Baby acne afflicts an estimated 20% of all newborns and infants. Characterized by the appearance of pimples on the scalp and cheeks, it can cause rough skin. Blackheads and whiteheads are also known indicators of this skin condition. There are some parents who think that regular acne treatment is needed to remedy this problem. While it is not a serious condition, it is something that should be treated carefully. However, there are some understandable concerns from parents with acne-afflicted newborns.

The differences

One fact that most parents don’t realize about baby acne is that it is different from the kind of acne teenagers or adults get. People from later stages in life get acne rosacea or acne vulgaris, while infants and newborns get acne neonatorum. It has no known connections to the kind of acne that teens and adults may encounter, even if some natural skin care products appear to reduce the risk of both.

The causes

Baby acne is not caused by poor skin care or improper treatment of the child. Rather, it is caused by the mother’s hormones. Nutrients make their way to the baby through the umbilical cord, but some of it also gets past the placental wall. Hormones can also get to the baby by going through the placental wall, and play an important part in the later stages of pregnancy. Sometimes, the hormones can stimulate oil glands present in the skin and cause acne in babies.

No required immediate treatment

One thing to keep in mind about baby acne is that it is not something that should be treated immediately, or at all. It is not a serious condition and will likely clear itself up in a matter of weeks without any sort of acne treatment being applied. In fact, the use of common treatments used on teens and adults can actually worsen the condition due to being too potent for the sensitivity of a newborn’s skin.

Simply put, baby acne is not something to be scared of. It is a fairly ordinary problem that can be best resolved by letting it pass. Using adult or teen-oriented treatments would only make the problem worse. This kind of problem may be odd and worrying, but it is nothing serious and, like regular acne, usually fixes itself over time.


Most people usually relate skin care to teenagers making an effort to get rid of pimples and dry skin, or to adults in their 40s minimizing their wrinkles. More often than not, they are worried about their skin for aesthetic reasons. The booming market for skin care products is certainly an indication of this, as an overwhelming majority of such products are purchased by teenagers and adults. It is no surprise that most of these products are especially formulated for their type of skin.

Less attention, however, is given to baby skin. They do not have the same social issues as older people do. While babies are generally well-nurtured, their skin is often allowed to take quite a beating from different elements—the sun, insects, or accidents. Skin care for babies is often neglected, even though it is vital to the baby’s comfort and health. For babies more than adults, the status of the skin poses different issues. Most of these issues are relatively harmless to the baby. Practicality and common sense should govern a real concern for a baby’s sensitive skin.

Avoid direct contact with sunlight

Exposure to sunlight during the early morning hours (6 to 7 a.m.) may be beneficial for infants, as it helps produce vitamin D, but this should be limited to a few minutes. Anything beyond that could spell trouble. Because an infant’s skin is very sensitive, it can quickly get sunburned. This is especially true if the baby is less than six months old.

Choose baby skin care products wisely

The most important consideration in choosing a suitable skin care treatment product for an infant is its reaction to his sensitive skin. Some products may not be suitable for an infant’s skin, depending on his age. Newborns definitely will be most sensitive to most skin care products.


Don’t sweat the small stuff

Certain conditions are common for babies. Baby acne, for example, is a common baby skin care problem. However, using a facial scrub to take care of it is not the proper solution. These issues should not be handled as though the baby is a teenager. An infant’s skin is very different, and most products intended for teenagers may actually cause more problems.

Cradle cap is another common condition among infants. While it may be unsightly, it is a condition which, just like baby acne, will eventually pass. The process can be helped along by washing the scalp with a gentle shampoo.

A newborn baby will also probably have diaper rashes. This condition can be caused by tight diapers or wet diapers which are not removed immediately. This can be avoided simply by being alert to the baby’s diapers and knowing when to change them. Skin care may be carried out by using zinc oxide or a gentle baby lotion.

Give the baby a regular warm bath

Baths in warm water keep a baby’s skin fresh and supple. However, these baths should be taken in moderation, for about three to five minutes. Gentleness is also very important in bathing him, and a moisturizer or lotion may help. Patting the skin dry (as opposed to rubbing it with a rough towel) ensures that his skin is protected.

Your baby is the most important treasure you will ever have. An infant deserves the right treatment and proper skin care. When a baby is comfortable in his own skin, he can be happier, and he will be a source of joy for you.

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