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Baby Acne – Pictures, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Updated on August 19, 2014

Baby acne is a type of acne that affects newborns from birth till seven months old. It is a common, harmless, and temporary skin condition. Baby acne can affect any part of the face, but commonly occurs on the nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead.

There is not much that the parents can do to prevent the development of baby acne. The condition usually disappears on its own without treatment in about 3 to 4 months.

Symptoms of baby acne

Some of the signs and symptoms of baby acne are listed below:

  • Baby acne is typically identified by the presence of tiny reddish bumps or pustules on an affected baby’s forehead, chin, cheeks, or nose.
  • Baby acne usually forms within the first 2 to 4 weeks after taking birth.
  • Baby acne may appear more noticeable when the baby is crying, irritated, or fussy; or when his/her skin gets irritated by spit-out milk, saliva, or rough fabrics, or those washed in heavy-duty detergent.

It is important to note that the blemishes on a newborn’s face need not always be baby acne. The presence of small whitish bumps after birth, and which clear after some weeks are known as milia. They are not linkedto acne. Also, if the skin blemish appears more scaly or rash-like than bumpy, or if it occurs in other parts of the body, then it may indicate the presence of some other skin disease like eczema or cradle cap.

Causes of baby acne

  • The exact causes of baby acne are not known. Doctors are of the opinion that the hormones passed on by the mother to the baby at the end of pregnancy may be one of the causal factors. However, research on the subject is still on.
  • A case of baby acne may also get triggered due to intake of certain medicines by the mother while nursing, or if the baby is under some medications.
  • In some other instances, baby acne may form as part of an allergic reaction to the use of some skincare product, especially an oily product that can clog the skin pores.

Treatment of baby acne

Baby acne generally fades away on its own in some weeks, but it can also persist for a few months. In case the condition lingers on for more than 3 months, or if parents are concerned about the baby’s skin complexion, then you may consult a doctor for treatment options.

You may follow the below listed self-care guidelines to alleviate the symptoms of baby acne and hasten recovery:

  • Baby acne is different from adult or teen acne. Hence, its treatment is also different. Avoid pinching, popping or picking at the pimples.
  • Consult a doctor before using astringents or strong topical medications such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
  • Use a non-drying mild soap to clean the baby’s skin. Blocked pores due to hormonal changes in the baby’s body is one of the causes of baby acne. Hence, keep the baby’s skin dry and clean at the time of an outbreak.
  • You may also wet a clean ball of cotton in warm water and gently clean the face. This is the best way to clean your baby’s face without irritating its skin.
  • Sometimes, baby acne can arise because of the soap used. Discontinue the current brand of soap and opt for some other, and then check if the condition improves.
  • Avoid the use of creams or lotions that can block pores. Instead of a lotion, employ a moisturizing baby wash till baby acne disappears; unless the baby has extremely dry skin. You may however apply a mild cream on unaffected areas like the neck, chest, or back.
  • Take steps to prevent your baby from scratching the pimples till they clear out. You may cover your baby’s hands with mittens. Scratching the pimples can increase their vulnerability to infections, and lead to a more severe skin anomaly.
  • Do not allow moisture to stay around the mouth area for prolonged periods. Promptly clean the area during a feeding session, or when the baby spits out saliva.
  • Mothers who eat a lot of fruits may notice aggravation of baby acne after breastfeeding. Intake of citrus fruits by the mother may also result in the development of rashes, other than baby acne. If you are not sure about the skin condition, then it is best to consult a doctor for diagnosis. The doctor will then advise on the breastfeeding practices.
  • It has been found that use of baby powder can often help clear the pimples. You may use a cotton ball to gently apply the powder on the areas affected by baby acne. Take care to avoid putting it in the baby’s mouth, eyes, or ears.
  • Consult a doctor if a case of baby acne occurs after either the mother or the baby is given a prescription drug. If the medication has caused the skin reaction, then the physician will suggest an alternative medicine.
  • Doctors may prescribe some creams for treating unresolved instances of baby acne, or one which spreads quickly.


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