Baby Acne

Acne is a problem that is commonly discussed among teens and less frequently between adults. But newborns? The truth is that baby acne is another frequent form of acne that usually hits little ones in their first few weeks of life. While it is not particularly attractive, it is rarely serious and usually doesn't even require a visit to the doctor. This article will provide the basics of baby acne to help new parents know how to deal with this sometimes upsetting, but usually temporary condition.

What is Baby Acne?

Baby acne is occasionally present at birth, but more often presents when the newborn is between two and four weeks of age. Most medical experts believe the condition is caused by hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. It is seen more frequently in boys than girls. The condition is generally characterized by small red bumps on the baby's skin, which will look worse if the baby is fussy or crying. It will most commonly develop on the forehead, chin and cheeks. If the bumps are white and appeared at birth, it is more than likely a condition known as milia, not baby acne. Both of these conditions will usually go away without treatment within a few weeks or months.

How is Baby Acne Treated?

There is no treatment necessary for baby acne. The condition will nearly always go away on its own within a few weeks to months. Some parents will make the mistake of thinking the acne is due to dirt on the skin, so they will bump up the number of washings their baby receives. This process often has the opposite effect, by irritating baby's skin and even causing more breakouts to occur. The best course of action for baby acne is to gently clean baby's skin once or twice a day with a soft washcloth and warm water. Applying any sort of topical agent or lotion may make the condition worse.

Calling the Doctor

Many new parents will call the doctor at the first sign of baby acne. Baby acne can be diagnosed by a visual exam and no further tests or treatments are usually necessary. If your baby's skin has not cleared within three months, it is a good idea to see your doctor. You can also make an appointment if your baby's breakouts have other features, such as scaly skin or a rash, particularly if they occur on other parts of the body. These symptoms usually indicate another type of skin condition, such as cradle cap or eczema. In some cases, a topical solution may be needed to clear up the skin.

Baby acne may not be the most attractive part of your newborn's life, but it is rarely a sign of a more serious condition. The best thing you can do to deal with baby acne is to continue to care for your baby's skin as you normally would and wait for the acne to clear on its own. Rest assured most acne cases will not return until your child is well into his teen years.