How to Get Rid of Baby Acne
Many new mothers notice their newborns getting what appear to be blemishes and little red bumps on their skin. As a new mom, you have many pressures to make sure you are doing everything right for your newborn. Especially first time mothers may become concerned about these little blemishes. These bumps are often referred to as “baby acne” and usually cause more concern to the mother than it actually bothers the infant.
What Causes Baby Acne
They usually are a result of the baby’s skin being clogged by excessive oils in their skin. Newborns, who are only a few weeks old often also have skin peeling as they get accustomed to life outside of the womb, which can make them more prone to clogged pores.
Let me reassure you, this is all completely normal and natural for your baby. Infants also can be more prone to baby acne as the hormones from their mother are still working their way out of their system in the first few months of life. Just like in teens and adults, surges in hormones can cause an increase in the amount of acne breakouts a person experiences.
What Baby Acne Looks Like
Baby acne may look very similar to teen or adult acne, but not always. It usually appears as small red bumps or pimples, and is common on the baby’s face, especially on their cheeks. The infant’s skin is also commonly red around the affected area, and when the baby cries, the ruddiness may actually appear to be more intense.
You might also find if your baby drools or spits up frequently, the excess moisture might cause the area to become even more irritated and red. Some babies have these blemishes from the time they are born, others do not develop them until a few weeks or even a month after they are born. It might last anywhere from a couple of days to even a few months. However, over time, the baby acne does in fact go away and the skin heals just fine.
Before You Grab Over the Counter Creams
Your baby’s skin is still very young and delicate. It is not like teenage acne or adult acne, where you can dab a little bit of benzoyl peroxide containing cream to it, and it will start to clear up. At no point in time should you ever use an over the counter cream or cleanser for acne on an infant. It can cause significant damage to the baby’s skin.
The same is to be said about not picking or trying to pop your baby’s acne. It can cause scarring, and on an infant’s skin, the scarring can be permanent instead of healing and going away. If you feel your infant’s skin truly does need to have additional help to heal, make sure to consult with your pediatrician before using anything medicated.
Breast Milk Works Wonders
As crazy as it may sound, many breastfeeding moms have been using breast milk to treat a number of baby ailments for years. Breast milk contains a number of antibodies from the mother in it, and has natural antimicrobial properties.
Breast milk is also completely natural, something that your infant who is breastfeeding is already familiar with, so you know it is safe for them. It is extremely delicate on the baby’s skin, and if they should accidentally digest it, cause babies do put everything in their mouths, it will not have any side effects unlike other treatment options. Breast milk truly is your child’s first antibiotic ointment and acne treatment.
Washing the Baby’s Skin
In general, babies do not need to be bathed daily, unless they have some excessive diaper explosions. Washing your baby every few days is enough to prevent their skin from drying out and allowing the dead skin and triggering the skin to increase oil production, which is known to clog their pores.
Many times, washing the baby’s skin with just warm water is enough to remove excess oils and debris from their skin. However, when you do wash your baby’s skin with soap, it is important to make sure you are using a very gentle and mild soap.
If you baby has a skin condition, a soap without any colors, dyes, or fragrances will be less irritating to their skin and help it to clear up sooner. Also, make sure the water is just warm enough to be comfortable, but not too warm to dry the skin out from the bath. After washing your baby, make sure to pat the skin dry. Do not rub their skin with a towel.
Infant Lotions, Creams, and Oils
If you need to use infant lotions, creams, or oils avoid putting them on your infant’s irritated skin. There are a number of ingredients which can irritate the area more or encourage the skin to create even more oil and more acne.
For the rest of the baby’s skin try to avoid anything that has additional ingredients or chemicals which can be irritating, like fragrances, dyes, and colors. This can cause the skin to become irritated elsewhere as well. When using them, also make sure to apply as little of a layer as possible to prevent excessive buildup of the product on your baby’s skin.
Also keep in mind, many infants put their hands and feet in their mouth and on their faces. If you apply products to other areas of their body, it may still come into contact with their face and bother the infant’s pores.
There are a number of natural remedies that some mothers have found to be beneficial. One of these is the use of 100% pure cornstarch. It is made into a paste with water and applied to the affected area. Allow it to dry for about ten minutes then wash it away with some warm water. Pat the area dry. This can help to absorb the excess oil present, but doing it too frequently can dry out the skin so do it no more than once a day.
A second home remedy for baby’s skin that is dry and itchy is to use oatmeal. Take about ⅓ cup of regular plain oatmeal, and pulse it in a blender or food processor. Then put it in your baby’s bath water. Allow the baby to bathe in the water for about ten minutes. Do not wash them during the oatmeal bath. If there is any oatmeal on their skin rinse it off before you gently pat their skin dry. If you do not want the tub to have oatmeal in the bottom,
another option is to place the powder in a stocking, tie it off, and place it in the water. Then dispose of it at the end of the bath. A third natural remedy is to use coconut or olive oil. While we have suggested keeping other oils away from baby’s skin, these have been found to be gentle enough to apply once daily to dry skin. It can help to heal the skin with their natural properties, and an excess can be gently removed from the skin with a soft cloth.
Avoid Touching the Area
If your baby’s skin is irritated, except for when you are washing the area or treating it, do everything you can to avoid touching it. It you must touch your baby’s skin, make sure your hands are clean, and wash them with warm water and antibacterial soap before hand. Doing so will help to ensure you do not introduce any additional irritants to your baby’s skin or spread any germs to your baby.
If baby frequently puts their hands on their face, we also recommend you wash your baby’s hand periodically with a mild antibacterial soap and warm water. Then gently dry your baby’s hands. The same can be said for if your baby drools or spits up excessively. Washing their face periodically and patting the skin dry can help to prevent irritation from occurring.
When to Call the Doctor
Every mom may hate to see their baby’s skin be irritated, red, and inflamed. While there is currently no known medical treatment for baby acne, if you are uneasy with the condition of your baby’s skin, call the pediatrician.
They may be able to either put your mind at ease and assure you that your baby’s skin condition is in fact baby acne and will clear up on its own, or they may be able to tell you if there is something else going on with your baby’s skin that you should consider treating.
They may be able to recommend to you the use of certain skin creams, like Vanicream or Aquaphor, to treat the skin. Or they can prescribe an antibiotic if they believe it is a bacterial infection. Or if it is an overgrowth of thrush they can prescribe Nystatin or probiotics to help clear up your baby’s health and their skin.
While these are all common infant skin conditions, none of them are reason to be alarmed, are easily treated, and clear up with time and proper treatment.