UPDATE: Baby tested. Baby approved. Jackson is doing GREAT!
Swoon! LOVE little baby nuggets… especially my darling nephew, Nico! I didn’t think it was physically possible to love a human in such a way and he ain’t even mine…. don’t know how you parents do it!? I have WAYYY to many anxieties to become a mom, plus a host of other reasons, but I absolutely LOVE being an aunt. So for any of you aunts and uncles reading this, keep up the great work (parents too!). And not only do I love Nico, I also adore seeing so many of our friends having babies and watching their growing families blossom. I have a weird thing I play where when I’m scrolling through Facebook on my phone and I see a kid (without seeing who posted it), I try to guess which of my friends that darling little human belongs to. I know, weird, but try it sometime, it’s actually fun! It’s so easy to scroll past names and just focus on the faces 😉 The hard part is getting the kid’s face right!
Anyways, as I see more and more little babes being brought into this world I also tend to follow my friends and their journey with recommendations and questions. More often than not, I see a post from a friend asking, ‘My child has a rash (pic included) anybody know what this is?’ Or a new parent asking, ‘Do I really need xyz for when the baby comes or can I go without it? Because I love learning about people and seeing what they have to say, I think it’s super interesting to read the comments and especially learn from the posts that are skin related.
In fact, just the other day we had a Cheeky contact us on Facebook asking about her son Jackson’s baby acne! Oh NO! The poor sweetie. Jackson’s mom is a brand new mom and she is learning so much during her first months as a mother. And not only is she learning a ton about herself (& her hubby), she is also learning how it is babies ‘work’. And in this specific situation, she began seeing little acne spots on Jackson’s face and immediately knew it was baby acne, but what in the hell was she going to do about it.
Good on mama for recognizing what it was and seeing how she could get rid of it! It’s very crucial for moms and dads alike to bring any new skin developments to their trusted doctor and/or pediatrician, but we did offer to help this mama navigate her issues and see if we could recommend tips, tricks & products to help her in the interim. As for all my skin advice, it’s very important that you do your own research but that you also inquire about any treatments or advice with your skincare provider. Oh and also, if any of you moms and dads have had your own success with baby acne, please post in the comment’s below.
What is baby acne?
There are two different types of acne, depending on baby’s age. Newborn acne, otherwise known as neonatal acne, can appear when baby is a newborn up to 3 months old and don’t worry, it’s completely normal. Neonatal acne is a benign skin condition that roughly 20% of newborns have.
Infantile acne is most likely to begin between 3 and 6 months of age. While newborn acne rarely causes a scar, infantile acne can cause permanent acne scars. A dermatologist can help prevent scarring. This is the type of acne where you’ll really want to go see your doc.
What does it look like?
The characteristic signs of newborn acne are small red or white bumps that can appear all over the body but are usually concentrate on baby’s face and torso.
Photo compliments of Mom Junction.
What causes it?
Baby acne is a common skin condition, but there isn’t necessarily one clear cause. Here, some of the main causes of baby acne:
- Hormones. Hormones are often to blame, experts say. For newborns, it’s actually the mother’s hormones that are likely the cause – at the end of pregnancy, a mama’s hormones can cross the placenta into the baby’s system and stimulate baby’s oil glands on the skin, leading to baby acne.
- Yeast. The Malassezia species (very fancy sounding name), a type of yeast that colonizes on the skin surfaces, can sometimes create an inflammatory reaction in newborns, resulting in newborn acne.
Tips to lessen baby acne
- Don’t scrub or pick. Or pick at or pop those pimples. This increases risk of scarring and/or infection.
- Wash and moisturize. Keep baby’s face clean and moisturized. Try using a mild soap and a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer to keep skin healthy and irritation-free.
- Use a humidifier. Acne may be worsened by dry air, so using a humidifier can ensure that baby’s skin stays moisturized.
- Consult your pediatrician. She/he may have product recommendations or can prescribe medication, like Retin-A or something with benzoyl peroxide, in an infant-friendly dose.
- Breast milk. Breast milk contains lauric acid, which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory characteristics – adding that by way of a couple drops over baby’s skin and then letting it air dry may actually do some good1
- Changing mama’s diet. Nursing? It may be worth chatting up your current breastfeeding diet with your pediatrician, who may recommend cutting back on certain foods, like good old dairy or even citrus.
What to know
- Newborn acne can appear anytime in the first three months of baby’s life but usually disappears by month three.
- I read that many folks encouraged ‘patience’ and that it most likely will go away on its own.
- This rash should not cause the baby any discomfort.
Could it be something else?
Like with pretty much everything, it’s easy to get one skin ailment confused with another. Below is a list of other common skin ailments that you could be confusing your baby’s acne with –
Eczema usually shows up as red bumps on the face. Eczema can become infected and get a yellowy, crusty look. It is usually easy for your doctor to distinguish between baby acne and eczema.
Erythema toxicum (didn’t try to pronounce it) is another skin condition that may appear as a rash, tiny bumps, or even red blotches. It can be seen on your baby’s whole body in some capacity, a few days after they’re born. It’s ‘harmless’ (still double check with your doc), and it usually goes away in less than a week after popping out into the world.
Milia are tiny white bumps that may develop on your baby’s face. They occur when dead skin cells are trapped within the skin and may appear within a few weeks of birth. Milia typically wouldn’t require treatment.
In the case of Jackson, his mom is already using the ‘No Rinse Cleansing Water Bonus’ so while that may be helping somewhat, Jackson is still experiencing that baby acne. It’s important that both Jackson’s mom and you guys to know that moisturizing is also part of the regime, so that’s why we would generally recommend a good cleanser AND a gentle face cream.
Summary of advice
- Proper hygiene and cleansing is key.
- Once you’ve got the whole hygiene part down, this is where you want to do your best moisturizing the baby’s skin.
- If you’re breastfeeding, I read a lot about how your breastmilk does really work, so that would be worth a shot! It would seem that you take a little and apply it to the babe’s face and let dry. Wash off when he takes his/her bath/daily cleansing.
- And finally, if you’ve got a humidifier laying around, set it up in the baby’s room when she/he sleeps. Use distilled or demineralized water. Distilled or demineralized water has less mineral content than regular tap water. When used, these water types make your humidifier less likely to expel white mineral dust into your indoor air! Also make sure to regular clean & change out the water regularly as it could do more harm than good in the long run.
- The Bump
- American Academy of Dermatology
- What To Expect