You have noticed a few tiny red pimples on your baby’s face just when you have planned for your baby ‘s photo shoot. Don’t worry even I have been there. So we usually have the baby’s naming ceremony after 28 days of birth and I had planned for a grand celebration. I invited all my friends and relatives home. Well on the 28th day when I woke up and saw my son’s face I saw few red pimples. I thought probably it will go once I give him a good sponge bath. To my surprise towards the evening when all my guests started arriving, my son’s pimples just remained as it was or may be a little worse. But what can we do.
Baby acne is a very common and a temporary skin condition. It usually starts by 2 to 3 weeks of age and they resolve on its own without any treatment.
What causes Baby Acne?
Just like how adolescents get acne and we attribute it to their hormonal fluctuations similarly in babies it is believed to be due to hormonal changes. Well not theirs but their mother’s. The mother’s hormones which are still circulating in the baby’s blood are responsible for the same. The maternal hormones stimulates the baby’s oil producing glands and cause these pimples to arise either on their chin, forehead, eye lids, cheek, head, neck back and upper chest.
A baby’s skin is still not developed and is extremely sensitive. They are more prone to infiltration by dirt and other foreign particles which can cause acne.
Baby Acne Symptoms
- Just like in adolescents, you will notice a red elevated lesion or bump.
- White head or pustules will be seen
- Skin around the pimple will usually be red
- They can have acne anywhere but most of the babies get it on their cheeks.
- The acne becomes more prominent when the baby is crying or fussing.
- If the bed spread or cloth is rough it can irritate and trigger the skin further.
- Vomit and saliva if not cleaned properly frequently sticks to the skin for a longer duration and makes their sensitive skin prone to infection thus resulting in acne formation.
Home Treatment for Baby Acne:
Like I said it usually resolves by itself but there are a couple of home remedies that you could follow.
Face clean: make it a point to clean your baby’s face regularly with warm water. I would say you don’t mandatorily need to use anything additional. Just simple warm water will do. But if you wish to then you can add a mild soap or a soap free cleanser. Fragrance free products generally don’t irritate the skin.
Chemicals: avoid any sort of chemicals on the baby’s face. Avoid scented soaps. Bubble baths, strong lotions or creams or even products with retinoid that are useful for adult acne are not recommended for babies.
Lotions: if you are someone who applies lotions regularly for your baby I would recommend you to skip them till the acne subsides or switch to a milder lotion after consulting your pediatrician or dermatologist.
Don’t scrub: don’t rub the face with a towel. It will only further aggravate the acne. Take a soft wash cloth and wipe it over the face in a circular fashion gently.
Avoid squeezing: try not to squeeze or pinch the acne. You will only be hurting the baby and aggravating the skin problem.
Don’t worry: you might wonder if that acne is really troubling or hurting your little one. Well let me tell you baby acne are harmless. They are not itchy or painful to your baby. It will resolve on its own.
How long does Baby Acne last?
It again depends for some kids it may last for 2 to 4 weeks after it has come while for some I will last till they are 3 to 4 months old. I know it might seem like a long time but don’t worry this too shall pass.
When to Consult a Doctor?
Like I said most of them go on its own without any intervention or may be along with a little home care from your side most babies should be fine. But however I would recommend you to consult your doctor if you notice the following changes. :
- Skin appears extra red
- Swelling or discharge from the pimple
- Suspect an allergic reaction or eczema
- Bacterial infection of the skin: in that case it is important for them to be started on antibiotic so that they don’t have a permanent scar.
Differential diagnosis for Baby Acne
At times it is possible to get confused with other skin conditions. So I am just briefing out few skin conditions that look similar to acne but are different.
Milia– a lot of parents confuse acne with milia. Baby acne looks like red pimples but milia are tiny white bumps or white head.
Diaper rash: this happens when there is lack of air circulation, too much moisture, irritants. The skin around the baby’s diaper area will appear red, tender
Cradle cap: this is mostly seen on the head and may rarely spread to the eye brows and upper torso. The lesions are smaller than acne and are surrounded by yellow flaky skin that resembles scales.
Infant eczema: this is most commonly seen around the cheeks and on the scalp. The skin appears dry, flaky and usually seen in patches. The rash gradually progresses to form fluid filled pimples that readily pop later on. Eczema needs to be treated promptly or else it can lead to scabbing and oozing.