Diet and Nutrition

Baby Acne: What are the Causes and Treatments?

Baby Acne: What are the Causes and Treatments?

Key Takeaways

  • Baby acne usually appears on a baby’s face covering their forehead and cheeks usually. The acne is mostly temporary and goes away by itself.
  • If the acne lasts longer than usual, it is advised to go to a pediatrician and get appropriate medicine for the same.

What causes Baby Acne?

Baby acne, as well as a lot of adult acne, usually appears as red bumps and pimples on baby’s skin. The bump may be surrounded by red skin. The baby is also likely to develop whiteheads or white pustules. The causes of baby acne have not been specified and remain unclear at best. However, it is usually best to assume that the acne is caused if the skin of the baby has been irritated by some new product, saliva, spit out milk, etc. In some cases, the cause can be genetic, where it is said that the baby might get acne due to hormones from the mother that are carried onto the baby during birth. Baby acne can also appear if the surface of cloth touching baby’s skin is rough or has been washed in a strong detergent. If the mother is taking some medications post pregnancy, or if the baby is, an adverse reaction can also lead to acne. In most cases, a response to a skincare product for the child may result in clogging of pores and can result in acne.

How to treat Baby Acne?

It is highly advised to not use over-the-counter medications and lotions for baby acne as it may further irritate the skin of the infant. Since baby acne is not caused by dirt, it is always advised not to scrub or wash baby’s face again and again as it may increase the acne. The baby acne mostly clears out in a couple of weeks, however, if it persists for a couple of months, one must see a doctor. Most pediatricians advise using non-oily lotions for baby’s skin to get rid of acne. The soothing lotions sometimes clog the pores further and increase the problem. Most children react negatively to a product after one or two uses. Therefore, it is advised to test a patch of skin before using it regularly. One should also wash the baby’s face with soap and use only soft textured clothes for the baby to not further irritate their skin.

How to get rid of Baby Acne?

It is essential to keep the baby’s skin as healthy as possible while dealing with the acne and trying to get rid of it. One should wash the baby’s face daily to keep away all the dirt and bacteria that might irritate the infant’s skin and may cause acne. It is also advised to use warm water while washing the baby’s face along with a mild soap or face wash. One should also not scrub the baby’s face with a towel and should instead use a soft cloth to wipe the face and pat dry it. When the baby is suffering from acne, one should not use any lotions or creams without the doctor’s advice as it may worsen the acne. It is also required to keep your hands away and not squeeze the acne as, just like in adults, this will aggravate the acne and make it even worse to heal. In some cases, it is also advised to rub breast milk over the acne as it is said to speed up the healing process. Baby acne is usually harmless and goes away on its own. Therefore, it is advised to be patient and see that it may heal itself altogether.

How long does Baby Acne last?

The baby acne is usually harmless and mostly goes away on its own in about one to two weeks. If the acne is severe, it may also take up to three to four weeks to resolve itself. In most cases, the acne clears by the time the baby grows to be six months old. However, if the problem keeps becoming aggravated, and doesn’t go away for over a month, it is highly recommended to see a doctor at this point to check up on the problem and figure out the underlying cause for the same. Unlike adults, the baby acne doesn’t leave any permanent scars.

What to do for Baby Acne?

It is always advised to be patient and wait until the acne on the child’s face clears itself up. However, in case you’re worried, you can always go to a doctor to get it checked. It is highly recommended to use natural and mild products for the baby’s skin and try to not irritate the skin further to aggravate the problem. If the bumps on the baby’s skin look infected, for example, if the skin appears to have swollen or has a discharge, it should be immediately be brought to a pediatrician concern. If the skin around the bump appears too red to resemble a rash or possible eczema, it is advised to see a doctor at your earliest convenience. The baby acne is harmless, and that’s why doctors mostly recommend very mild ointments to speed up the healing process. If the rash is due to an allergy, the doctors usually prescribe an allergen whose effect lasts only while the rash and its use need to be stopped post the same. If the allergy is because of some food product, it is advised to be removed from the infant’s diet, and the baby is also given some probiotics to help them get rid of the allergy.

Baby acne certainly clears up in a few weeks, but in some cases, it can linger on for quite some time. If the baby’s acne doesn’t clear up in three months, it is crucial to seek medical advice. The doctor may prescribe a mild topical medication if the acne is long-lasting or severe.

Persistent baby acne may be a clue that your child will deal with acne when he's a teenager, too.

Here are some do's and don'ts:

  • Don't use over-the-counter medications.
  • Don't over wash the skin. Too much washing may increase the damage that the acne has caused to the baby's skin. Baby acne isn't caused by dirt. 
  • Don't put lotions on the baby's skin. Lotions have a tendency of making acne even worse.
  • Do use non-oily creams and monitor how the baby's skin reacts.