The baby’s skin is undoubtedly more sensitive and soft than that of an adult and therefore more vulnerable. This article will discuss the skin condition known as baby acne and shall further elaborate various ways in with it can be prevented or avoided along with laying down the kinds of treatment available for it.
Table of Contents
What is baby acne?
Baby acne basically refers to the acne that develops on the skin of an infant. It is most prominent on the cheeks, nose and forehead of the infant but can also otherwise occur on other body parts. It often develops in the first few weeks after birth and usually culminates into small red bumps. Baby acne iss often confused with milia which the development of small ‘white’ bumps on baby’s cheek, nose and forehead.
The primary cause behind baby’s acne is the hormone in mother’s body. When the child is still in the womb, those hormones circulate in the bloodstream of the child and stimulate the sebaceous and sweat glands to produce more sebum and sweat respectively, which leads to these breakouts on the sensitive skin of the baby. The sweat glands, in summers, also induce the occurrence of rashes known as the heat rash and this develops particularly in areas that get sweatier. This however is different from the acne breakouts.
How do you treat baby acne?
Most of the time, baby acne is treated through home remedies rather than through prescription medicines because of the sensitivity of the infant’s skin. It is also advisable that they be excluded from the use of medicines initially unless the situation is extremely bad. Elaborated below are various ways in which it can be treated, mostly at home.
Prescription drugs for the treatment of baby acne:
Most dermatologists and medical personnel are against the use of medications on the skin of the infant. They in fact advise against the use of topical medications that are used in treating adult acne. Most of them recommend home remedies in order to ensure the prevention of any kind of allergic reaction to the baby.
Home remedies for treating baby acne
Breast feeding: The best and most natural way of healing baby acne is through the application of breast milk on the affected spot. This is simple enough as it just requires a few drop of breast milk that can be applied on the area that is affected by the breakout. Breast feeding also tends to help in general.
Increase water in-take: This is not for the baby but for the mother. If you are breast feeding your child, you need to have healthy food and drinking habit. Drinking a lot of water will increase the cell renewal process of the baby and will also rejuvenate his skin and health as a whole.
Honey and lemon juice: This requires mixing honey and lemon juice in equal quantity. Use a cotton dab to apply this on the affected spots of the infant. This must be let to dry for 30 minutes after which it can be wiped out smoothly with the help of a soft cloth. The cloth you use must not be rough or it may cause further irritation to the skin of the child. Again only give this after consulting your doctor.
Vinegar application: Vinegar is a common and readily available treatment for acne in general. For use on the sensitive skin of the baby, it is important that you dilute it in the ratio of 1 part vinegar to 10 parts of water. You will be required to use a cotton ball to soak this solution and apply this on the skin that is affected by acne breakout. It helps in two ways, first, by killing the acne causing bacteria and second, by absorbing the excessive oil produced which is the underlining factor beneath acne eruptions.
Using coconut oil: Applying extra virgin coconut oil has also been known to heal the acne affected skin of infants. The lauric acid contained in coconut oil has been known to exhibit anti inflammatory properties and helps in soothing the swelling and redness caused due to inflammation.
Precautions for the prior prevention of baby acne
As has been popularly said, ‘precaution is better than cure’, it always helps to be aware of ways in which a certain condition can be avoided. Mentioned below are certain ways in which the infant’s skin can be protected against the rashes and acne breakouts that often make it painful and irritable for the child to bear.
While washing the clothes of infants be careful to use a gentle detergent which does not make the fabric rough and coarse. Doing otherwise tends to irritate the skin of the child and may cause further breakouts along with irritation, itching and redness.
While using a diaper, make sure it is of good quality and is not too tight for the baby. It may cause irritation and rashes. Also, wet diapers must not be left on for long and should be changed frequently. You could also apply a rash free cream and must necessarily wipe the area before putting on a diaper, to prevent infection.
The bedding, blankets and towel of the infant must be changed and washed very frequently. Ensuring cleanliness around the baby and maintaining proper hygiene goes a long way in preventing infection and skin irritation.
You must keep your child away from direct sunlight for long time at least for the first six months of their life. Sun seems to have a damaging effect on the skin and since the baby’s skin is extremely sensitive, it may harm it even more. It is a good idea to take hats and umbrellas for kids whenever you are taking them out. Sun screen lotion is also a good option. You may use zinc oxide as a substitute for sun screen lotion
While you go out to shop for the child’s skin care product, make sure that the products are of good quality. They must be mild and should not contain a lot of chemicals as they might harm the skin of the child and cause irritation and rashes. Make sure that it does not contain fragrance or dyed products.
Make sure that you give bath to your baby preferably in lukewarm or warm water and his/her skin is moisturized properly while it is still wet. You must not allow your baby to soak in water for too long. Do not rub his or her skin with a harsh towel but smoothly wipe it with a smooth cloth.
Massaging the baby’s body has recently been developed as a good way of reducing irritation and stress from the body. It not only induces a relaxing effect but also tends to reduce the irritation and itching effect that may be caused due to acne eruptions or rashes likewise.
It is extremely important that you wash / wipe your infant’s face daily with lukewarm or warm water and with the use of a mild and smooth soap that is suited to the skin of the baby. It is even better if the soap is a moisturizing one. However you must not wash it more than once daily as it may lead to further irritation and cause extreme dryness making the skin rough.
Do not scrub or prick the acne on your baby’s skin. It may cause further irritation and may even leave scars on the skin.
You must be gentle even while drying the baby’s body. Too much rubbing may cause irritation on the sensitive skin.
It is usually advised that you avoid the use of lotions or oils on your baby’s skin for the first few weeks, especially if the infant’s skin is prone to acne breakouts and eruptions. If you must use a lotion in any case, chose one which does not have a fragrance and is gentle and only nourishes the skin. If the lotion is extremely loaded, it may even aggravate the already existing acne and cause new eruptions where there were none.
Make sure that your hand is clean when you apply the lotion on the baby’s skin so that you do not transfer your hand’s bacteria over to the baby’s skin. It is even better if you can rather use a soft cloth or cotton to do the same.
A baby’s skin is far more sensitive than that of an adult. It requires extra care and more effort to ensure the health of the baby’s skin. Baby acne is not a very uncommon phenomenon and usually does not require the use of medicines to heal. It gets right on its own most of the time and for times when it does not, the abovementioned ways will greatly help. However, you must also make efforts to follow the precautionary ways of preventing any such breakouts.
Our articles are written by writers with a deep domain understanding of the topic and usually hold Bachelors / Masters degrees. The articles are peer-reviewed before being uploaded on the website. Our writers spend 10s of hours researching and writing articles which are factual and comprehensive. Check out about our team in About Us section.