Holding your face close to the the soft smooth skin of your newborn is a heavenly feeling. Unfortunately as the weeks pass by you notice the appearance of red bumps and pustules on your baby’s face. This is known as baby or neonatal acne and is often seen two to three weeks after a baby is born. In some cases it might be present at birth as well. The acne is usually seen on the baby’s scalp, forehead, chin and cheeks. More than twenty percent of babies are affected by this skin condition.
Baby acne is not the same as adult or teenage acne which is usually caused by improper skin hygiene or excessive facial oiliness. The actual cause of this skin condition in newborns is the hormones that the mother passes on to the baby while the baby is still in the womb.
The hormones that are passed on from the placenta of the mother to her fetus can stimulate the oil glands in the baby’s skin which in turn leads to acne. It is also believed that certain medications taken in the course of pregnancy can trigger off the acne condition in toddlers.
Skin irritants like chemicals present in soaps and detergents can also cause baby acne. Baby acne is different from infantile acne which develops in babies who are three or four months of age. The infantile acne like baby acne is caused by lingering hormones in the baby. However instead of red papules, you can observe yellow bumps on the baby’s skin.
The symptoms of baby acne usually disappear in a matter of weeks. In the meantime you can clean your baby’s face gently with mild soap and water. Your baby’s skin is extremely sensitive so do not scrub his face or try to squeeze the pustules.
Using topical skin creams or moisturizers may exacerbate the condition as most of the over the counter acne medications cannot resolve baby acne. Wash you baby’s clothes with mild detergents and ensure that the babies’s pillows and blankets are free of germs that may cause the acne.
In certain cases where the acne symptoms are severe, a pediatrician might recommend the use of retinoid, benzoyl peroxide or other keratolytic medications. Patience is the key when dealing with baby acne as the symptoms such as whiteheads and blackheads along with the red rashes will soon disappear, leaving your baby’s skin smooth and soft again.