Your little one was born with a beautiful unblemished complexion. Then out of nowhere, little pimple-like bumps started to appear on her face. Your natural reaction is to be concerned. Surely it cannot be a breakout? This is a condition prevalent in teens and adults! Surely babies are not prone to acne…are they?
According to medical experts, one of the most common causes for red bumps appearing on an infant’s face is acne, with the condition reportedly affecting up to twenty percent of babies.
What is baby acne?
Baby acne looks similar to adult acne. Fleshy red or white bumps appear on the cheeks, and sometimes also on the chin and forehead of your baby. They may be present at birth, but more commonly occur within a few weeks of birth and can continue until up to six months of age. This condition may look worse when baby is fussy and crying, and blood flow to the skin is increased.
Although this condition is generally harmless, it is important to first rule out other possible causes. Red bumps on your baby’s face may not necessarily be acne, but could also be a rash or other skin condition.
Many parents may confuse baby acne with milia, which is a condition in which tiny white bumps occur on baby’s cheeks, nose and chin. This condition reportedly affects up to 40 percent of newborn babies and occurs when dead skin gets trapped in tiny pockets near the surface of baby’s skin.
The good news is that, if it is baby acne, it usually corrects itself within a few weeks.
What causes baby acne?
There have been some conflicting opinions when it comes to the exact cause of baby acne. However the general theory is that it is a result of maternal hormones still circulating in baby’s system. During the last stages of pregnancy, the mother’s hormones are passed through to baby via the placenta. This may stimulate the oil glands and may result in acne. There have been studies that suggest that acne could start forming when the baby is still in the womb. Other medical experts have suggested that baby acne is more prominent in males and occurs as a reaction to male and female hormones that are present immediately after birth. However, nothing conclusive has been proven as yet.
There may also be several underlying causes that could be aggravating baby’s skin. Certain medications that are either taken by the mother when nursing, or that are being allocated to baby directly, may trigger baby acne. Or baby could be having an allergic reaction to skincare products. The condition may also be further aggravated by milk or formula coming into contact with the skin, or even rough fabrics or fabrics washed in strong detergent.
Do not think that the condition is caused by anything you have done. Always remember that baby acne is a common condition that affects many babies from across the world. Some parents may be concerned that the condition may lead to scarring. However, if the skin is left alone and not picket at, there should not be any scarring.
Although the condition will pass, many parents may find the acne unsightly and may want to speed things along. There are a couple of methods of treatment that may reduce the severity of the condition however, try to remain patient and understand that it will more than likely clear up within a few weeks. That said you can try the following:
Gently cleanse baby’s face once or twice a day with water, and perhaps very mild baby soap, and gently pat it dry. Avoid over washing and scrubbing the skin vigorously as this will more than likely worsen the condition.
Avoid using topical acne lotions on baby’s face as their skin is exceptionally sensitive. It is also recommended that you avoid using other creams and lotions, especially ones that contain oil, as this again can aggravate the condition.
Some dermatologists may recommend using a mild, fragrance-free cream, however, if you do opt to use a certain cream, it’s important to monitor the results closely to ensure that the cream does not irritate the skin.
In more severe cases of acne, your pediatrician may prescribe a topical treatment. Remember, this is reserved strictly for severe cases. Refrain from using an over-the-counter acne cream that is used to treat adolescent acne. Baby’s skin is extremely sensitive and the benzoyl peroxide contained in these creams could irritate the skin.
Adults also have this uncanny need to pick at pimples and to prick and squeeze. It is important to refrain from doing this to baby. Their skin is extremely sensitive and picking and squeezing might not just hurt baby, but could also lead to scarring.
Old wives tales?
When you have a baby, suddenly everybody wants to shower you with advice and helpful tips, ranging from the viable to the completely obscure. If baby is undergoing a breakout, chances are you have probably already heard your fair share of natural remedies and house wives remedies on how to treat the condition. Although some theories may be completely leftfield, there are some that may have fragments of truth to them. If you do decide to take the natural route, it is recommended that you chat to your pediatrician before embarking upon treatment.
Honey and lemon: Many have suggested that a mixture of honey and lemon could help in treating acne. It is said that honey contains anti-bacterial properties and that lemon reduces inflammation. The two combined supposedly equals a great natural acne remedy. Those who have reveled in this natural remedy’s success have suggested combining 1 teaspoon honey with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and applying it onto baby’s face with a cotton swap, and leaving it there for several minutes before washing it off with warm water.
Breast milk: Many moms swear that applying breast milk to the affected area can help clear up baby’s acne. The general theory is that applying breast milk directly to the affected area with a cotton swab can help clear out the skin. However, there have been conflicting reports on this because, although many moms insist this remedy works, some experts have said that milk can further aggravate the condition.
Vinegar: Another popular home remedy is applying a vinegar solution to baby’s skin. The general thought is that vinegar absorbs extra oil and kills bacteria. You can make your own solution by diluting 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water and then using a cotton swab to apply it on baby’s face. However, if opting to follow this regime, it is prudent that you apply the solution sparingly at first to ensure that it does not irritate baby’s sensitive skin.
Diet: It may seem rather obvious, but moms who are nursing could try to pay attention to their diets. It has been suggested that avoiding eating oily foods that may aggravate acne could help improve the condition. It is also said that upping your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables and consumption of water could help improve the condition. An improved diet certainly could not hurt and is well worth the try.
All in all, baby acne is generally not uncomfortable for baby and is purely a cosmetic condition. And the truth is that, when all is said and done, the best treatment could very well be to just leave it alone. Medical experts have said that the occurrence of baby acne will not influence the onset of adolescent acne and the condition is not determined by a family history of acne. So relax and stop fretting. Baby acne is a common condition and often clears up on its own within a couple of weeks.