Baby acne, sometimes called neonatal acne is a common skin condition that affects around 20% of newborn babies. It often develops at around 3 weeks old and is characterized by a rash made up of an outbreak of small white pimples surrounded by reddened skin. It is most usually found on the baby’s cheeks but can also be on the forehead and chin or even the back in rarer cases.
Although this can be very worrying especially to new parents, this is a perfectly harmless condition and does not require a specific baby acne treatment because it will usually clear up on its own.
However, keeping the area clean and washing with a very mild soap will avoid further irritation and you should be careful not to wash laundry in strong detergents, which will further aggravate the baby’s already sensitive skin.
Baby acne symptoms
Baby acne can look disturbing, especially if the baby becomes cross or fretful – which causes the rash to show up and become red and angry looking, but generally, the appearance should be minimal when the baby is calm or sleeping.
It can be frustrating for some parents who may be distressed at the sight of blemishes on otherwise perfect skin but the condition will disappear in its own time and they must just learn to be patient. There is baby acne treatment available but medical advice is to wait for the condition to clear up.Causes of baby acne
The exact causes of baby acne are unknown. Many experts believe that it comes from the hormones that the mother passes to baby during the later stages of development. These hormones are passed on via the placenta and help the baby survive outside the womb because they stimulate vital processes such as lung development. It is believed that baby acne is simply an excess of these vital hormones.
Another possible cause of the condition is medication or food taken by the mother during the late stages of pregnancy and passed in the same way.
Best way to treat baby acne
The best baby acne treatment you can give is to leave it alone! It is a perfectly normal condition that should clear up on its own within 4 months and it does not cause the baby any discomfort.
The affected area should be kept clean so that the pores are allowed to breathe but that is all. You should not use lotions or skin treatments on the baby’s skin because they will be too harsh for young skin and will do far more damage than good.
If the rash does not clear up within three months you may wish to consult your doctor or health visitor.