Acne: The bane of every teen’s existence. The mere presence of the word may bring back memories of your middle and high school years.
As a new parent, acne probably won’t be on your mind for a while, but did you know infants can struggle with acne? The prospect of your little one having this skin condition could be worrying and leave you with questions about a baby acne treatment.
In this article, we’ll give you the rundown on baby acne and explain baby acne treatment options.
What Causes Baby Acne?
The acne that impacts your child in the early stages of their life differs depending on their age. Newborns experience neonatal acne, while infantile acne could affect your child as they grow a little older.
If you see acne show up during the first few weeks of your child’s life, don’t worry. Many babies experience neonatal acne, and it is completely normal.
Neonatal acne may resemble the appearance of typical acne, but it will not cause your baby any pain or discomfort. These red blemishes will appear as concentrated bumps across your baby’s skin or individual spots.
It’s more common to see acne on your child’s face, but it can appear on their chest, abdomen, arms, and legs. While its similar appearance may have you searching for a baby acne treatment, baby acne isn’t what you experience in your youth.
Typical acne breakouts stem from clogged pores on your face, and hormones released during puberty can exacerbate this. However, baby acne does not have a concrete cause and may develop from residual hormones following birth.
If your child develops acne past the newborn stage, they have infantile acne. While it shouldn’t be a cause for concern, reach out to your pediatrician if you begin to notice acne after they’re six weeks old.
Infantile acne typically isn’t painful, but severe cases can cause minor scarring. A doctor will help you determine if your child struggles with acne and offer a baby acne treatment.
What about Milia or Eczema?
Milia and eczema are two other skin conditions that many young babies have, but they are different than baby acne.
While milia may resemble acne pimples, the white bumps are harmless. Milia occurs when dead skin cells become stuck under a baby’s developing skin. Milia typically clears up after a few months, so you shouldn’t think twice if you see some pop up on your baby’s face.
If your baby has eczema, you may notice red dry patches on their body. Many babies struggle with eczema, but they could grow out of it as they age.
However, it can be easy to confuse the initial appearance of eczema with acne. Reach out to your baby’s doctor if you see anything new appear on your child’s skin. They can determine the cause of your child’s skin condition and suggest a relevant treatment.
Are there Baby Acne Treatment Options?
Having a newborn is nerve-wracking already, and baby acne could frighten you at first. While it's common, you may still want to know about possible baby acne treatments.
Typically, you shouldn’t have to turn toward a baby acne treatment unless your doctor says otherwise. In fact, it will probably clear up a few weeks after you first spot it. However, if you’re interested in trying out a baby acne treatment, here are some things you should know.
Regularly Clean Your Baby’s Face
Your baby doesn’t need an intricate skincare routine, but cleaning your child’s face is an efficient baby acne treatment. Just stay away from harsh soaps and chemicals.
Instead, only use warm water and a soft washcloth. Newborns won’t require any soap or shampoo for their first few baths, and you shouldn’t wash your baby more than three times a week.
If your baby is old enough, you can introduce unscented soaps to their bathing routine, but avoid getting these around their eyes and mouth.
Steer Clear of Heavily Scented Items
While it's unlikely that you’ll begin using scented soaps or lotions on your newborn, avoiding these options is another possible baby acne treatment. This won’t cure the acne, but using unscented products sparingly will ensure you won’t accidentally irritate any existing acne.
Gentle products could help clear up baby acne, but consult with your doctor before you begin washing your child’s face with anything other than warm water.
Clothe Your Baby in Soft and Breathable Fabrics
Because baby acne can occur anywhere on your child’s body, the clothing your baby wears matters. Scratchy and rough fabrics could irritate the acne on your baby’s skin.
Until the acne clears up, stick to cotton clothing. Soft fabrics won’t irritate the acne, so choosecotton socks and onesies to keep your little one comfortable.
Wait it Out
While it can be hard to sit by, the most effective baby acne treatment is time. Baby acne shouldn't last longer than a couple of weeks, so you can rest easy knowing this is temporary.
Consult with your child’s doctor if your baby continues to experience acne. Your doctor may prescribe medication to combat any lingering blemishes.
Use Prescribed Medicated Creams
If your doctor prescribes your child a medicated cream, follow all of the instructions and use it correctly. While medicine is not typically necessary, you can decide with your doctor if this would be a helpful baby acne treatment for your child.
Never use an over-the-counter cream to treat your baby’s acne. Many of these products are not formulated for young children and only work for adults. To avoid causing a reaction, leave these products on the shelf.
The Bottom Line About Baby Acne Treatment
Because it goes away on its own, a true baby acne treatment may not exist. You can always approach your doctor with any concerns, and they can work with you to find the right option for your little one.
If your child develops acne after birth, try not to worry! It is painless, and many children experience it during the first weeks of their lives. Baby acne is normal, and you should see an improvement in no time.