Baby acne is a fairly common skin condition, affecting about 20% of newborns. Some babies are born with it, but most develop acne two to four weeks after birth. While acne is harmless and in most cases goes away on its own within weeks, as a parent, we understand your wanting to treat the problem immediately.
Furthermore, some babies may experience acne for months rather than a few weeks. As a parent, you’ll do anything you can to ensure your baby’s comfort.
How to Diagnose Baby Acne
If you think your baby has acne, consider taking them to see a pediatrician for a formal diagnosis. However, most parents can diagnose it themselves, although it’s common to confuse it for a rash and vice versa.
This skin condition is characterized by tiny red or white bumps that generally appear on the cheeks, nose, chin, forehead, and even eyelids. Baby acne is not the same as adult acne, so you won’t find whiteheads or blackheads.
What Causes Baby Acne?
Experts don’t know exactly what causes this common skin ailment, but some hypothesize that it’s caused by overstimulated oil glands from hormones in the placenta or inflammation caused by yeast. Experts also say there is no way to prevent acne in babies, but you can soothe it and prevent it from getting worse.
No matter how severe it is or how long it has lasted, don't use over OTC face washes, creams, or treatments unless prescribed by your pediatrician. A baby’s skin is gentle and very sensitive, so applying a skincare product that is too strong may result in worsening the problem, or developing more serious skin issues, like blistering and scarring.
How to Soothe Your Baby’s Acne
Again, this condition is harmless but it does cause discomfort. You can soothe your baby by taking these diligent measures:
- Don’t use harsh detergents on your baby’s clothes, blankets, or bedsheets. Only use products specifically designed for babies and ask your pediatrician for product recommendations.
- Ensure proper hygiene by washing your baby’s face with warm water daily. You can also use an extremely mild baby soap that's fragrance-free.
- Be gentle with your baby during bath time. The water should be lukewarm and if using a rag, don’t scrub the affected areas.
- You may want to moisturize your baby’s skin after bath time, but you should completely avoid greasy products such as petroleum jelly, heavy creams, and lotions to soothe baby acne.
- Do not squeeze or attempt to pop the pimples. This may result in further complications or skin irritations.
These remedies are designed to soothe your baby but not treat the condition. There is no prevention or treatment if your baby has acne. Before going forward with these suggestions, talk to your pediatrician. Even if it’s likely that you’re dealing with acne, it's possible that you may have a more serious condition on your hands, so it’s recommended to speak to a medical professional.