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Top Tips to Help with Baby Acne

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Article by:

Cara Dumaplin

RN, BSN, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant

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newborn with baby acne

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Have you heard of baby acne? Or maybe you are wondering if your newborn has baby acne? Baby acne can be common, so let’s talk about it.

Even though I have twenty years of experience as a nurse, please know that this blog is not medical advice. My goal is to give you a brief understanding of baby acne and some practical tips on what to do to help it. Please talk with your doctor about this and all other medical concerns.

What is baby acne?anchor

Baby acne typically looks like small red bumps on a newborn’s skin that appear between 2 to 6 weeks. We usually see baby acne primarily on a  baby’s face, but sometimes it does show up on their scalp as well.

Is baby acne normal? anchor

I know it can be upsetting to see your baby with these red bumps. I want to reassure you: baby acne is common and normal in newborns. True baby acne is not harmful to your little one, but it’s always a good idea to consult your pediatrician with any concerns you have.

I’d love to show you an example.

Why do babies get baby acne?anchor

Doctors aren’t sure why babies get acne. Some think hormones may play a role – mostly mom’s hormones, not baby’s – but the medical community truly doesn’t understand why exactly it happens.

Please know baby acne is different from the acne we see in teens and adults. This is why the treatment for baby acne is not the same as what you may have done for your teenage acne.

What can you do to help baby acne?anchor

Baby acne will naturally clear up on its own. The most important thing we can do is be patient. 

Here are a few other things you can try to help baby acne:

  • During bath time, gently wash your baby’s face with a clean washcloth & water.

  • Pat your baby’s face dry gently after washing (remember, don’t rub).

  • When your baby spits up, clean their face well so the spit-up is not sitting on their skin.

Does breastmilk help with baby acne?anchor

It’s possible. Some doctors may tell you to dab breast milk on the affected areas – and it might work. Try applying expressed milk on clean, dry skin. You may see that it clears up a bit faster.

What should you avoid doing for baby acne?anchor

Because baby acne is completely different from the acne seen at other times in life, there are several things we want to avoid doing when we see baby acne:

  • Don’t pinch, squeeze, pick, or rub baby acne.

  • Don’t use acne treatment or other facial treatments.

  • Don’t use creams or lotions.

  • Don’t use scented baby washes or soap.

When will baby acne go away?anchor

Baby acne will naturally resolve on its own in a few weeks. I know that some parents worry, but I want you to know that baby acne doesn’t leave any scarring behind like adolescent acne can.

Talk with your pediatrician if you see any swelling, discharge, or fever along with the bumps. Also be sure to check with your doctor if you’re concerned that what you are seeing is something more like eczema or you're worried the baby acne isn’t getting better.

Can I give you one more tip? Keep taking those pictures! Your baby is SO beautiful even with that baby acne.

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