5 Things You Need to Know about Baby Acne
You probably think acne is a skin problem that only adolescents and teens face, but babies get it too. Baby acne is a common skin condition that affects up to 40% of babies right after birth. When you first see your baby’s face covered with bumps, you might be concerned. Relax. Here are five things you should know about baby acne that’ll put your mind at ease.
Acne is Sometimes Present at Birth
Babies sometimes come out of the birth canal with acne lesions on their face and body. Baby acne is most common on an infant’s face and cheeks but babies can develop it on their back as well. The bumps closely resemble those of adolescent and teen acne – red pimples or pustules like whiteheads or blackheads. Baby acne doesn’t always appear right after birth – it sometimes shows up two to three weeks after birth.
The Exact Cause is Still Unknown
We still don’t know exactly what causes baby acne, but many experts believe it’s triggered by exposure to Mom’s hormones, in much the same way acne in teens and adolescents is brought on by hormonal changes. Mom’s hormones “turn on” the skin glands in a baby that produce oil. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you did during pregnancy to cause it and there’s no known way to prevent baby acne.
Baby Acne Usually Goes Away on Its Own
What can you expect when your baby has this condition? Seeing your baby’s face covered with pimples and pustules is disconcerting, but baby acne is a self-limiting condition that goes away on its own after a few months, although on some occasions it can hang around for up to six months. Until it does, the best course of action is to:
- Cleanse your baby’s face twice a day with a mild soap made for a baby’s skin. No special products are needed.
- After washing, use a soft, cotton cloth to pat your baby’s skin dry.
- Don’t scrub or rub the pimples and pustules. Gentle cleansing is all that’s required.
- Don’t use acne products on your baby’s skin. They’re too harsh for a baby’s skin.
- Don’t use lotions or creams on the affected areas. The oils can clog the pores more and worsen the outbreak.
- Use a fragrance-free laundry detergent to avoid further skin irritation.
Once It Goes Away, It Shouldn’t Come Back
Although not pretty to look at, once baby acne clears, it shouldn’t come back, at least until your child reaches his or her adolescent years. At that time, acne bumps are again fair game as their hormones change. They’re on their way to becoming an adult! Of course, that’s still a ways away.
Occasionally Baby Acne Can Be Mistaken for Other Conditions
Should you contact a pediatrician if your baby has pimples and whiteheads? It’s always a good idea to let a health professional make sure that your baby has acne rather than another skin condition. In some cases, baby acne can resemble other skin conditions like eczema or another skin condition called cephalic pustulosis, caused by a yeast.
The Bottom Line
Baby acne isn’t pretty to look at but it’s one of the more common skin conditions you see in a newborn baby. Fortunately, it goes away with time and typically leaves behind no scars or other evidence that it was there. So, hang in there!