Is It Baby Acne Or A Rash
While its possible to confuse infant acne with that other common newborn skin condition, milia, the two arent the same. Baby acne looks like red pimples, while milia are tiny white bumps or whiteheads. But you need to treat both conditions the same: with washing, watching and waiting.
There are also a number of skin rashes and other skin conditions in newborn babies which, unlike newborn acne, are often itchy and uncomfortable for your little one and tend to spread beyond the face. A few of the most common:
- Baby heat rash: These clusters of tiny, moist, red bumps look similar to acne and often appear on babys arms, legs, upper chest and diaper area in addition to her face when its hot outside.
- Diaper rash: This rash caused by moisture, irritants and too little air appears as red, irritated skin in babys diaper area.
- Cradle cap: Also called seborrheic dermatitis, these tiny red bumps are smaller than acne and may be accompanied by yellow, flaky skin that looks like scales. While it usually appears on the head, it may spread to the eyebrows and upper body too.
- Infant eczema: Skin appears dry, flaky and red, usually in patches around the cheeks and on the scalp. The rash then spreads, often to elbow creases and behind the knees, and progresses to fluid-filled pimples that pop. If eczema is not treated, it can lead to scabbing and oozing.
What Are The Symptoms
Fleshy or red pimples occur predominantly on the cheeks, but are also quite common on the forehead and chin. Whiteheads are sometimes present.
The acne will be most prominent when the baby is hot or fussy , or when the skin is irritated. If the skin comes into contact with cloth laundered in harsh detergents, or becomes wet from spit-up saliva or milk, the condition may appear worse for several days.
How Long Does Newborn Baby Acne Last
Newborn baby acne usually only lasts a few days, and in the vast majority of cases is completely gone within two weeks. Sometimes spots can appear only to disappear a few hours later and sometimes they will stick around for three to four months. Recurrences can happen but are generally very mild.
It sounds awful, I know, but when my baby first developed the acne all I could think once I knew it was nothing to worry about was, Oh no, shes not perfect anymore. What will people say? Of course, nobody said anything. Well, nothing unkind anyway. If I brought it up , they just shared stories of their own childs ailments, from newborn baby eczema to newborn baby cradle cap, and how theyd also been a mix of concerned and embarrassed which actually really helped and made me feel less like a Disney villain.
Sarah, mother to Molly, 1
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How To Treat Baby Acne
There are no treatments or natural, at-home remedies for clearing up baby acneâyou will just have to wait for it to go away on its own.
In the meantime, hereâs how you can care for your baby’s delicate skin:
Place a soft, clean blanket under your babyâs head when theyâre awake to shield their skin from any laundry detergent residue on sheets or clothing
Ensure that your baby’s bed sheets and clothing haven’t been washed with harsh laundry detergents
Maintain proper hygiene by gently washing your little one’s face every day with warm water and a mild baby soap and pat it dry
Avoid irritating the acne by pinching or scrubbing the pimples as this may cause more harm or even lead to an infection. Avoid moisturizing their face with lotions or oils.
Is Baby Acne Normal
First off, yes! Dont worry. Baby acne is quite common among infants.
Newborns still have many maternal hormones circulating in their system in the first few weeks following birth. These hormones can cause pimples to develop on the face . Its not uncommon to see baby acne on the chest, neck or back, too.
Before you blame yourself, Mom, its worth mentioning that baby acne isnt only caused by maternal hormones. Because the pores in your newborns skin arent completely developed, your baby may be susceptible to developing acne caused by some other external irritant.
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Why Theres No Need To Be Concerned About Newborn Baby Acne
While red blotches on your babys previously perfect skin might seem like cause for alarm, newborn baby acne really is nothing to worry about. It affects up to half of babies, clears up on its own in almost all cases, and leaves no scars or marks. It also doesnt harm your baby. In fact, theyll feel no ill effects whatsoever.
If your baby develops spots or a rash and youre not sure what it is, always speak to your GP, midwife or health visitor. If your baby seems unwell and has other symptoms, such as a fever, go straight to your GP.
If you found our newborn baby acne article useful and feel more confident about what it looks like, what it is, what causes it and treatment check out our other skin related articles on our Parenting Community below:
What Causes Baby Acne
Believe it or not, as with adolescent acne, hormones are believed to be mainly to blame. In the case of newborns, however, its not their own hormones that are probably prompting the pimple problems, but Mom’s which are still circulating in baby’s bloodstream as a holdover from pregnancy. These maternal hormones stimulate baby’s sluggish oil-producing glands, causing pimples to pop up on the chin, forehead, eyelids and cheeks, and, sometimes, the head, neck, back and upper chest.
What’s more, the pores in a baby’s skin are not yet fully developed, making them easy targets for infiltration by dirt and the blossoming of blemishes. And babies typically have very sensitive skin some more than others which can also be a factor.
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Newborn Acne Is Generally Nothing To Worry About
About 20% of newborns have a type of acne called neonatal acne. Youll usually see it at about 2 weeks of age. However, it can develop any time before 6 weeks of age. Sometimes, a baby is born with acne.
If your newborn has acne, youll usually see breakouts on your babys cheeks and nose. Acne can also appear on a babys forehead, chin, scalp, neck, back, or chest.
Neonatal acne is generally nothing to worry about. It rarely causes a scar and tends to go away on its own in a few weeks to months.
When Should You See Your Babys Healthcare Provider
So, when is baby acne a concern? If anything about your baby’s complexion seems out of the ordinary, or if the condition isn’t getting better after three to four months, consult your baby’s healthcare provider.Also, contact your baby’s provider if you ever notice any of the following:
Your baby isn’t feeding well.
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Transient Neonatal Pustular Melanosis
Transient neonatal pustular melanosis is a common skin condition in newborns. It appears as small pus-filled spots. It is harmless and will go away by itself.
This skin condition is more common in newborns with black skin. The spots usually disappear within , but they may leave dark marks on the skin for several months.
The spots usually appear on the following body parts:
- small of the back
Tips To Care For Babys Skin
Clearing up baby acne is generally a matter of time and patience. It typically disappears within the first four months of life without the need for treatment. If it doesnt, your dermatologist may prescribe topical lotion to help it go away. In the rare cases when additional intervention is necessary, particularly for infantile acne, your doctor may recommend topical antibiotics to help improve the appearance of babys skin over time.6
In the meantime, continue to keep babys skin clean with a mild cleanser such as our Baby Wash & Shampoo,. Its fragrance free and paraben free formula with three essential ceramides does not disrupt babys protective skin barrier as it develops. Try to incorporate it into babys routine even after the baby acne phase is behind you to gently cleanse babys skin.
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Treatment For Toddler Acne
Treatment for toddler acne depends on the cause. Some kinds of acne may go away on their own. And rashes that merely mimic acne like skin bumps caused by a food allergy will go away with their own cause-specific treatment.
So, the first step is receiving an accurate diagnosis. If its true acne, your doctor may request hormone or other blood tests to find out the cause, then prescribe treatment accordingly.
Also ask your doctor about trying home remedies for mild toddler acne.
How To Get Rid Of Baby Acne
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about infant acne, besides being patient. A few baby acne treatment tips:
- Dont squeeze, pick or scrub acne.
- Cleanse the area with warm water two times a day. Pat skin dry gently.
- Dont use soap or lotion on affected areas.
- Avoid acne or other skin care products meant for adults.
- Try natural baby acne home remedies to treat it: Some moms suggest that dabbing the affected area with breast milk can help speed the healing process.
- Ask your doctor about prescription or over-the-counter medication that might help and be safe for your baby.
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Acne In Babies Children Teens And Adults
Casey Gallagher, MD, is board-certified in dermatology. He is a clinical professor at the University of Colorado in Denver, and co-founder and practicing dermatologist at the Boulder Valley Center for Dermatology in Colorado.
It’s typically thought of as a teen problem, but acne can appear at any age, from birth to well into the adult years.
Acne is treated differently depending on what age it appears. Find out how and why acne happens at different stages of life, when to start treatment or let it be, and when to see a healthcare provider.
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.
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How Long Does Baby Acne Last
Baby acne usually clears anywhere from a few weeks after she’s born to the time she’s about 3 to 4 months old which happens to be a terrific time to schedule those professional pics leaving that beautiful baby skin youve been waiting for in its place.
And just in case you’re already worrying about your little one being teased in middle school, know that baby acne doesn’t leave permanent scars like the grown-up version can, and it doesn’t predict future teen acne problems.
Tips For Treating Baby Acne
Baby acne can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. To treat stubborn baby acne, your babys pediatrician may prescribe a medicated cream or ointment that helps clear up the condition.
Dont use over-the-counter acne treatments, face washes, or lotions unless you are sure that they are specifically formulated with your little ones delicate skin in mind using natural, plant-based, and gentle ingredients that are safe.
Your babys skin is very sensitive at this young age. Using just any OTC ointment might make the acne worse or cause additional skin irritation because some of its ingredients may actually be too strong for your babys soft skin.
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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.
Common Types Of Baby Acne
If your newborn develops neonatal acne, the more common form of baby acne, it will generally appear within the first two weeks of life. If, however, the appearance of your babys skin shows the signs of acne at six months or later, then it could be infantile acne. Infantile acne looks similar to neonatal acne but may persist for one-to-two years and, in severe cases, may result in scarring as well as an increased incidence of adolescent acne.5
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What Is Baby Acne
Baby acne is a collection of small red bumps, usually found on the face. It is often concentrated on the cheeks, chin or forehead, but can also pop up on babys eyelids, chest or neck. This harmless skin condition affects more than 30 percent of newborns.
Mama Naturas daughter Faith with moderate baby acne at six weeks of age.
Baby acne tends to crop up two to four weeks after a baby is born and should clear on its own in a matter of months.
Fight & Prevent Baby Acne With A Gentle Cleansing Product
Keeping baby acne under control and even getting rid of it completely can be as simple as cleaning your baby with a gentle cleansing product regularly. But you dont want to clean their delicate, sensitive skin with just any cleanser.
Its best to use one thats specially formulated for newborns. We recommend using a product that contains micellar water, like Mustelas Gentle No Rinse Cleansing Water, so it does not dry out their sensitive skin.
Best of all, Mustelas Gentle No Rinse Cleansing Water doesnt require rinsing and is great for when youre on the go!
Micellar water is composed of tiny cleansing oil molecules suspended in super-soft water. It dissolves dirt and impurities to cleanse your babys skin without stripping off its natural oils. And because Mustelas Gentle No Rinse Cleansing Water contains no parabens, phthalates, or phenoxyethanol, its safe to use on children of any age.
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Causes Of Toddler Acne
Acne in both newborns and teenagers is very common and normally triggered by changing hormones.
Infantile acne, on the other hand, starts after about 6 weeks of age. Its much less common than the neonatal variety, but it can happen. It usually goes away by the time baby turns 1 year old, but it may last longer and be more severe than neonatal acne.
True acne starting in the toddler years is very uncommon. Often, youre dealing with something that looks like acne but isnt.
Lets take a look at the causes of both toddler acne and toddler acne look-alikes.
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Why Babies Get Acne And What To Do About It
Contrary to popular belief, acne doesnt always start with puberty! It can start from the first few weeks after birth, known as baby acne or cradle cap. Luckily, typical cases of baby acne fade away in time without leaving scarring. But because baby skin is more delicate and sensitive than adult or teenage skin, even mild cases of acne can be irritating.
Additionally, baby skin is easily aggravated by external and environmental factors, from saliva to atmospheric pollution to changing temperaturesnot to mention everything that touches their face while theyre exploring the world. But thats actually not why babies get acne .
When To See A Doctor
Neonatal acne occurs when the baby is in the first 6 weeks of life. It is usually nothing to worry about and will go away on its own.
If a baby develops acne when they are older than 6 weeks, or infantile acne, a doctor should rule out other skin conditions.
Anyone concerned about their babys skin, or who suspects a condition such as chickenpox or eczema, should speak to a doctor.
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Tips To Prevent Baby Acne Or Not Make It Worse
- Be gentle with the babys skin, especially when taking a bath. If your baby is already experiencing acne, avoid scrubbing the affected area to avoid causing irritation, and to help it heal faster.
- Use lukewarm water when washing your babys skin.
- As much as possible, use a mild soap, fragrance-free or a soap-free cleanser when washing your babys skin. It may be best to ask your doctor for product recommendations to know whats best for your babys skin type.
- Avoid using adult acne products such as those with erythromycin or retinoids on your babys skin as they may be too strong and may cause further skin issues.
- Avoid using oily or greasy products that may aggravate baby acne. Its also best to skip the lotion and heavy creams.
- Most of all, please do not squeeze baby acne as this many only irritate your babys skin, cause scarring and/or just make it worse.