- Baby acne affects around 20 percent of newborn babies
- Causes and treatment
- What are the home remedies for baby acne?
- Natural remedies of baby acne treatment
- When to visit the pediatrician
- Useful tips for treating baby’s skin
Baby acne affects around 20 percent of newborn babies
Baby acne is temporary appearance on baby’s skin. Statistics says that it affects around 20 percent of newborn babies. Generally, this is harmless skin disease and there is no need to worry about.
In most of cases baby acnes disappear on their own and most of the pediatricians confirm that, but you have to wait some time. We are aware that regardless of what science says, it isn’t comfortable to look at your child in that condition and just wait for acnes to disappear. There are many preventive actions and tips how to get rid of baby acne in faster way than just wait to disappear and we prepared for you in this guide some of the most effective.
Causes and treatment
What is actually baby acne and what are indications?
Before we meet you with the best ways how to get rid of baby acne, it would be good to know what actually baby acne is and how to recognize it.
It is medically called Erythema toxicorum nonatorum or ETN. There are also used terms neonatal acne, infantile acne and newborn acne, but technically they don’t mean the same. Newborn acne or neonatal acne is usually appearing on baby’s skin within its first 3 months of life and infantile acne can be shown up between 3 and 6 months of age.
The first indications of baby acne are red and white bumps and pimples and they can usually break out on baby’s skin. The bumps are often surrounded with red skin areas also called red rash and are very similar to those that appear on teenagers’ and adult’s skin.
Baby acne can appear immediately at child’s birth but it happens in majority of cases a few weeks after. The areas where it typically appears are cheeks and the jaw, but it can be also found on baby’s back, forehead and nose. Baby acne can be even more proclaimed when baby’s skin is bothered by spit, spit-up milk or some fabrics that are unpleasant or have been washed in solid cleanser.
What are the causes of baby acne?
In order to understand how to get rid of baby acne, first you need to understand what the causes for that are. Even if the medicine has advanced, the causes of baby’s acne are still not completely clear like with teenage and adult acne.
Possible reasons are hormones received from moms within the last stages of pregnancy. There are also assumptions that it can be also caused by genetics. Also, some medications can trigger baby acne if breastfeeding moms are taking them or giving them directly to babies.
Triggers for baby acne can also be greasy skin care products that enter the baby’s skin pores. Baby’s skin can be also irritated by rough fabrics, strong detergents, baby fuss, saliva that lingers on your face for long time, milk spit-ups, etc.
How long does baby acne take?
According to the WebMD baby acne can take for weeks and even months before they finally go away. In some cases the rash can return until fourth to six months of age. There are some assumptions that baby acne will disappear when mom’s hormones stop circulating through the baby’s blood.
Severe cases of baby acne that come and go back every now can be a sign for potential acne problem in future teen years.
Ways of preventing baby acne
If you are afraid that you baby can get baby acne, the best way is to try to prevent that. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, even if you can’t completely prevent baby acne, but it can definitely make things better than do nothing. We prepared here some useful tips that are easy to apply.
- After you finish with feeding the baby, always wipe its face gently using clean cloth dipped in warm water. Try to dry out any drool from its face every now and then.
- For breastfeeding moms there is suggestion to avoid fatty food because it can be passed through the breast milk and cause acne development.
- It is also advised not to expose your baby to direct sunlight.
- Avoid applying greasy creams, oils and lotions to your baby’s skin because they can fill baby’s skin pores, aggravate sensitivity and cause irritation.
- Don’t try to get rid of baby acne using any oil or cream because it can make them even worse.
- Don’t scrub your little one’s face because it can cause irritation and make the things worst.
- Don’t use over-the-counter acne medication on baby’s skin.
- If you notice that pimple becomes red, puss-filled or inflamed we recommend you to visit your pediatrician before you start any skin treatment on your baby.
Types of Baby Acne – Milia, Infantile and Papules
There are three types of baby acne: Milia, Infantile and Papules.
Milia is usually followed by small white bumps that appear on newborn baby’s nose, forehead, cheeks and chin. In some cases it also appears on baby’s arms and legs. Besides appearing at the beginning of baby’s life, it can also arise at a later age.
What can cause Milia is warm climate of place where baby is born, usage of incubator to warm the baby, fever and clothing. This type of baby acne can also disappear on its own, without any medical treatment, but you have to wait several weeks for that.
If it lasts for several months we recommend you to visit your pediatric to provide necessary medication.
For the case that the aggravation appears to be more rashly or flaky than pimply, or is noticed somewhere else on baby’s body it may have an alternate condition like skin rash inflammations.
The third type of baby acne is papules or comedones and it is followed by whiteheads and blackheads on the baby’s face.
How is baby acne diagnosed?
When you start suspecting that baby acnes appeared on your baby’s body, it is good to visit a pediatrician in order to diagnose the rash and conclude if it is about normal skin inflammation or a type of acne. In majority of cases there isn’t any treatment for this type of skin lesions but if it is some critical case, the pediatrician can recommend the application of tropical retinol.
Do not apply tropical benzoyl or Retina A on your baby without prescription from a pediatrician. This type of baby skin rash usually disappears without applying any treatment. You also don’t have to use over-the-counter skin anti inflammation solutions.
What you should also avoid when notice that your little one has baby acne is scrubbing and vigorous washing.
It is also not recommended to put sleek creams on baby’s skin because they can intensify the skin lesions. In some parent’s reviews we found that some parents noticed that some non-slick creams helped baby’s skin to break out. When that happens, what you have to do is to wash baby’s face with mellow child cleanser and water once a day and then gently pat it dry.
We recommend you to use mild baby cleanser to wash the infant. Each thing that is in contact with your baby’s skin has to be clean in order to avoid fast spreading of the acne. You should also wash the clothes, pillows and comforters using a mild cleanser.
What are the home remedies for baby acne?
There is no parent that likes to see red bumps on baby’s skin and most of them like to try to heal the baby at home, as soon as they notice some skin changes. If you are one of them, we prepared here the list of home remedies for baby acne that are available and safe to be applied to baby’s skin.
#1 Coconut Oil
The first place on our list of home remedies for baby acne definitely deserves coconut oil. According to reviews of many moms this oil is the safest for baby acne treatment and it is mostly used among the other home remedies.
This is the most nourishing oil that can be applied to baby’s skin. The skin easily absorbs this oil and has many long lasting benefits. This oil has many natural antimicrobial properties.
How to apply it?
- First you have to clean the affected area with mild soap and then dry it.
- Then take a little coconut oil and use it sparingly.
- Apply a thin layer of it to the affected skin surface.
Repeat these steps two times a day until the baby acne disappear.
#2 Baking Soda
It is proven that baking soda absorbs excess oil and is one of the good ways of how to get rid of baby acne.
How to apply it?
- All you have to do is to use 1 part baking soda to 10 parts water and apply it to the affected skin areas.
#3 Breast Milk
Breast milk isn’t only good for immune system of the baby. This home remedy also has many other benefits for the skin. According to some studies, lauric acid in breast milk contains anti-bacterial and acne fighting properties.
Besides the above mentioned features, it also has omega-3 fatty acids and glyconutrients that improve gentle exfoliation of the skin and help baby acne go away.
How to apply it?
- First clean the affected skin area using warm water and mild soap.
- Get some milk to your palm or container.
- In order to apply the milk to the affected skin area use cotton pad and let it dry.
Repeat these steps a few times a day until you clear the acne up.
On the other side, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, breast milk can also be the cause of baby acne appearance. Because of that it is important to use it sparingly and to wipe the baby dry if there are any spills.
Cornstarch contains natural skin drying features and has the ability to control excess oil production. Because of this fact cornstarch must be used only once daily and applied directly to affected areas.
How to apply it?
- First you have to mix a small amount of cornstarch with water at room temperature.
- Apply to clean skin a thin layer of the paste using fingers and don’t try to scrub.
- Leave the paste on skin for 45 minutes.
- Wash it off with warm water and pat dry.
You should do this once daily until your little one gets rid of baby acne.
#5 Honey and lemon juice
These two ingredients contain natural anti-inflammatory properties that are safe and effective when it comes to baby acne treatment.
How to apply?
- First you have to combine one teaspoon of lemon juice and one teaspoon of honey.
- Then dip a cotton swab in the solution and apply it to the problematic skin surface.
- Solution must be on baby’s skin for 30 minutes and after that you can wash it with warm water and pat dry.
This is moisturizing with the ability to soothe irritated skin caused by baby acne. It isn’t recommended to apply this home remedy on affected face areas because it can come into directly contact with the eyes and cause irritation. But, it can be useful to heal the other parts of the body and soothe other types of rash such as allergic skin rashes or diaper rash.
You can try an oatmeal bath for your little one.
How to make it?
- First you have to blend 1/3 cup of oatmeal in a blender or food processor until you get fine powder.
- Then sprinkle the oatmeal powder in a bath tub with lukewarm water and swirl around with your hand in order to distribute.
- Place your little one carefully into the bath and let it be there for at least 10 minutes.
- Don’t need to rinse, just pat dry with a soft towel.
Pay attention that oatmeal doesn’t come in contact with baby’s eyes because it can cause stinging. You also have to make sure that your little one is well seated and secured. Also don’t forget that oatmeal can make the bath very slippery.
#7 Vinegar treatment
This is one more common home remedy for baby acne treatment. Vinegar is good absorbent for oil and also contains antibacterial features. For some parents it’s little weird how vinegar can be used on baby’s skin but there is a receipe.
How to apply it?
- First you have to mix one part one part of white vinegar with 10 part of water.
- Then gently and slowly dab that solution on the problematic area using a clean piece of cotton.
- Leave the vinegar on baby’s skin for 1 minute and then wash it off using mild soap and warm water.
As you know, babies have sensitive skin so you have to use vinegar sparingly and make sure they have no reactions. Also we don’t recommend you to use undiluted vinegar ever on baby’s face. You can also treat diaper rash using vinegar and also clean fabric and toys.
#8 Baby powder
Baby powder is also called talcum powder and can be also used for diaper rash treatment. It is also able to dry out skin without clogging pores. We recommend you to check out which drying ingredient is used: talc or cornstarch.
How to apply it?
- First you have to clean and dry the affected skin area.
- Then sprinkle small quantities of baby powder into your hand’s palm.
- Gently rub it on the face using fingertips.
Repeat these steps each time you bath your little one until your baby gets rid of baby acne.
If you put baby powder to places prone to accumulation of sweat and wetness you can keep in that way baby dry. You should use baby powder very carefully when you apply it near face and lungs because it can be harmful.
Natural remedies of baby acne treatment
Baby’s skin is very sensitive and you should maintain it using gentle natural products. These products are safe and your baby won’t be exposed to dangerous chemicals contained in cleansers that can be especially bad if baby has baby acne.
The most natural and simple baby acne treatment is cleaning and it is often overlooked. All you have to do is wash and rinse your little one’s clothes, bedding and toys using mild detergent. This will also prevent accumulation of saliva dead skin cells that can fill baby skin pores and make baby acne worse.
You should clean frequently each thing that comes in direct contact with your baby’s skin and use always gentle detergents. With cleaning baby clothes you will ensure that you stop any bacteria transmission onto the baby’s skin.
Besides cleaning things that come in direct contact with baby’s skin, you should also practice daily baby skin cleaning, too. All you have to do is use warm water so you could gently splash clean baby’s face and towel dry. You can also combine fragrant free soap with warm water.
It isn’t good to overdo baby cleansing because the constant wetness will irritate baby’s skin and make convenient place for baby acne. Change the baby wipes with plain warm water and clean cotton balls because it is healthier.
Never overdo any kind of baby bath. Baby shouldn’t dip into the bath until the umbilical sumps have fallen off. For the case your little one has any type of rash we recommend you to limit the number of times it comes into contact with water and chemicals contained in cleansers and soaps.
If you are using chemicals for bathing, our recommendation is to dip your baby in bath two times a week until it starts to crawl, feed and get itself dirtier.
One of the causes of acne appearance can be irritants you expose your baby to, so it is good to reduce them as much as possible. They can be alcohol-containing products, fragrances, rough fabrics and strong detergents.
Also try to limit the contact with the affected skin surface because touching or allowing the baby to rub on the acne can make irritation and increase baby acne. It can be good to expose the affected area to air.
Another, not so known tip for preventing or getting rid of baby acne is to dress your baby in light clothes when the temperature is high. It is also good to remove the layers and expose baby’s skin to open air if it is too warm.
If you are breastfeeding mother you should take care of your diet because everything you eat is contained in breast milk. Avoid oily food because it can aggravate baby acne. You should take much liquid, especially water in order to improve clean flow of breast milk and flush out toxins that your little one can get through milk.
The last natural remedy is to let baby acne go away by itself with no treatment, but that requires time. Even if it will maybe annoy you to look your little one like this, remember that it doesn’t affect the way it feels and it isn’t harmful in most of the cases.
When to visit the pediatrician
You can treat baby acne at home because they aren’t harmful, but in case you are worried about it, you can visit your pediatrician. General checkups or baby visits can be a good time to ask the pediatrician about baby acne or about any other concerns you have about baby’s health.
Sometimes parents believe that acne appeared on baby’s skin, but it can be actually allergic reaction or eczema. In case of allergic reaction, the doctor will find the ways to determine it. The rash problem will be resolved when allergen is found and removed from baby’s environment.
The eczema is mostly treated using over-the-counter products such as Aquaphor and Vnicream or some mild prescription medication in case that doctor tells it is necessary or to remove food allergens and give probiotics daily.
Useful tips for treating baby’s skin
We left for the end some useful tips for treating baby’s skin. They aren’t only connected with baby acne, but also with diaper rash, eczema, baby SPF and similar baby skin conditions.
People for a reason can’t resist to stroke the face of the baby and to nuzzle the top of its head. Baby’s skin represents the ultimate blank slate that is free of all marks that are accumulated over a lifetime. When you touch the smooth surface of baby’s forehead, you will be certainly filled with sense of newness and possibility.
The skin of the baby requires more than nuzzling. There are process of living, pollutants and sun. It is just important to be careful not to overdo it because in baby’s case, less is best.
The main rule is not to do anything that can aggravate the skin and the less it is irritated, the better. These are some good tips how to provide extra-special baby skin protection.
- Mom’s hormones
In comparison to most of organs that develop early in pregnancy, the skin needs the full nine months to mature. The normal skin is forming in the last trimester.
Infant acne followed by tiny pink bumps on baby’s face and chess mostly appears in a fifth on all newborns in their first month of life. The cause for this is mother’s hormones in baby’s body after birth.
In comparison to adult acne, infant acne doesn’t need some special care. All you have to do is keep baby’s skin dry and clean and not to squeeze the pimples because it can lead to scarring. Also don’t try to apply any lotions or treatments.
In case that this skin problem lasts more than three months and becomes worst during that time or seem uncomfortable, maybe it isn’t common infant acne since eczema for example and you should visit pediatrician in that case.
- Baby bathing
General culture in the whole world is obsessed with cleanliness and it often happens that parents overdo bathing their babies. It isn’t recommended to make dips in the tub until the umbilical stamp falls off and if you are Islam religion, until boy’s circumcision heals. Until that time, it is the best to do just gentle sponge bath of the bottom and genitals.
When it is bathing time, you should go easy on the suds and even more if your baby has any kind of rash. Bath your little one two times a week till it starts crawling and eating solids because then becomes dirtier. Baby’s skin can be irritated with soap so try to use mild, scent-free soaps.
No matter what you are using, just don’t forget to limit the variety of chemicals you expose your little one to.
- Wash and wear
Babies generally and newborns especially, have sensitive skin and according to American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it is recommended to wash new clothing and towels before you use them. You can also find on the market special baby laundry detergents that leave less residue after washing.
Skin conditions are in many cases genetic and if you have sensitive skin, it is more likely that your baby will have it too. For the case that your baby develops rash or irritation on parts of its body where its clothes come in contact with, the reason can be the detergent. If that happens, try to choose a milder baby detergent or some that is free and clear of fragrances, allergens and dyes.
- The sun
Most of the parents think that it is good to use sunscreen when exposing their babies to sun. If baby has less than 6 months that won’t be good idea. The reason for that is because babies have more skin surface than adults and because of that they receive higher amounts of chemicals.
In this way you increase the odds of an adverse reaction and instead of applying sunscreen to baby’s skin, it is better to keep it in shade and use some protective cloth.
In case you want to use sunscreen, we recommend you to choose some with the highest sun protection factor (SPF), with minimum SPF 30. The label should contain the words: “broad spectrum”. That means that sunscreen is able to block UVA and UVB rays.
Also is good to try a sunblock that contains titanium dioxide or zinc oxide because it can provide the best protection and rarely causes allergic reactions. For the case your little one is older than 6 months, you can freely cover its entire body with sunscreen.
- Baby’s bottom
Diaper rash is very common and in order to prevent it you should avoid materials that keep diaper from leaking and air from circulating because that makes a convenient environment for rash to breed.
The more you keep baby’s bottom clean and dry, it is less possibility to become irritated. We recommend you to clean baby with water and washcloth or baby wipe each time you make diaper change in order to have its skin completely dry before you apply diaper cream with moisture-blocking zinc oxide. You can also give your little one some diaper free time on a towel for a few minutes every day.
Baby acne is common appearance on baby’s skin in its first months of life. In the most of the cases it isn’t harmful and it can disappear on its own, but you have to be patient and to wait for some time.
In case you want to make your baby’s skin healing faster, there are home remedies like: coconut oil, baking soda, breast milk, honey juice, oatmeal, vinegar treatment and baby powder. The most simple and effective natural way of treating baby acne is keep it clean but you have to be careful not to overdo bathing and to avoid using chemicals.
Even if it can be cured at home in most of the cases, the good time to ask your pediatrician about baby acne or any other concerns is during general checkups so don’t miss the opportunity to do that.