Baby Acne: What It Is, What To Expect & What You Should Do For Treatment

Baby acne is a skin condition that occurs in around 20 percent of newborn kids. It can develop on the baby's face or even on the body. These usually look like tiny red bumps and do not look or feel like the acne that we, as adults, get. They are painless, are not filled with pus and go away on their own within a few weeks. 

If you wonder what causes baby acne and baby acne treatment, this article will help you understand everything related to baby acne. 

Symptoms Of Baby Acne

A newborn baby's skin is very soft and delicate and thus is prone to have rashes and conditions that can be triggered by harsh products or things that touch their skin. In such cases, it is difficult to know if your baby has a rash, a skin condition or baby acne. However, here are the signs or symptoms that will help you identify baby acne(1):

  • ▪ In most cases, baby acne appears on the baby's face. But they can also sometimes be on their neck or upper back. 
  • ▪ The baby acre is red bumps like pimples surrounded by reddish skin like adult acne. 
  • ▪ Unless your baby scratches the skin of the acne, baby acne is painless and does not irritate your baby. 
  • ▪ Baby acne comes and goes in the initial weeks of your baby's birth.
  • ▪ The acne can look worse if your baby is crying or is fussy.  
  • ▪ Unlike a rash, the skin will not have swelling in the case of baby acne. 

Causes Of Baby Acne

There has not been any determined direct cause of baby acne known till now. However, some experts say that the hormones that the baby carries inside the uterus can cause acne, and once the hormones are balanced after birth, the baby's acne disappears on its own. On the other hand, some experts believe that when your baby's skin is irritated due to contact with milk, formula or spit-up, this irritation can also lead to baby acne. 

Rough fabrics of harsh products or harsh detergents can also cause baby acne to develop if built up in their clothes. For newborn babies, one should always prefer clothes made from the softest fabrics such as Mulmul jhabla and wash their clothes in detergent that is safe for baby's clothes and cloth diapers

Should You Be Worried If Your Baby Has Acne

In 20% of newborns, baby acne will develop on their skin around the second week. In some cases, these will appear any time before week six in babies. To answer the question, NO, you should not be worried about the acne that your baby would develop during the first six weeks as it would disappear. But in case the skin condition lasts beyond six weeks, you might need to consult a doctor to get it tested and make sure that it is not harmful to your baby. You must see a doctor in the following cases – 

  • ▪ Check the section above and ensure that the red bumps on your baby's face and body are baby acne. If yes, see a doctor and talk to them about baby acne on face treatment. And if this is not acne, you might need to start treatment for their specific skin condition. 
  • ▪ Baby acne is harmless, but it can get infected if your baby scratches them. Thus, ensure that your baby's nails are trimmed or make them wear mittens to protect the affected skin. See a doctor if your baby has scratched the acne and got infected. 
  • ▪ If your baby's acne is getting aggravated and triggered by a particular fabric or product, eliminate that product from their contact and seek a doctor's advice to treat the acne.

Home Remedies To Treat Baby Acne 

Some simple tips and skincare routines, if followed, can help in treating your baby's acne and ensuring that they do not reappear. 

  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals & Toxins

    Many parents experience a sudden rise in the redness of the acne when personal care of topical products with harsh chemicals is used on the baby. Make sure you do proper research before buying any product for your baby. 

  • Keep The Face And Body Clean

    The baby acne would appear only on the face in most cases. This can also be because of breastmilk, formula milk or spit and drool stuck on the face. Maintain proper hygiene by gently wiping the face and neck of your baby several times a day to reduce acne. 

  • Say Good-Bye To Lotions

    If your baby has acne, avoid using any lotions on the face or the body. Oily skin can worsen acne; thus, the skin needs to be clean, and no external product should be applied. 

  • Avoid Scrubbing Or Squeezing

    Scrubbing the acne affected skin or squeezing the skin can infect them and delay the healing. Avoid it, and the acne will be gone faster. 

Other Treatments For Baby Acne 

Unless your baby's acne has an underlying skin condition, they do not need any medical treatment. However, the home remedies mentioned above can help you get rid of acne if they do not go away on their own. 

But in case the acne is due to a medical condition, do not try any topical product, any over the counter medication or home remedies. Instead, let their paediatrician be the best judge of the situation and suggest the treatment and products or medicine to treat the condition. 


When To Consult A Doctor 

As mentioned in an earlier section, baby acne is not harmful and would go away on its own. But in some cases, you will need to start medical treatment. Consult a doctor if: 

  • -If the acne has developed a blackhead, is filled with pus or is bleeding.
  • -Even after home treatment and proper care, the acne persists for more than six weeks. 
  • -If your baby is irritated by the acne and is trying to scratch them due to itching. 

Similar Conditions To Baby Acne

There are specific skin conditions that might resemble baby acne but are, in fact, different. Here are a few of them:

  1. Eczema

    – An inflammatory skin condition that damages the skin barrier function and thus results in dry, irritated, and infected skin. The skin can get red and inflamed when it reacts with allergens, tobacco smoke, vehicle and industrial pollution etc.
     
  2. Heat Rash

    – In summers, it is very common for kids to have prickly heat or a heat rash. Prickly heat also looks like baby acne, but the red bumps are usually smaller. But it is very easy for you to confuse the two. 

  3. Food Allergy

    – At times, your baby might be allergic to certain food items and consuming those can trigger skin rashes or hives. But these will appear only when your baby consumes that particular food item. But, again, you need to identify and treat this in time so that your baby doesn't have to suffer repeatedly. 

  4. Milia

    – Milia appears when dead skin is trapped under your baby's skin. The difference is that Milia is usually white. But, like baby acne, Milia will also disappear on its own after a while. 

How To Avoid Baby Acne (100-150)

Here are a few tips for you to ensure that your baby does not have acne:

  1. Do not use any medicated product that has not been recommended by a dermatologist or your baby's paediatrician. 
  2. Be gentle with your baby's skin. For example, you would not need to scrub the skin while washing or wiping it dry to ensure that it is clean. Doing so can damage the skin tissues and cause underlying acne conditions to aggravate.  
  3. Do not wash your baby's skin with hot water. Instead, bathe and clean them with lukewarm water. 
  4. Avoid doing so if you use any oily or greasy skincare products to moisturise them. Instead, ask their doctor for personal care product recommendations. 

Baby acne is nothing to worry about. They appear and disappear on their own. But you know your baby and their skin the best. If something looks odd, and you think that the skin condition is not acne, or has been there for more than six weeks, seek the advice of your baby's paediatrician.

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