You can hardly take your eyes off your baby’s sweet face. The delicate and blemish free-skin is so kissable that you wish the softness remains like that forever. But one fine morning you spot pimples or red bumps on the baby’s face and neck surrounded by reddish skin. You freak out on the thought that the baby is having some skin allergy. But wait. This is nothing but ‘Baby Acne”.
Baby acne are small pimples or bumps on the baby’s face (especially cheeks), neck and sometimes back that appears a few weeks after the birth. In some cases, whiteheads may also develop along with the acne. Otherwise called neonatal acne, baby acne occurs in about 20% of newborns.
What Causes Baby Acne?
The exact cause of baby acne is not known. But it is very common and is found in both breastfed and formula-fed babies. Few of the factors that trigger baby acne could be
- Maternal hormones: The hormones that are produced in the mother’s body during pregnancy get passed on to the baby. These hormones remain in the baby’s bloodstream and cause an increased oil production. In addition to this, the sweat glands of the baby are not fully developed. Both factors together can trigger acne.
Sometimes, the hormones get passed on to the baby through breastmilk. But you should not stop breastfeeding the baby just because he/she has acne. This is a temporary phase, and the acne will disappear in due course of time.
- Medication: If the mother takes any medication during breastfeeding, then it will get passed on to the baby through breast milk. Similarly, if the baby is under any medication it can also trigger acne.
- Yeast: Yeast that lives on the baby’s skin also trigger baby acne. Baby’s skin is very delicate, and when yeast colonizes on the delicate skin, it leads to acne.
- Imbalance of probiotics: Probiotic bacteria are good bacteria that are present in the human gut. Babies start developing these bacteria even when they are in the womb and continue to develop the same even after birth. When babies are too small, their gut is not fully developed and may not have the right mix of probiotic bacteria. This can sometimes trigger acne. Make sure to include probiotics in your diet, read more about the importance of probiotics for babies and toddlers.
Baby acne becomes more pronounced when the baby is fussy or crying. Vomit or saliva that stays on the baby’s face can aggravate the acne.
How Long Does the Acne Last?
Baby acne usually appears for only a few weeks. But some linger close to a month. If the acne does not disappear even after three months, then you should consult the doctor. He/she may prescribe medication depending on the severity of the acne.
Does Baby Acne Hurt or Itch?
The typical baby acne that is caused by maternal hormones usually go away with time and do not hurt, itch or cause any discomfort. However, if the rash is accompanied of fever and you feel that your little one is simply a little fussier and not willing to eat as they normally do, then it is time to look for a doctor. In this case, the rash may be caused by something else and proper medical care should be taken.
Is Baby Acne Contagious?
The most common type of baby rash, caused by maternal hormones, is not contagious. That being said, keep an eye on your baby’s general wellbeing. As we said before, if it comes with other symptoms, you should look for some medical advise.
Can baby acne be caused by formula?
Due to how delicate your baby skin is, any form of food may aggravate baby skin rash. Therefore, baby formula may make it worst but it is most commonly not the cause for baby acne.
Home Remedies for Baby Skin Problems
Applying medication on the soft and delicate baby skin is not acceptable for many. For those who want to try simple home remedies to control baby acne here are a few tips.
- Apply Apple Cider Vinegar: Mix equal quantity of apple cider vinegar and water and apply it on the face with cotton ball. Wipe and rinse clean. Before applying this solution, it is best to consult with your doctor whether it is advisable for your baby’s skin type.
- Use diluted, witch Hazel: Witch hazel is a natural astringent that can clear oil from the skin. Select an alcohol-free variety and apply it on the baby’s face with cotton ball. Wipe and rinse the face.
- Include probiotic in the diet: Breastfeeding mothers should make sure that they take probiotic rich food like curd so that the baby also gets enough probiotic through milk. You can also take probiotic supplement after consulting your doctor. Probiotic in liquid form can be mixed with the baby’s milk. Powdered probiotic can be directly put on the nipple while feeding the baby.
We wrote a small probiotics cookbook with 10 yummy probiotics recipes for you to include some healthy bacteria in your family’s diet. It is totally free.
Read about more tips on how to take care of your baby’s skin here.
Do’s and Don’ts While Dealing with Baby Acne
- Do not use medicines that are available over the counter. Products that contain Vitamin A and erythromycin might be effective for adult acne. But baby’s skin is very delicate and medicines with the above ingredients may not be suited for their skin.
- Make sure that the baby is not over-dressed so that there is no excessive sweating.
- Do not apply oil or any cream on the face that might aggravate the problem.
- The PH level of baby’s skin is delicately balanced. Thus, if you use soap or any other cleaning agent with excessive chemical, then it can disturb the PH balance. Thus, it is best to use these products to the minimum and wash the baby with plain water.
- Do not scrub the face with a towel as it can sometimes break the acne. Always pat the face dry with a clean towel.
- Do not pinch or squeeze the acne.
- Make sure that the baby’s face is always kept clean. You can use fragrance and chemical free soap for washing the baby.
Baby acne is usually harmless and will not affect the baby in any way. But if pus appears or the baby is experiencing pain or discomfort because of acne, it is advisable to see a doctor. Depending on the condition, the doctor may prescribe medication. If the acne is severe, then the doctor might prescribe antibiotic cream or ointment so that it does not leave a permanent scar on the face.
We also wrote a post about baby diaper rash where many of same tips apply. Make sure you read that if your little one suffers from this condition.