If you thought you would not have to deal with your child’s acne until they hit puberty, think again.
Just when your baby’s face is starting to look normal after birth – with her head rounding out and facial features becoming more prominent – you may begin to see tiny little bumps that look like the pimples you would see on a teenager.
Baby acne is very common, appearing on over 20% of babies, and it usually pops up around a few weeks of age. Most cases are usually mild and are usually limited to the face. Particularly the nose, cheek, and forehead area.
Unlike teenage and adult acne, baby acne rarely causes any problems or irritation. It is more of an eyesore than anything else. Baby acne also does not leave any scarring like adult acne can, so you can breathe easy as you wait for your baby’s acne to pass.
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What Causes Baby Acne?
The precise cause of baby acne is still unknown, but most professionals believe that exposure to the mother’s hormones toward the end of pregnancy, which are still circulating in your little one’s bloodstream, is the main cause.
These hormones stimulate the otherwise dormant oil glands in your baby’s face, causing breakouts, just like oils cause breakouts in adults.
Other causes of acne that you may be familiar with like diet or hygiene will not be the culprit here. It is important to take note of this so that you do not jump to remedies that will not work and may harm your baby. More on this a little later.
How Long Does Baby Acne Last?
Any single outbreak should clear up in a week or two.
Your baby will only be vulnerable to outbreaks of acne from a few weeks old, up to six months. In most cases, the condition will not last this long and will pass naturally in this time.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Treating Newborn Pimples
Most cases of baby acne disappear on their own after just a few weeks, but there are cases that can be a bit more stubborn. For these, you may need to try some treatments at home to help some of those cases along. Here are some simple things to keep in mind to keep your baby’s skin from becoming even more irritated and producing more breakouts.
- The best thing you can do for your baby is to keep her face clean. Due to the minuscule size of your baby’s pores, she is highly prone to dirt and oil blockages which can also be a contributing factor to infant acne. This will prevent excess oils from building up on her skin, which can cause more breakouts to occur.
- When choosing a soap, want to be sure to use one that is gentle to clean your baby’s face. Your little one’s skin is highly sensitive, and a soap that is too harsh can dry out her skin and cause even more irritation. Try to find a mild soap that is specially formulated for babies, as these are safer for your baby’s skin.
- Try not to wash your baby’s skin more than once a day as this can also dry out her skin even more. If you notice any excess irritation that occurs after a washing session, discontinue the use of that soap and consult your pediatrician.
- When you are washing your baby’s face, you do not want to scrub it with an abrasive cloth as it will cause irritation and the skin will begin to produce more oil which will cause more acne breakouts. Simply wash with your hands and pat dry with a soft towel.
- For the same reason, you should not use oil-based moisturizers on your little one’s face, even if it seems like the acne patches are dry. If you do think your baby needs a bit of moisture in her skin, try a moisturizing baby soap instead of a straight moisturizer.
- Finally, do not treat it as you would your own acne. Do not use acne medications. These can dry your baby’s skin out to the point that it could begin to cause her pain. You also should not squeeze the pimples, as this can lead to scarring.
Good Baby Hygiene Practices
An outbreak of acne should not be cause for you to divert from a sound hygiene routine with your little one.
It may be a natural response to think that an increase in bath frequency and regular cleaning of your baby’s face could help solve the problem sooner. In doing so you may actually make the problem worse!!
Bathing your baby too much could dry out their skin and cause further irritation. So stick with what has worked for you in the past. Three times a week is plenty, and an outbreak of acne does not change this.
Remember that the cause is most likely hormonal.
When to Call a Doctor
It is rare that a case of baby acne that will require a trip to the doctor, but you should still pay attention to the following symptoms that may require medical assistance:
- Your baby’s acne breakout does not clear up within a few weeks to a month
- Acne is accompanied by pain or other unusual symptoms
- The acne frequently heals and then returns
Some cases of facial breakouts may look like acne but may be something else that requires more care. Common baby rashes that look like baby acne may include:
The difference between eczema and baby acne is that eczema’s appearance is more like dry, scaly patches on the skin, is often not limited to the face, and usually requires some form of medical treatment.
May appear like acne, but will often be accompanied by other symptoms, whereas baby acne has no associated symptom. Keep track of what your baby is eating to see if she had a breakout after trying something new.
If there are any other concerns or questions you have, never hesitate to call your doctor. They will be able to give you advice and guidance as to what you can do to help your baby’s breakout subside.
Above all, just be patient. With time and gentle care, your little one’s face will be smooth and clear in no time.
If you have any questions or comments about baby acne, be sure to leave a comment below. And share this article with other parents who will find it helpful.