image001 Most baby pimples will appear about three or four weeks after the baby is born. They appear as small whiteheads or red bumps located across the chin, forehead, and cheeks. Although not considered acne, about 40% of newborns will have milia (hard white bumps that are like pimples) right after birth. Baby acne is less common, occurring in around 20% of children.

It is common for parents to get worried when they see baby pimples on face. In reality, however, this condition is not only common, but harmless as well. It can appear at different times depending on the child, but it will usually do so in the baby’s first month. In fact, some babies are born with baby pimples.

My Baby Has Pimples on His Face—Can It Be Acne?

It is very possible that your baby has acne as it is actually very common. It is sometimes there at birth, but frequently it will appear a few weeks after birth. In terms of appearance, baby acne is similar to that experienced by teenagers. It is common to see pimples or red or white bumps with reddish skin surrounding them.

Most of the time acne will be on the cheeks, but it can also appear on the back, chin, and forehead. It tends to become more obvious when the skin is irritated (such as by rough fabric, spit-up milk, or saliva) or if your child is fussy or hot.

Keep in mind that not all blemishes you find on your newborn’s face are acne. They may be milia, the small white bumps mentioned earlier which can be present at birth and will disappear in several weeks. In some cases, the irritation seems less like pimples and more like scales or a rash and in this situation it may be eczema or cradle cap.

What Causes Baby Pimples on Face?

1. Acne

Hormones are one of the biggest causes of baby pimples. Specifically, the mother’s hormones are still within the baby’s bloodstream so that they stimulate the newborn’s sweat glands. Another factor is that the pores found in baby skin will not be fully formed, allowing them to clog more easily.

Baby acne is usually aggravated by spit-up, formula, or milk that comes in contact with the baby’s skin. Other irritants can have a similar effect and include rough fabrics and those washed with a strong detergent. Never use creams, lotions, or soap on your newborn’s face if he has acne as they may irritate it.

There are also certain allergic reactions, viral illnesses, and medications that may cause a rash that looks similar to acne. Because of this, you should always tell your doctor if your infant gets acne or a rash after starting a medication.

2. Eczema

Infant eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis and affects children from two months to six months old. It appears as an itchy rash that starts by the face and spreads to the legs, arms, torso, and neck. Sometimes small pimples or papules will form, then fill up with fluid and burst. Around half the time, baby eczema goes away by 18 months and the rest of the time, it greatly decreases in severity by three years old.

Most children who develop eczema have a family history that includes allergies such as asthma, hay fever, or eczema. It can be triggered by a range of skin irritations and if your baby rubs his skin, it will become more irritated and therefore more vulnerable for both dryness and irritants. Some common triggers are food allergies, soaps and detergents, cigarette smoke, animal dander, scratchy fabrics, dust, heat, and moisture.

Want to know more about what causes pimples on your baby’s face? Check out the video below:

How to Treat Baby Pimples on Face

Most of the time baby acne will disappear over time. If your baby’s skin is bothering him or very oily, then try to gently wash his face several times each day using warm water before patting it dry. Never touch the pimples or use creams and lotions. With or without treatment, the condition will go away in around a month.

Here are several tips on treating pimples on your baby’s face:

  • You should never treat baby acne the same way you would treat it in adults or teens. Never use astringents, strong topical solutions such as salicylic acid or pinch and pick at the pimples.
  • Opt for a soap that is mild and non-drying. Pay attention to make sure that the soap isn’t causing the problem and change it if necessary. An alternative is to use a clean cotton ball dipped in warm water to clean your baby’s face. You always need to keep your baby’s skin dry and clean during an outbreak to unclog the oil glands.
  • Avoid using creams or lotions which may clog your baby’s pores. Opt for a moisturizing baby wash so that you don’t need lotion. You can use a mild lotion on affected areas such as the chest, neck, and back.
  • Moisture can make the chin acne worse, so be sure to dry your child’s face immediately after he drools or spits up when being fed.
  • Have your baby wear hand mittens, so he won’t scratch at his face. If he manages to pop or scratch his pimples, they may get infected, leading to a serious skin condition.
  • Sometimes what a breastfeeding mom eats can affect a baby’s acne. Some women report that fruits in particular can lead to an increase in baby acne. In some cases the outbreak will be a rash and other times citrus fruits can lead to skin problems. If you think breastfeeding is transferring a problem to your baby, talk to your doctor.
  • If the acne starts after giving your child a medication, talk to your doctor. In some cases, it will be due to a prescription which can be changed.
  • If the acne is severe, spreads fast, or lasts over three months, talk to your doctor. Most of the time it will disappear by the time your baby is three to seven months old. Also watch out for “acne” on other parts of the body as this may indicate a different issue such as cradle cap or eczema.

In almost all cases, baby pimples on face will disappear by themselves. Despite this, you should always talk to your doctor if you think your baby has acne. This will help rule out other conditions such as heat rash, eczema, and erythema toxicum.