old. This is much less common than neonatal acne. It may be a sign of another health problem, or a sign that a product youre using is irritating the skin on babys face. Or, what is thought to be acne at this stage might not be acne at all.
If it is acne, though, and develops after six weeks of age, its known as infantile acne . Infantile acne usually appears between 3 and 6 months of age. Unlike neonatal acne, it can sometimes cause blackheads, and could potentially cause a scar. But fortunately, this type of acne often clears up on its own as well .
You should also see a doctor if your babys acne seems infected. Excessive swelling, excessive redness, discharge, and fever may be signs of infection.
And of course, if you suspect that babys facial rash is caused by eczema or an allergy , be sure to let your doctor know.
All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your babys health.
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When To See The Pediatrician About Baby Acne
Generally speaking, theres no need to see your pediatrician specifically for baby acne. If youre concerned about trying to prevent or get rid of baby acne on the face, or youre not sure whether its infant acne or something else, its never a bad idea to discuss it with babys pediatrician. It can be reassuring to find out exactly whats going on with babys skin and, in the case of baby acne, to hear directly from the doctor that its truly nothing to be concerned about.
About the experts:
Katie Pyle, DO, is a pediatrician at UCHealth Pediatric Care Clinic in Firestone, Colorado, with a clinical interest in newborn care. She earned her medical degree from Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Meagan ONeill, MD, is a pediatrician with Riley Childrens Health in Indianapolis. She earned her medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis.
Omar Baker, MD, FAAP, is an assistant clinical professor in the department of pediatrics at Columbia University and co-president of Riverside Medical Group in Northern New Jersey. He earned his medical degree from George Washington University.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
How Long Will My Babys Acne Last
The duration will depend on the type your baby has. Neonatal acne generally runs its course before four months of age. This type usually doesnt leave any scarring or marks later on.
Infantile acne, however, can be more persistent. Sometimes it can last up to two years, if not more. This may require treatment, especially if it seems tenacious it can also leave scarring if not treated properly .
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What Can I Do To Treat Baby Acne
Baby acne typically clears on its own and treatment is more a matter of taking good care of your babys skin while they have it. Best practices include washing your babys face with lukewarm water and mild baby soap daily, followed by a gentle pat dry. Never pinch or scrub the acne and avoid lotions or oils unless your pediatrician or dermatologist recommends them.
While some natural remedies like coconut oil, dietary changes and breast milk have been reported to help with baby acne inflammation, it goes without saying that its essential to consult with your pediatrician before trying any treatment.
Try A Scent And Color Free Detergent
The best way to treat baby acne is to prevent it from developing. Sometimes the harsh chemicals and additives found in our detergents can remain in clothes and bedding. If your baby already has sensitive skin, it could cause, or worsen, the acne.
Avoid using these products and, instead, opt for scent and color free detergent. These are natural and much milder for your babys skin.
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Newborn Baby Acne Treatment
Want to know how to treat newborn baby acne? Well, newborn baby acne usually clears up on its own after a few weeks but there are some things you can do to help it along.
Keep your babys face clean with cooled boiled water or WaterWipes vegan, cruelty-free and sensitive baby wet wipes.
Always gently pat babys skin when drying.
If youre breastfeeding, try softly dabbing breastmilk on the spots. Lots of mums swear by it.
Do not use acne creams intended for older children and adults or harsh products generally.
A final tip for treating newborn acne: Try not to pick or scratch the acne itll disappear when its ready.
If the problem persists or is severe, ask your doctor about prescription or over-the-counter medication that might help.
Interesting fact: Newborn baby acne is also known as neonatal acne.
Change In Diet Of Nursing Mothers
To clear up your babys skin, you would have to make some sacrifices. Change your diet and stop drinking dandelion tea, cut down on dairy products, sugar and citrus fruits. These food items can have negative effects on a babys skin. Reduce your intake of anything too sweet or sour and you will find your babys acne automatically starts subsiding.
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How Do I Know It’s Acne And Not Something Else
If you notice red bumps on your babys face or body after six weeks of age, you may be dealing with a skin infection, eczema, or cows milk allergy. Telltale signs of these conditions include inflammation and areas of dry or cracked skin, as well as extreme fussiness, excessive spit-up or even fever. The bumps may itch, ooze, and crust over, or feel like dry, scaly skin.
Rash-like red bumps could also be a reaction to an ointment or oil used in a skincare product youre using, while white bumps appearing on the forehead, cheeks or near your babys mouth are often confused with milia, dead skin cells trapped in small pockets on the skins surface. Similar to neonatal acne, milia will typically clear on their own within a matter of weeks.
To be sure, the AADA recommends a skin exam by a board-certified dermatologist and, in certain extreme circumstances, a blood test or x-ray to rule out any serious conditions.
What Causes Newborn Baby Acne
Doctors dont know for sure why newborn baby acne develops but one of the most popular theories for the cause of newborn acne is that hormones passed from mother to baby through the placenta and also breastmilk are to blame.
These hormones aggravate the sebaceous glands causing pimples to break out on the newborns face, usually on the cheeks, nose and forehead, but sometimes on babys neck, back and chest too.
Interesting fact: Newborn baby acne is more common in boys.
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Infantile Acne Starts Later After Six Weeks Of Age
Unlike newborn acne, infantile acne features whiteheads, blackheads, or reddish pimples. If the acne is mild, you can expect it to resolve itself in one to two years with no treatment.
However, if the acne is more severe your infant may need medical treatment. If medication is needed, a doctor might prescribe a medicated cream or gel, that contains benzoyl peroxide to apply on the skin. Or an oral antibiotic, like erythromycin, might be used to manage the acne and prevent scarring.
Although it’s not dangerous to your baby’s immediate physical health, “occasionally, infantile acne may present with cysts which may lead to long term scarring if left untreated,” Gagin says. Moreover, multiple studies report that babies who experience infantile acne have a higher risk of developing severe acne later in life, like during adolescence.
Baby Acne Remedy: Simple And Effective
baby acne can look SO painful. Its very hard to look at and I felt self conscious letting anyone look at him, like Id done it to him and somehow it was my fault.
T had it SO BAD. Like so bad. It made me cringe. I freaked out, Googling like crazy. I read all kinds of things that made me incredibly confused and scared that it was only gonna get worse no matter what I did.
I learned it has to do with hormones, especially if youre breastfeeding, your hormone changes can cause symptoms in baby.
I ended up taking T in and got amazing advice from my pediatrician. I did what she said and the acne was gone in a week!!
I will say first it LOOKS way more painful than it actually is. It doesnt bother them much at all! It def bothers us more than it does them.
Lets get to it:
1. Stop washing their faces!! No water. I repeat: NO WATER.
Newborns have very sensitive skin, but they also have important oils that need to exist in order for their skin to stay hydrated. They arent like us- its not good for them to have their faces washed super often. Baths should be about once a week at this point, or even less.
The first thing I did was stop putting water on his face. If it seemed dirty from spit up or anything else, I dabbed it with a wet washcloth.
Now, I am a crunchy mom. Ill admit it.
Aquaphor does have petrolatum in it, which I dont love, but it worked like a frickin CHARM. I put this on 2-3x a day, and it was gone within a week.
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Vinegar Treatment For Baby Acne
Vinegar is a great treatment to cure baby acne. It is supposed to kill the bacteria present on the skin and soak up unwanted oil. There are pre-made vinegars for baby acne available readily in the market. You can buy those or make your own solution at home. Since a babys skin is very delicate and sensitive, remember never to use concentrated vinegar. It will burn your babys skin. Mix one part vinegar in ten parts water and use a cotton ball to dab this solution on the affected area.
Dont apply this solution on to the babys complete face right away. Instead first apply it on the inner part of the babys wrist to see whether your baby reacts adversely. If the skin turns red or inflamed, do not use this home remedy on your baby.
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Keep Babys Face Clean
Any residue present on your babys face can cause irritation and make the acne worse. Whether its vomit, or simply spit up milk, make sure you wipe it off.
With some lukewarm water and a cotton pad, proceed to wash your babys face gently. You can apply some hypoallergenic soap or a soap-free cleanser which is less irritating to the skin.
Avoid using a coarse washcloth on your babys face.
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What Does The Rash Of Erythema Toxicum Neonatorum Look Like
The rash of ETN generally looks like red blotches, mainly affecting the face and body . It does occur on the arms and legs too .
Little, raised spots called papules are common. Sometimes there will be little pus-filled spots or fluid-filled small blisters . There may be many spots or very few. The different spots vary in size. The spots blanch with light pressure. This means that they become pale and fade when pressed. The rash can be temporary and sometimes individual spots can disappear within hours while new ones will appear somewhere else.
The baby appears well and the rash does not seem to cause any bother.
Note: if there is any doubt as to the cause of a skin rash in any baby or child, it is essential that you seek medical advice and a firm diagnosis. This is especially important if your baby seems unwell in any way. For example, if your baby has a temperature , is not feeding, is lacking in energy or is inconsolable and not the same as normal. Other rashes can occur in babies and may be the sign of serious illness.