OMG! Your Baby Has Acne? – Check Out Our Best Tips!
Your baby skin needs only the best care and attention. Learn how to get rid of baby acne and know how to react in every situation!
If you ask me, or any woman for that matter, what's with all the fuss around skin care products and what do we want to achieve with them, you'll only get one answer: we want skin as smooth as that of a baby’s.
Oh to be young again! Blessed with supple, soft and fair skin that was never exposed to the heat of the sun, to stress, and other free radical damage-inducing factors.
To look as beautiful as we were many years back is always our goal because we can’t turn back time and become young again. The best thing we can do is to at least “recreate” our look when we were younger.
But when I met my newborn nephew a while back, I noticed that his skin was quite contrary to what I expected. Instead of blemish-free, flawless baby skin - the poor child had acne.
What Is Baby Acne?
Being the first ever nephew and newborn child that I’ve come across with, I panicked upon seeing him riddled with acne.
At first, I thought he had rashes, or perhaps nasty mosquitoes feasted on him. I was about to nag my cousin for her negligence when she told me that my nephew's skin condition was normal.
Yes, you read that right.
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions that can happen to anyone, including infants.
Now what exactly is baby acne?
Baby acne is similar to the acne that adolescents and even adults get. In the case of babies, it can either be simple red bumps or lesions that resemble whiteheads, complete with redness surrounding the zit.
Just like the acne that you and I get at some point in our lives, baby acne can develop on the face, especially on the cheeks, but can also appear on the shoulders, back, or butt.
Why Does My Baby Have Acne?
Just like adolescent and adult’s acne, there isn’t a single explanation on why baby acne happens.
The best answers to why do babies get acne are only assumptions by various skincare experts.
1. Leftover Hormones
“Leftover” hormones from the mother sometimes cause baby acne.
Some babies are born with baby acne, but usually, the skin condition becomes visible only two to three weeks after the child is born.
In my nephew’s case, he was blemish-free until he was three days short of his first month.
Mom’s supply their babies with everything for nine whole months: food, water, air, and yes, hormones.
The possibility of still having maternal hormones circulating inside your infant’s bloodstream is not far-fetched, and this might be causing the baby’s acne.
So if you're a mom, your leftover hormones may still be stimulating your baby’s oil glands, thus causing a breakout.
2. Sensitive Skin
Another factor for your little angel’s baby acne is his sensitive skin.
Babies are very fragile, and so is their skin.
In fact, even their saliva and the clothes they wear may cause them baby acne.
Make sure to wipe your baby’s drool, especially when smeared on their faces.
Your baby's actions can also show if the clothes he is wearing are causing him irritation. Clothing that is made from rough fabric can irritate his skin and cause breakouts.
Also, the laundry detergent you use to wash your baby’s clothes may be too harsh for his sensitive skin - so always choose one that is mild, hypoallergenic and is especially formulated for baby clothes.
Babies can also be sensitive internally. This means that whatever they take in can be causing an allergic reaction to their skin.
If you are breastfeeding your baby, whatever you eat gets passed on to him, so be careful if you are taking any medication as this may irritate your baby’s skin and thus cause acne.
4. The Environment!
Lastly, a baby is still a developing human being - mentally, emotionally, and of, course physically.
If adults like us have our adult pores clogged (partly because of what we put on our face, but mostly because of dirt and the surroundings), how much more a baby’s?
Your baby’s skin isn’t fully developed yet and may not have the natural protection it needs to ward off irritants and pollutants.
Therefore, the largest organ in your infant’s body can get easily infiltrated by dirt that causes it to breakout.
Is It Dangerous?
Acne is very common that about 80% of all people have it and around 40% of babies get it as well.
However, acne is rarely a cause for serious concern.
The most that acne can do to your baby is cause him irritation.
Baby acne can get really itchy and may even worsen if your baby is wearing clothes that are too rough or too tight.
What can make baby acne dangerous, though, is when it gets infected.
Acne can get easily infected, especially if dirt and bacteria are trapped under your pores. Since babies have sensitive skin, it is best to treat these infections immediately.
Your baby’s acne may be infected if it is swollen, appears in a darker shade of red, or worse, oozes with pus. If this is the case, bring your baby to your pediatrician immediately.
How Do I Know If My Baby Has Acne And Not Rashes?
Babies do not have the means to express themselves and tell us what they really feel.
For mothers this is extremely stressful because you can only guess what they are going through.
1. Baby Acne vs Millia
Baby acne is most commonly confused with another type of skin condition, milia.
To distinguish them, look at the color: baby acne is red and often has pustules, while milia is white and minuscule.
2. Baby Acne vs Rash
Baby acne can also be confused with heat rash, diaper rash, or even cradle cap.
You can tell what your baby is suffering from depending on the location of the rash.
Heat rash looks very similar to baby acne but it mostly appears on your baby’s arms, legs, and upper chest area.
This rash also moistens and usually comes in clusters unlike your baby acne that grows separately.
Diaper rash is, naturally, located in the diaper area, and is usually a large red patch on either or both of the cheeks of your baby’s buttocks.
Finally, cradle cap appears on your baby’s scalp and is yellowish and flaky. It almost resembles dandruff.
3. Baby Acne vs Eczema
What you may also confuse your baby’s acne with is eczema, which is a more serious skin condition.
Baby acne and eczema are both reddish, but with the latter your baby’s skin gets dry and flaky and the redness appears in patches.
Your baby cannot speak a word of complaint or pain, therefore it is best to always consult your doctor if you are unsure of what the bumps or redness on his skin may be.
How To Get Rid Of Baby Acne Naturally
Just like adult acne, baby acne heals in its own time.
Fortunately for babies as well, their acne does not leave a scar. So once it heals, it doesn't leave any blemish.
However, there are still ways to hasten the healing time of baby acne so that you can both enjoy your bonding time together comfortably.
In dealing with your baby’s acne, it's also a matter of what you should and should not do, in addition to what you can actually do.
What You Should Do
1. Monitor Your Diet
You should monitor your diet if you're an expectant mother, or one who is currently breastfeeding your baby.
Breastfeeding your baby is a good means of bonding with him. It is also a proven way to boost his immune system.
Everything that goes into your body—food, drink, medicine, vitamins—will be passed on to your infant when you give birth or breastfeed.
Monitor your diet and check if there is anything you are taking in that may be causing your baby's acne.
Refrain from eating oily food.
Not only is this not good for you and your heart, it can also aggravate your baby’s sensitive skin and cause his acne.
Also, drink lots of water.
Not only does it keep you hydrated, it also helps flush out toxins from your body which your little one could ingest through your breastmilk.
Lastly, include fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Not only will they help your skin glow, the vitamins and minerals that fruits and vegetables bring to your body can also help revitalize your baby’s skin and improve their digestion.
2. Wash Your Baby’s Face
Your baby’s sensitive skin can easily be clogged or infected causing your baby to breakout or get a more serious skin condition.
You can use warm water to wash your baby’s face gently. Afterwards, pat your baby's face dry with a cotton towel. Do not rub as the friction might irritate your baby’s skin.
Use a gentle-formulation soap when washing not just your baby’s face, but the entire body as well.
You may opt to use baby wipes or simply cotton balls soaked in warm water to make sure that no irritant or any harmful ingredient will damage your baby’s skin.
3. Keep Surrounding Areas, Garments, And Things Clean
This, of course, should be mandatory because, as we have mentioned earlier, babies are sensitive, developing little humans.
They do not have strong immune systems that will help combat diseases yet. Hence, the first few months will be crucial as your baby may contract airborne irritants, some of which may cause baby acne.
Create a safe and healthy environment by keeping the surroundings clean.
The garments that you use on your baby should also be washed regularly and rinsed properly.
Use a mild detergent and refrain from using fabric conditioners which can be irritating on your baby’s sensitive skin.
4. Have Patience
In your quest to get rid of baby acne, it is important that you have enough patience.
Even without applying anything special, your little one’s acne will heal on its own — just like your acne or mine.
If you are bothered by your baby's acne, just bear in mind that experimenting with pimple solutions may only worsen his skin condition.
If you have doubts on your baby’s skin problem, consult your doctor first.
What You Should Not Do:
1. Allow Your Baby To Touch The Affected Area
Even as adults, we are always advised to refrain from touching our zits. I know how tempting it is to pop a pimple, but doing so won’t end the problem.
While you can control yourself from touching your acne, your baby can't.
To keep your child from grabbing his face and touching the acne, you may cover his tiny hands with mittens.
2. Dress Your Baby Uncomfortably
Always remember to put yourself in your baby's tiny shoes.
If a certain type of clothing makes you hot, then your baby will most likely feel the same way in them, too.
Do not dress your baby in pajamas or long sleeves when the weather is warm and humid.
While your baby's protection from insect bites is of utmost importance, accumulating sweat in hot clothing at his age is not advisable.
Let your baby’s skin breathe.
Part of the reason why your baby has acne is because of sweat and dirt that are clogging his pores.
3. Use Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medicine or Products
I know it must be tempting to just go to the drugstore and buy any topical cream that promises to help get rid of zits fast as they are easily available OTC, but please, DON’T.
Even lotions and other oil-based creams are not recommended for your baby because they might just further clog the pores or aggravate his tender skin.
Always consult your dermatologist or pediatrician if you need to use medication in dealing with your baby’s acne.
What You Can Do:
You can also use some ingredients that are readily available at home.
Of course the best option is to always consult your doctor first, but if they allow you to use these ingredients, then go ahead!
1. Breast Milk
They say that no formula can ever replace a mother’s breast milk and there is no doubt about that.
Afterall, your breastmilk is designed to meet the specific needs of your baby.
It protects his body from infections, common diseases, and even reduces the risk of more serious ones such as cardiovascular problems and diabetes.
Breastmilk also gives you benefits, particularly in losing your pregnancy weight. It is readily available when your baby needs it, and most importantly, comes for free.
Your breast milk is rich in lauric acid, an antimicrobial, antibacterial, and hormone- balancing ingredient. Hence, your baby’s acne will dry up quickly as lauric acid fights off and stops the growth of acne-causing bacteria.
When using breast milk, it’s very simple: just dab your breast milk on the affected area after cleaning it with warm water. Do this until the baby acne dries up.
2. Honey and Lemon
Lemon is a known natural remedy for acne. It helps reduce excess oil that clogs up your pores because it contains citric acid, which has antibacterial properties. It even reduces redness and swelling caused by acne.
Honey, on the other hand, is an antiseptic that can help fight off bacterial infection in acne while soothing and calming your skin.
If these two natural ingredients work fine for you, then they will most certainly do their magic for your baby.
Just mix a teaspoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of the honey to make a paste. This amount is advised because your baby’s sensitive skin may dry up easily.
Apply the mixture to the washed affected area using a cotton swab and leave on for up to thirty minutes before washing off completely.
You may do this for at least once or twice a week only.
A staple in anyone’s kitchen, vinegar can help you deal with your baby's acne.
Vinegar is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and can help absorb excess oil.
Using vinegar will reduce the swelling of your baby’s acne to a minimum while treating any form of bacterial infection on the area.
Also, the excess oil that may be clogging your baby’s sensitive pores can be reduced and absorbed by vinegar, thus reducing the risk of further baby acne breakout.
Now, you might be wondering if the acidity of vinegar is okay for your baby’s sensitive skin?
Well, the answer is NO.
Hence, we suggest that you never use pure vinegar on your baby’s skin. Instead, dilute a tablespoon of vinegar with around ten tablespoons of water.
Apply it on your baby’s skin with a cotton swab and leave it on for only a minute. Then, rinse with mild soap and warm water immediately.
The Bottom Line
Your baby is, no doubt, the most precious thing on earth to you, and you wouldn’t hesitate to do anything in this world to provide him utmost comfort, care, and love.
Even the littlest of things will worry you when it concerns your baby. So when dealing with skin problems that affect your baby, such as baby acne, it is important for you to be proactive.
Sure, your baby is beautiful no matter what, but those zits shouldn’t be on his face—at least, not yet.
We hope that through this guide we answered your questions about baby acne and gave you a means to at least squash one of your many worries.
After all, you will still be worrying about your child’s acne, but not until he is at the onset of puberty.