Possible Causes of Baby Acne

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Author Name: Mia Barnes
Date: Tuesday September 22, 2020

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As a new parent, you may notice that your baby has small white or red bumps on their face or body. This skin condition isn’t rare – otherwise known as neonatal acne, baby acne appears on many newborns only weeks after they’re born.

Though doctors aren’t sure about why baby acne happens, there are some theories. Here are a few possible causes of baby acne.

The Difference Between Acne Types

It’s essential to note that baby acne shouldn’t be a major concern, as it’s harmless. It typically disappears on its own as time progresses. Additionally, there’s a difference between baby acne and infantile acne. The latter can start anywhere from two months to two years old. It’s also rarer than baby acne – infantile acne affects less than 2% of children, while 20% of infants experience baby acne.

For the most part, baby acne causes small bumps to show up on the skin. Unlike adolescent acne, baby acne doesn’t create open or closed comedones. You may know these acne types as blackheads and whiteheads. In this case, if you see white bumps on your baby’s face, you can assume that it’s milia – and these aren’t an issue for most individuals.

What Causes Baby Acne?

At the moment, no medical professional has determined a cause for sure. That said, some researchers believe that it occurs for a few different reasons. These include:

  • A hormonal exchange between the mother and infant before birth
  • An inflammatory reaction to skin colonization created by fungi
  • A response to specific materials or products, like formula, soap or fabric

While adolescent acne usually happens because excess oil or sebum clogs the pores, baby acne differs. An infant’s skin tends to be more delicate, so certain irritants may create issues that older children and adults don’t experience. For example, a substance like breast milk can aggravate a baby’s skin.

That said, it’s possible that yeast may be the problem. Experts believe that Malassezia, a fungus that’s often associated with dandruff and eczema, could be the root cause of baby acne. A newborn exhibits a higher yeast count than older individuals.

Additionally, your baby may have baby acne due to a particular medication. While most cases of baby acne heal on their own over time, it’s essential to speak with your pediatrician so that you can make the best choices for your child.

How to Treat Baby Acne

There’s no cure for baby acne because this skin condition tends to go away by itself. You don’t need to apply any topical creams, so you shouldn’t have to contact your pediatrician unless you suspect that there’s an underlying condition at play. Baby acne can’t cause scarring, either.

To manage your infant’s baby acne, simply wipe down their face with water every day. Never apply soap or cleanser to your baby’s skin, as it’s extremely sensitive. Remember, unlike adolescent acne, baby acne shouldn’t require any medications. 

If your child develops infantile acne, you may need to treat it with advice from your pediatrician. That said, this step should only happen if it’s a severe case.

Don’t Let Baby Acne Worry You

If your newborn has baby acne, don’t fret! Though the causes of baby acne can differ, this skin condition rarely alludes to further problems. Feel free to let your pediatrician know about it, but try not to worry. It’s merely a cosmetic issue.

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