Zealous Baby Care

Practical (and judgment-free) advice on caring for your newborn from the baby pros

Baby Acne

We have all been conditioned to think of acne as a puberty condition, however, your newborn now seems to be covered in tiny bumps! This usually begins around 2 or 3 weeks of age and affect 20 to 40 percent of all newborns – but your little one is not bothered at all, so you shouldn’t be either.

What causes baby acne?

As with adolescent ache, hormones seem to be mainly the cause. In the case of newborns, it’s not their own hormones that are the issue, but mom’s – which is still circulating in their bloodstream from pregnancy. These maternal hormones stimulate baby’s sluggish oil-producing glands, causing pimples to pop up on the chin, forehead, eyelids, and cheeks. Sometimes the head, neck, back and upper chest can be affected. Moreover, 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. Babies typically have very sensitive skin, which can also be a factor.

How to get rid of baby acne

Patience is the key here, as there is not much you can do. However, here are a few tips:

  • Don’t squeeze, pick or scrub acne
  • Cleanse the area with warm water two or three times a day. Pat skin, dry gently
  • Don’t 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 dabbing the area with breastmilk to help speed the healing process.
  • Ask your doctor about prescription or over-the-counter medication that might help and be safe for your baby.

How long does baby acne last?

Baby acne usually clears anywhere from a few weeks after birth to about 6 months. A comforting reminder: baby acne doesn’t leave permanent scars like adolescent acne does.

Baby acne should go away on its own. If, however, the bumps look like they may be infected (skin appears extra red, swollen or discharge is noticed, a fever or other symptoms present) call your pediatrician.

Is it acne or a rash?

It is very easy to confuse the two conditions. Baby acne looks like red pimples, milia, which is another common newborn skin condition are tiny white bumps that look like whiteheads.  Both of these are treated the same: wash, watch, and wait.

Nonetheless, there are also a number of skin rashes and other skin conditions in newborn babies that are often itchy, and uncomfortable for your baby and tend to spread beyond the face. A few of the most common are:

  • Baby heat rash: These clusters of tiny, moist, red bumps look similar to acne and often appear on baby’s arms, legs, upper chest and diaper area in addition to her face when it’s hot outside. Skin usually feels itchy or tingly, which may make baby moodier than usual.
  • Diaper rash: This rash — caused by moisture, irritants and too little air — appears as red, irritated skin in (you guessed it!) baby’s 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.

Rose’s Personal Opinion.

Many times, the rashes and acne go away without intervention from us. When it is necessary to do something, it is best to keep it to the minimum. Each day there is less and less of mommy’s hormone in the baby and as the hormone reduces so does most of the issues.

Cradle cap and diaper rashes should be addressed, but I still found that making some simple changes made a lot of difference.

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