Causes Of Acne In Babies & How Long Does Baby Acne Last?

Acne In Babies

Acne is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that can include red bumps, bumps with white pustules, blackheads, and whiteheads.

It can occur when the hair follicles get clogged with dead skin and oil.

Acne in the baby is also known as neonatal acne and occurs in about 20 percent of newborns(1). This acne is different from infantile acne as comedones and blackheads do not appear in baby acne.

Baby acne appears in the first few months of a baby’s life while infantile acne can last until 2 years of a child’s age.

Causes Of Baby Acne

Why a baby develops acne is unclear. Researches show it might be due to maternal or infant hormones.

Maternal hormones stimulate the oil-producing glands that are sluggish. This causes pimples to pop on the forehead, eyelids, cheeks, chin, and also sometimes on the head, neck, back, and upper chest.

Pores on the baby’s skin are not fully developed and that makes them an easy target for infiltration by dirt leading to blemishes. Also, babies have sensitive skin that further increases the risk.

How Long Does Baby Acne Last?

Baby acne usually clears on its own within a few weeks or months.

The acne does not leave marks, so you need not worry about your baby being teased because of the permanent scars. It is also not a prediction that your child would be suffering from acne in teens.

Conditions Similar To Baby’s Acne

1. Eczema

Eczema presents as red bumps on the face and also on knees and elbows as you grow old. It becomes infected and yellow and crusty.

Atopic dermatitis is the most commonly occurring form of eczema.

Seborrheic dermatitis, also known as a crib or cradle cap, is often misdiagnosed as baby acne.

2. Erythema toxicum

Erythema toxicum is another common skin condition that appears as a rash, tiny bump, and red blotches. It develops on the baby’s chest, face, or limbs, mostly after the first few days of birth.

It is a harmless condition and usually disappears in less than a week after birth.

3. Milia

Milia appear on the baby’s face as tiny white bumps. It seems as if dead skin cells are caught in tiny pockets of skin and appear within a few weeks of birth.

How Is Baby Acne Treated?

Baby acne usually disappears without any treatment.

In some babies, it lingers for months and in such cases, medicated creams and ointments help clear it up.

One can also follow a few acne treatment tips that can help in its treatment:

  • Do not squeeze or scrub the acne
  • Clean the area with warm water gently and pat it dry
  • Never use soap or lotion on affected areas
  • Avoid using skin care products meant for adults on babies
  • Try home remedies to provide relief to the child

Home Treatments For Baby Acne

While waiting for the acne to clear on its own, a few steps can be taken to keep the skin healthy.

1. Keep The Face Clean

Clean the baby’s face daily with warm water. Clean the face just with water. If you want to use soap, look for milk or a soap-free cleanser.

You can also ask the pediatrician for recommendations.

2. Avoid Harsh Products

Products containing vitamin A or erythromycin that are used for the treatment of adult acne should not be used for babies.

Do not use scented soaps, bubble baths, or other products that can irritate the sensitive skin of the child.

3. Skip The Lotions

Lotions or creams might aggravate the already irritated skin and also may worsen the acne.

4. Do Not Scrub

Scrubbing the skin or drying it by scrubbing with a rough towel would aggravate the condition.

Instead, you can gently sweep the skin with a washcloth in a circular motion.

5. Do Not Squeeze

Pinching and squeezing the acne should be avoided. This would irritate the skin of the baby and also might worsen the problem.

6. Be Patient

It is important to be patient when dealing with baby acne. They are not itchy or painful and resolve on their own.

When To Call A Doctor?

Baby acne mostly goes away on its own and no intervention is required.

But, if the bumps look infected and the skin appears extra red along with swelling, discharge, or spike in temperature, consult a doctor. It might be an allergic reaction or eczema that might require treatment to keep the rash from spreading.

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