It is not uncommon that an infant has more pimples than some older kids. This skin condition affects about 40% of all babies, meaning it is very common and you shouldn’t worry a lot about it. It usually begins at about 2 or 3 weeks of age. Fortunately, this condition is only temporary and your baby won’t be bothered by it. Here’s a bit more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment regarding baby acne on face and baby acne on chest.
What is Baby Acne Exactly?
This skin condition is very common but is usually temporary and it develops on a baby’s body and face. It results in small white or red pimples or bumps. The acne will disappear on its own in most cases, and usually without any treatment. This is relieving for most parents, so it is important to mention at the beginning.
Neonatal acne is a term also known for baby acne. About 20% of newborns experience some type of neonatal acne. Don’t mistake this type of acne with infantile acne. Infantile acne usually includes blackheads or open comedones, while neonatal acne doesn’t have these symptoms. Nodules and cysts are also common symptoms when it comes to infantile acne. There are a few cases reported when infantile acne left scars.
Infantile acne is a less common condition than baby acne. Also, neonatal acne may appear only in the first few months of life, while the other skin condition can last even after the second birthday. In some cases, baby acne may be present even for several months, but it usually disappears after a few days or weeks.
Baby Acne – What’s the Cause?
As you maybe already know, adolescent acne is usually tightly connected with hormone levels and hygiene in some cases. On the other hand, when it comes to newborns, it’s usually not their hormones that are to blame for bumps and pimples. The cause is usually maternal hormones that still circulate through the baby even after pregnancy. These hormones play a crucial role in stimulating baby’s glands to produce more oil, which results in baby acne on chest, baby acne on the face, and many other parts of the body (usually neck and back).
Also, the baby skin has underdeveloped pores. This fact makes them even easier targets for infiltration by the blossoming of blemishes and dirt. Another important factor is the baby’s very sensitive skin.
If your baby is prone to crying or fuss, it may have more problems regarding acne. Also, rough fabrics are known as something that can irritate the acne, but saliva and vomit that stay on the face are also known for the same thing.
Another reason for baby acne may be the formula you provide to your child. If a baby formula has active ingredients, it could be the root of your problem, especially if your baby’s skin comes in touch with the formula. As feedings can get pretty messy and unpredictable, the formula may drip onto your child’s skin and cause neonatal acne. Also, the other things that your child may put in its mouth or spit up may be the reason behind baby acne.
At this age, your child’s skin is very sensitive and the kids tend to spit up drips onto their ching. After some time, this will target the same spot – which could be another cause. All in all, you have to pay attention if your child spits up the formula and if it makes contact with the skin.
There’s a theory about certain yeast strains that live in your child’s skin. The theory suggests that this is the cause of baby acne – Malassezia yeast species is the one responsible, to be more specific. The skin of your infant will become inflamed if this yeast colonizes on the surface of the skin, which will result in baby acne.
A probiotic imbalance in your baby’s tummy may be another cause for baby acne. As you probably already know, probiotics are the good bacteria that help humans to digest food properly. However, young babies need to acquire good bacteria to maintain a healthy belly. Some pediatricians suggest that the improper use of probiotic may be the cause of neonatal acne.
Viral illnesses and certain medications have the potential to cause a rash or a type of acne on the body of a baby. Let your doctor know if your little one develops any kind of acne after being exposed to a new medication or after being sick. No reason to worry since there are easy treatments that will help with this kind of acne too.
Milia, erythema toxicum, and eczema are the conditions that are the most similar to baby acne, here’s how you will know the difference.
Milia don’t require any treatment and they are not related to baby acne. They may develop on the baby’s face as tiny white bumps, and that’s why they are sometimes mistaken for baby acne on the face. The reason for their appearance is dead skin cells in the skin’s tiny pockets. They usually appear soon after the baby is born.
Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. Usually, eczema will show up as red bumps on the baby’s face. Elbows and knees are other parts of the body where eczema may be present when your child gets older. This skin condition can become infected, and this will result in crusty and yellow bumps. When your baby gets older and starts to crawl, take care of its elbows and knees if it has eczema. Your doctor will usually easily make a difference between eczema and baby acne.
The most popular type of eczema that usually gets mistaken for baby acne is seborrheic eczema – also known as the crib, cap, or cradle.
There is a variety of eczema creams. However, doctors sometimes prescribe mild medication or daily probiotics.
Another skin condition that is very common and that appears as red blotches, tiny bumps, or as a rash. It can be mistaken for baby acne on chest since that’s where it is usually common, but the baby’s face and limbs are also parts of the body where this condition may appear. In most cases, erythema toxicum appears after a few days after birth. It disappears in just a couple of days and it is harmless, so there’s no reason to worry!
The Treatment of Baby Acne
Usually, you won’t have to give any treatment to your baby to fight baby acne. However, some infants may have acne that won’t go away even after a few months. This is when your baby’s pediatrician may prescribe an ointment or a baby rash cream that will help with getting rid of acne.
Keep in mind that you should never use lotions, face washes, or OTC acne treatments. As you already know, the baby’s skin is very sensitive and using any of these may cause the skin to be even more irritated which will make the acne even worse. You need something light, so always consult with your doctor.
And that’s as far as you can do when it comes to treating baby acne. Patience is the most important aspect, so here are a few treatment tips:
- Picking, scrubbing, and squeezing acne is bad
- Use warm water to clean the area up to three times a day. Dry your baby’s skin gently afterward
- Lotion and soap are forbidden in affected areas
- Using skin care products for adults is not allowed
- Think about trying natural acne remedies for treatment
- Consult with your doctor about what mild medication or creams you can use
Usually, baby acne will disappear after a few weeks or a few months. They probably won’t appear again after your baby is 6 months old. After this, your baby should be left with a gentle skin that you can start treating in other ways.
Don’t worry about any kind of scars that baby acne may leave. These scars are not permanent like the scars that adolescent acne leaves. Also, baby acne is not a reason to worry about any future acne problems.
Should You Visit a Doctor About Baby Acne?
As already mentioned, there’s no exact treatment for baby acne. However, if you’re worried about it, you can always consult with your pediatrician. A great time to ask questions about baby acne is when you do general checkups. Discuss any concerns about your baby health in general.
If you notice that our baby has pus-filled bumps, blackheads, or inflammation, consult with your doctor right away. Discomfort or pain are also good reasons when you should see a doctor.
A 2.5% benzoyl peroxide lotion may be prescribed by your doctor if your baby’s acne doesn’t disappear even after several months. An antibiotic, such as isotretinoin or erythromycin, may also be prescribed to help to reduce the risk of scars. This usually won’t be a measure to treat your baby since this medication is given only if there’s an underlying medical condition causing baby’s acne.
You should know that baby acne happens only once in a lifetime, they won’t reoccur. However, if your child gets acne before puberty, consider visiting a doctor since this could be caused by some other problems. But, don’t panic since it is usually just a result of bad hygiene.
Baby Planet Overview
Baby acne is a common problem, but it is not something you should lose your mind about. All symptoms usually disappear only after a few weeks, some even after a couple of days. However, if you notice that acne is still present after a couple of months, consider consulting with a doctor to better understand what’s happening.
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