How to get rid of baby acne
Time to read 7 min
Time to read 7 min
As noted above, baby acne is a harmless and very common condition among infants that closely resembles acne in teenagers or adults.
The American Academy of Dermatology divides acne into two categories:
Newborn acne (otherwise known as neonatal acne). This affects 20 percent of newborns and typically develops between the ages of two and six weeks. In some cases, a baby may be born with acne.
Infantile acne. This condition typically arises between the ages of three and six months. This type of acne may be slightly more complicated than newborn acne. In some cases, parents may mistake another condition (such as milia, eczema, heat rash, or allergies) for baby acne. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to consult your pediatrician or a pediatric dermatologist if your child develops acne after the age of three months.
Just like in older populations, newborn acne manifests as breakouts on a baby’s skin. Most commonly, these breakouts will show up on a newborn’s cheeks, nose, and/or forehead.
They tend to look like small red or white bumps, and the skin around these bumps may appear reddish. The acne may become more inflamed when your baby is fussing or crying.
In some cases, baby acne may appear on the back, scalp, chest, or other parts of the body.
While it can be a little alarming to see breakouts on your infant’s face or body, it’s helpful to remember that newborn acne is generally a harmless and temporary condition.
The acne will typically clear up on its own within a few weeks or months, and it rarely causes scarring.
Luckily, you can help speed up the healing time with some simple steps and even help prevent acne all together. We’ll touch more on that information in the following sections.
Even though the condition is very common, researchers still haven’t determined exactly what causes baby acne.
In spite of this uncertainty, there are several theories floating around. Some sources suggest it might be caused by the transfer of hormones from the mother to the baby prior to birth, by the presence of yeast on the skin’s surface, or by the fact that babies’ pores are undeveloped and may not be fully equipped to fend off pimple-causing bacteria.
Others suggest that certain medications (taken either by the infant or by a breastfeeding mother) may increase the likelihood of a baby developing acne. Still others speculate that an imbalance in gut flora may be to blame.
No matter the cause, natural treatment and prevention strategies may help speed up this process.
Here are some of the best ways to help treat acne on your baby’s face:
1. Don’t squeeze or pop pimples.
Tempting as it may be, popping your baby’s pimples will only provoke skin irritation and increase the risk of infection, thereby escalating the problem. Popping pimples also increases the risk of scarring, so resist the urge to squeeze.
2. Clean your baby’s face regularly.
Use warm (not hot) water and a mild, moisturizing soap (or no soap at all) to wash your baby’s face once a day. This will help keep their pores clean and remove spit-up and saliva, which can irritate acne if it stays on the face. (If your baby has spit-up or saliva on their face and it isn’t time yet for their daily face cleaning, gently wash it off right away with lukewarm water.)
Make sure not to scrub at the acne with a towel or other abrasive product.Pat dry instead of rubbing at your baby’s face to help avoid additional irritation.
3. Use a gentle moisturizer or balm.
Experts strongly suggest avoiding products that might clog your baby’s pores and opting for light, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and natural ingredients instead.
Our Organic Super Balm for Damaged Skin is designed to soothe inflamed and irritated skin without the use of harsh chemicals or medications. It’s packed with gentle, calming ingredients such as chamomile extract, sunflower oil, calendula oil, coconut oil, and beeswax.
It’s also USDA Certified Organic, cruelty-free, and free of parabens, perfumes, toxins, and mineral oil.
The ingredients in this potent natural formula have been shown to help:
Improve healthy blood circulation to the skin
Soothe itchy, dry skin
Naturally combat microbial infections
Boost skin recovery and strengthen skin fibers
Best of all, your baby can enjoy these benefits without being exposed to harsh or potentially harmful chemicals. This hypoallergenic cream is suitable and effective for damaged, sensitive skin.
Here are the results from a mother following our advice and using our Super Balm on her 3 week old baby in just two days:
4. Avoid adult acne treatments.
While there are plenty of over-the-counter face washes, lotions, and other products meant to treat acne, these products are formulated for teenagers and adults and are generally too harsh for babies’ skin. For this reason, it’s important to avoid using any acne treatment unless under the direct supervision of a pediatrician or pediatric dermatologist.
5. Avoid rough fabrics and harsh detergents.
Scratchy, rough fabrics can irritate acne and prolong healing. Same goes for detergents that are packed with artificial fragrances and other potentially harmful or irritating chemicals. Try to avoid exposing your child to these products by opting for soft bedding and clothing and using a natural, fragrance-free detergent.
6. Consider probiotic supplements.
There’s some evidence probiotics may help your baby’s immune system fight off acne (or at least help prevent the acne from getting worse). Probiotics may also reduce inflammation and calm skin cells. For these reasons, it may be worth consulting your pediatrician to see if breastfeeding mothers should consider upping their probiotic intake or if it’s possible to otherwise increase your baby’s exposure to probiotics.
7. Make it harder for your baby to scratch.
If your baby finds their acne irritating, they may develop a habit of rubbing or scratching at the acne, which can inflame the condition and make things worse. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep your baby’s nails trimmed short. You may even find that it’s helpful to put soft cotton gloves on their hands if they simply can’t stop swiping at the acne.
The treatment for baby acne that appears on your child’s body is very similar to the best treatment strategies for acne that shows up on the face. To that end:
Do not squeeze or pop the pimples.
Clean your child’s body once a day using a gentle soap or no soap at all.
Consider using a natural, soothing balm such as our Organic Healing Balm.
Do not scrub or rub at the acne; instead, pat-dry your child’s skin with a clean towel.
Do not use acne treatments meant for teenagers or adults.
Keep your infant’s nails trimmed short and/or outfit them with cotton gloves if they have developed a habit of scratching at the acne.
Additionally, it may be helpful to avoid clothing or swaddling your baby too tightly. Tight-fitted fabrics decrease air circulation to the skin, which can make it easier for skin conditions to fester. Opt for looser fitting, breathable fabrics instead.
If your baby’s acne isn’t going away or you’re otherwise concerned about their skin, it’s important to consult your pediatrician or a pediatric dermatologist to determine the best next steps for your infant.
Also remember to be patient as you attempt to treat your baby’s acne; even though it could take a while, the condition will go away eventually.
There is no way to guarantee that an infant won’t develop baby acne, but there are several steps parents can take to improve their child’s skin health and develop skin care habits that will promote healthier skin over the long-term.
To that end, consider the following guidelines:
Make a habit of always using natural, fragrance-free detergents and body products.
Bathe your baby on a regular basis to help keep their pores clean.
Avoid scrubbing. Wash your baby’s skin gently and pat dry with a towel instead of rubbing at delicate skin.
Always clothe your baby in clean, soft clothes that aren’t too tightly fitted.
Change your baby’s diapers promptly and clean off any spit-up or saliva from their face as it arises.
Never scratch, squeeze, or otherwise irritate an existing rash.
Baby acne or newborn acne is a common and generally harmless condition that affects up to 20 percent of newborns. If your child develops this condition, there’s no cause for panic.
Instead, consulting your pediatrician and adopting the natural treatment options described above should help the condition clear up as quickly as possible.
Remember to keep your baby’s face clean; use natural, gentle products; and avoid over-the-counter acne treatments, rough fabrics, harsh detergents, or the urge to scratch or pick at the acne.
Meanwhile, adopting the natural prevention strategies described above will set the foundation for your child to enjoy healthier skin down the road.