Baby acne is a common, usually temporary skin condition that develops on a baby’s face or body. It results in tiny red or white bumps or pimples.
In almost all cases, the acne resolves on its own without treatment. It occurs in about 20 percent of newborns. Baby acne only happens in your baby’s first few months of life.
It’s unclear why baby acne develops. Some researchers believe it’s caused by maternal or infant hormones.
- Baby acne usually appears as red bumps or pimples. White pustules or whiteheads may also develop, and reddish skin may surround the bumps.
- Babies can develop acne anywhere on their face, but it’s most common on their cheeks. Some babies may also have acne on their upper back or neck.
- Acne may become more pronounced if your baby is fussy or crying. Rough fabrics can irritate the acne, as can vomit or saliva that stays on the face.
- Baby acne may occasionally be present at birth. But, in most cases, it develops within two to four weeks after birth. And it may last for a few days or weeks, though some cases may last for several months.
Differential Diagnosis: Well, sometimes you think it's baby acne, but it’s a different skin condition that looks similar to baby acne. Here is a list of similar-looking condition.
- Eczema usually shows up as red bumps on the face. It may also appear on the knees and elbows as your baby gets older. Eczema can become infected and appear yellow and crusty. It may worsen as your baby starts to crawl around and scrape up their knees and elbows. It is usually easy for your doctor to distinguish between baby acne and eczema.
- The most common type of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis.
- Seborrheic eczema is the condition most often misidentified as baby acne. It’s also known as seborrheic dermatitis and crib, or cradle, cap.
- Eczema can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) products such as Aquaphor and Vanicream. A mild medication may also be prescribed.
- You may also be asked to remove food allergens from your home and give your baby daily probiotics.
- Erythema toxicum is another common skin condition that may appear as a rash, tiny bumps, or red blotches. It can be seen on your baby’s face, chest, or limbs in the first few days after they’re born. It’s harmless, and it usually disappears in less than a week after birth.
- Milia-Milia are tiny white bumps that may develop on your baby’s face. They occur when dead skin cells are caught in tiny pockets of skin and may appear within a few weeks of birth. Milia are unrelated to baby acne and don’t require treatment.
Skin Care for Baby Acne
Keep your baby’s face clean
Wash your baby’s face daily with warm water. Bath time is a great time to do this. You don’t even need to use anything but water, but if you want to, look for a mild soap or soap-free cleanser. Don’t hesitate to ask the paediatrician for recommendations. Do not use any talc or lotions for a few days. Fragrance-free products are least likely to irritate your baby’s skin.
Avoid harsh products
Products with retinoids, which are related to vitamin A, or erythromycin, are commonly used for adult acne. However, they aren’t usually recommended for babies. Don’t use any scented soaps, bubble baths, or other types of soaps that contain excessive chemicals.
Skip the lotions
Lotions and creams may aggravate your baby’s skin and make the acne worse. If you have received cute hampers from friends and family with lotion bottles, resist the temptation to open them. Just give them away. Stick to pure, cold-pressed oils. Acne occurs when there is excessive sweat blocking the Srotas of the skin, or when Sweat glands are underdeveloped as is the case in babies. It worsens when there is the friction caused by tight clothing or synthetic fabric. As this is a pittaja condition, we are asked to take pitta pacifying measures and use pitta pacifying skin care herbs. The skin should not be further blocked using occlusive or barrier creams. Pitta balancing herbs like Usheera, Patranga, Nimba, and Shirisha can be used in a leap form. Skin healing herbs like Daruharidra, Arjuna and Lodhra, Manjishta help improve skin microcirculation and improve wound healing and support healthy cell regeneration. These can also be used in lepa form. Consult with an Ayurvedic Vaidya before you apply these.
Scrubbing the skin with a towel can further aggravate the skin. Instead, gently sweep a washcloth over the face in circular motions. Once the cleanser is washed off, use a towel to pat your baby’s face dry.
Avoid pinching or squeezing the acne. This will irritate your baby’s skin and may worsen the problem.