Alternatively known as neonatal acne, baby acne is a common skin condition that occurs in about 20 percent of all newborns. It generally appears in the form of pimples, tiny red or white bumps, and whiteheads on the baby’s face and body. The good news is that the condition is usually temporary and will go away on its own within three to four months.
Baby acne is not to be confused for infantile acne, where blackheads, cysts, and nodules occur. Infantile acne happens much less frequently and tends to be more inflammatory in nature.
It remains unclear why baby acne occurs. Some researchers believe that it is due to maternal or infant hormones as, for the first few weeks of their lives, newborns still have a lot of their mothers’ hormones circulating in their systems, which could cause the acne.
Baby acne might get more pronounced if your baby is crying, which, of course, is inevitable. Fabrics that are rougher in texture could irritate your baby’s sensitive and delicate skin too. The same goes for drool and vomit that have not been cleaned off thoroughly.
A paediatrician might prescribe medicated creams or ointments if your baby’s acne is stubborn and long-persisting. It is best to avoid over-the-counter treatments, scented soaps, lotions and face washes as these could worsen and irritate your baby’s acne even further. Products containing retinoids, which are commonly used to treat adult acne, are also not recommended for babies.
Always consult a trusted paediatrician instead of attempting to treat the baby acne on your own. The acne is neither painful nor itchy for your baby, and is, in fact, quite harmless.