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Why Your Baby Has Acne and What to Do About It logo 8/23/2019 Paula Kashtan
a baby holding a teddy bear: baby-boy-stuffie-baby-acne © Provided by RockYou Media(; baby-boy-stuffie-baby-acne

Infants have smooth skin, right? After all, the phrase “baby soft” had to come from somewhere.

Well, not necessarily. Acne is actually common in newborns, and often starts soon after they’re born. As mom Claire Swinarski told, seeing little pimples on a baby’s face can be quite a surprise. “I thought we weren’t washing his face well enough, but it turns out that’s perfectly normal.” So, mom: Take a deep breath, cuddle your little one, and read on to get the whole story about baby acne.

Neonatal acne

Neonatal acnetends to show up when babies are around 2 weeks old but can appear anytime between birth and 6 weeks, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It affects about 20% of babies and isn’t something you should be worried about. Neonatal acne looks like little pink bumps and sometimes pus-filled blisters. It is most common on the face, but breakouts can occur on your baby’s scalp, back, chest, and neck. It is believed to be a reaction to a naturally occurring yeast on the skin, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

“The best thing to do for baby acne is to keep the face clean,” Dr. Susan Bayliss, pediatric dermatologist at St. Louis Children's Hospital, noted on the hospital's website. Practicing general proper hygiene will also help: Just wash your baby’s face every day using warm water and, if you’d like, a milk soap. Topical anti-yeast shampoo or cream can also help. By month three or four, your baby’s skin should clear up.

Infantile acne

a close up of a baby: baby-face-irritation © Provided by RockYou Media(; baby-face-irritation If acne starts showing up after your baby is 6 weeks old and presents more like blackheads and whiteheads, you’re looking at infantile acne.

In this situation, though it’s probably not anything to be too worried about, it’s still a good idea to pay a visit to your doctor (or a pediatric dermatologist of their recommendation). They can make sure it’s actually acne and not another skin condition, rule out any more serious health problems, figure out if any of the skin products you’re using are causing the situation, and, in serious cases, prevent permanent scarring.

For the most part, though, your main job will be simply avoiding picking at your baby’s pimples. “Few cases need treatment, and don't pop 'em!” Dr. Jack Maypole, a pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, told

Natural remedies

a close up of a baby: oil-baby © Provided by RockYou Media(; oil-baby Worried about your baby’s skin, but just as worried about using any chemicals on it? Try one of these natural remedies for baby acne. (Just make sure to run it by your pediatrician first.)

  • Calendula Oil: This essential oil comes from marigold flowers, and is full of great properties: It's antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial. In addition to soothing your baby’s skin, the antibacterial properties can also help prevent any infections.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Simply stir apple cider vinegar into equal parts water, and dab onto your baby’s acne. More than one mom swears by it!
  • Witch Hazel: Inflammation is a big part of the problem when it comes to baby acne, so diluted witch hazel can be a big help. Definitely make sure you talk to your pediatrician before using it. If you get the go-ahead, mix the solution with water and use a cotton ball to put it wherever there’s a problem. Avoid getting it on any other areas of your baby’s skin.
  • Cornstarch: Mixing cornstarch and water can dry out baby acne, which will help it clear up more quickly. It’s important to make sure that your baby’s acne isn’t related to dry skin if you’re using this method, though, as it can further irritate that particular issue.
  • Organic Detergent: Sometimes, a baby’s skin can be irritated by the laundry detergent you use. If this is the case for your little one, look for a gentle organic detergent that doesn’t have dyes or other harsh chemicals.

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