Baby acne? Yes, it is possible. Here’s what parents should know about the causes of baby acne and what to do about it.
What is baby acne?
Baby acne may cause pimples and whiteheads on your kid’s forehead and chin. Blackheads are very rare with babies. When a baby fusses, blood flow to his face makes those blemishes more visible.
Acne in babies may be caused by a hormonal connection between the child and mother just before the child’s birth. The body of the mother sends plenty of testosterone to her infant in the uterus to complete the maturation of the lungs. Generally, the effects of that testosterone on the skin are similar to those that develop during the pubertal period, except that they show up 3 to 4 weeks after the child’s birth. Usually, these blemishes disappeared by 3 to 4 months after.
There are about 20% of infants have this acne type known as neonatal acne. You may see it about two weeks old of the child, but it may develop any time before six weeks old. There are cases when the infant is born with acne.
If the newborn has acne, you may see breakouts on your infant’s cheeks and nose. Acne may also grow on the baby’s forehead, neck, chin, chest, scalp, or back.
Neonatal acne is usually nothing to worry about. This baby acne rarely results in scarring and tends to disappear on its own within a few week or months.
When baby acne is more than 6 weeks…
When acne grows after 6 weeks old, it is called infantile acne. This type of acne in babies tends to start within 3 to 6 months old.
When your baby starts to develop acne after he is 6 weeks old, it may be advisable to see and consult a pediatric dermatologist. Consultation with a licensed dermatologist is helpful so that you can:
- Be certain that it is just an “acne.” There other skin conditions that look like acne. Your baby may have a skin infection or eczema.
- Be confident that your baby is healthy. When acne starts after 6 weeks of age, it may be a sign of a health problem itself. Your child may need a thorough skin exam and sometimes a blood test, or even x-ray to evaluate the health condition of the baby.
- See if a skincare product is causing the acne or any skin issues. There are some babies who get acne from baby oil, soap, or ointment that may be irritating on your child’s skin.
- Prevent permanent acne scars. Newborn acne rarely causes scarring. Infantile acne tends to cause permanent acne scars. The dermatologist can help prevent this scarring.
Clearing usually takes up to 6 months to 1 year. There are other cases when children have acne for a longer period of time. It is also possible for acne to lasts through the child’s teen years.
What parents can do about baby acne?
The skin of an infant is so delicate and it scars easily. Avoid using “zit zappers” or any heating devices, red light, blue light, or suction device on the skin of your baby. Tea tree oil may upset the hormonal balances in your baby, and up to children of 13 years of age, especially the boys.
The best thing to do is to make sure your child has clean skin. Make sure that you wipe your baby’s face after feeding. Give your baby a regular bath.
If you are a new parent and is not sure what to do on your first baby, here some tips to provide your baby with anti-acne bath:
On bathing your baby
Baby’s body does not produce plenty of heat. They are also too small to hold a lot of heat. The first thing you need to prepare before giving a bath to your baby is to make sure that the room is warm, like between 75 to 77º F (or 24 to 25º C). It is important that your baby does not catch a chill.
Choose a comfortable place to bathe your baby. You may use the kitchen table, a changing table, or a kitchen counter. Remember to cover the place with a towel to catch the inevitable splashes of water.
Your baby does not need any diaper change before the start of the bath. Make sure that you have laid down all the things that you will need for your baby’s bath. You will need to have a basin to hold the baby and bath water. Choose the basin with back support for your baby. Use warm water – preferably at room temperature. The baby will need a fresh diaper and fresh baby clothes. You may also need a diaper change for the bath.
The washcloth should be soft. You will not need a bar of soap if you are cleaning the poop, snot, and throwing up. But if your baby is really dirty, consider using the Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Buttermilk Soap. Avoid using any baby product that is abrasive, scented, or sudsy (produces big bubbles that can damage the sensitive skin of a baby). Remove the baby’s clothing but not the diaper.
Safety during baby’s bath
Always remember that bathing the baby needs two hands. Hold the head of your baby above the water – at all times – with one hand, while bathing the baby with the other hand. Dip the washcloth in clean water before putting the baby in the bath. Make sure to place the bottom of your baby on the bottom of the basin filled with about 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 4cm) of water.
Continue to support the head of the baby. Begin the bathing by washing up the scalp, ears, nose, and his chin. Avoid getting water in the eyes of the baby. Protect his/her eyes with your hand, if it is needed. Work your way down to the diaper line. Then, clean his/her legs and toes.
On removing the baby’s diaper for cleaning
You are now ready to take off the diaper to make sure that the baby is clean all throughout. Wash the little girls in motion from front to back. This is to prevent bladder infections. Do not fuss about some vaginal discharge in little girls and circumcision scabs in a boy. Leave them and allow them to fall off naturally.
After the bath, take the baby off the basin and prepare him/her to dry off.
Follow the rhyme, “Pat a cake, pat a cake, baker’s man.” This rhyme being recited during the bath will remind you (and other adults who care for the babies) that their skin is gentle and has to be patted. Avoid rubbing. Just pat until it is dry. Always remember to make sure that the towel is warm and clean.
Oh, still worried about his acne?
We cannot scrub our babies’ acne, but we can help prevent new blemishes from developing. You may consider applying the Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment. You can get this as a complete baby kit.
If your baby has dry skin with whiteheads, try Shikai Borage Dry Skin Therapy Children’s Formula, which is safe for your baby’s skin.
Better yet, consult a dermatologist.