FAQ: What Is Baby Acne?

Your beautiful newborn has made her spectacular entrance into the world, but a few weeks later you notice pimple-like spots on her face. It's likely she has baby acne, a condition that’s fairly common in newborns. Find out more about it and what you can do to care for your baby's delicate skin during a bout of baby acne.

What Is Baby Acne and What Causes It?

When your newborn baby is around 2 to 5 weeks old you may start to see small pimples on his face, usually on his cheeks, nose, eyelids, chin, and/or forehead. Baby acne is also referred to as neonatal acne and is common—about 3 in 10 babies get it. Experts are not exactly sure what causes baby acne, but it could be due to one of the following:

  • An inflammation caused by yeast on your baby's skin
  • Overstimulated oil glands in your baby's skin caused by coming into contact with hormones in the placenta during your pregnancy.

Baby acne has nothing to do with the type of acne that a teenager may experience.

What Does Baby Acne Look Like?

Baby acne looks like tiny red or white bumps or pustules that appear on your infant's cheeks, nose, eyelids, chin, and/or forehead. Sometimes the acne can also extend up on her scalp or down on her neck or upper trunk. Unlike acne that teens and adults can experience, baby acne does not lead to blackheads or whiteheads.

How Do You Clear Up Baby Acne?

There are no at-home remedies for clearing up baby acne—you will just have to wait for it to go away on its own. Baby acne typically clears up after about three to four months and leaves no scars. In the meantime, here’s how you can care for your baby's delicate skin:

  • Place a clean, soft receiving blanket under your baby’s head when he's awake to shield his skin from any laundry detergent residue on sheets or clothing
  • Gently wash his face every day with warm water and a mild baby soap and pat it dry
  • Avoid irritating the acne by pinching or scrubbing the pimples as this may cause more harm or even lead to an infection Avoid moisturizing his face with lotions or oils.

When Should You See Your Healthcare Provider?

If anything about your baby's complexion seems out of the ordinary, or if you're concerned that the condition isn't getting better after three to four months, consult your baby's healthcare provider. The healthcare provider may a medicated cream or some other treatment. But be sure not to use any over-the-counter creams or medications without consulting your healthcare provider first, as these can damage your baby's delicate skin.

In addition, contact the healthcare provider if you ever notice any of the following with your baby:

  • Skin blisters
  • Peeling skin
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Poor feeding.

How Is Baby Acne Diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will be able to determine if your little one has baby acne or some other form of baby rash by examining her.

The Bottom Line

A little baby acne will not diminish how absolutely adorable your newborn is. Just like teenage acne, baby acne is just something that can happen as a part of growing up. Take care of your little one's skin as best as you can, wait for it to pass, and keep giving those little cheeks plenty of kisses.


Skin care

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