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Baby's health

08th Apr 2024

Did you know babies can get acne? The signs, symptoms, and treatments

Anna Martin

baby acne

Have you ever heard of baby acne?

Admittedly it does sound made up, when we think of acne we typically imagine it to be a teenage issue or even something you deal with in adulthood but that’s not always the case.

Fortunately, it’s temporary and most newborns will grow out of it within a matter of weeks, though when you first see it you might be a bit confused.

If you want to know more about this skin condition just keep reading.

baby acne
Credit: Getty

What causes it?

Many babies also develop tiny, pimple-like bumps on the face. These harmless spots are called milia. They disappear on their own within a few weeks.

Another condition that might be mistaken for baby acne is benign cephalic pustulosis (BCP), also called neonatal cephalic pustulosis. A bad reaction to yeast on the skin causes BCP.

None of these conditions is caused by the type of bacterium that can cause acne in teens and adults.

Instead, it seems that maybe hormones are the culprits behind it.

Yet for newborns, it’s not their hormones that are prompting the pimple problems, but their mom’s – which are still circulating in the bloodstream from pregnancy.

These maternal hormones stimulate a baby’s oil-producing glands, causing pimples to pop up on the chin, forehead, eyelids, and cheeks, and, sometimes, the head, neck, back, and upper chest.

On top of this, babies typically have very sensitive skin – some more than others – which can also play a part.

baby acne
Credit: Getty

How to get rid of it?

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about infant acne, besides be patient. However, there few baby acne treatment tips you can follow:

  • Don’t squeeze, pick, or scrub acne.
  • Cleanse the area with warm water two 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 mums suggest that dabbing the affected area with breast milk can help speed the healing process.
  • Ask your doctor about prescription or over-the-counter medication that might help and be safe for your baby if the acne doesn’t go away after several months.

How long will it last?

Baby acne usually clears anywhere from a few weeks after your little one is born to the time they’re about three to four months old.

Thankfully baby acne doesn’t leave permanent scars like the grown-up version can, and it doesn’t predict future teen acne problems.