Having a baby is an exciting time especially for new parents. You’ve worked and sometimes struggled through infertility issues to get pregnant, managed your pregnancy and ate healthy so your baby would get the best possible nutrition, cleaned and sterilized your baby’s room, read all the books, bought all the right supplies and now that you’ve brought your bundle of joy home and started to bond there’s infant acne to get in the way.
Infants developing acne
Acne in infants is a common occurrence in babies around the third week after birth and is a result of hormonal changes in your child’s body. When your child is born hormones were transferred through the placenta to your child’s system which cause oils to form in the skin. Hormones influence oil formation in any age human and babies are no different and when oil, dirt and bacteria are present on skin then acne can begin to form. You will see baby acne on body, face, arms, and legs. Newborn baby acne is not as common but can occur if conditions are right in the womb, most acne will occur in the third and fourth week of life if they occur at all.
Caring for an infant with acne
Many new parents are puzzled about what to do about baby acne and may be worried that they are doing something wrong but this is not the case. This common problem does not mean that you are bad parents and can be treated fairly simply. When you treat baby acne you begin by gently washing your child and paying particular attention to the areas where the acne breakouts are happening. Use warm water and a gentle soap designed for babies only. Do no scrub or cause the pimples to pop or this could lead to scarring and other issues. Also, do not pop pimples on a child as this is not the correct way to manage an acne outbreak on an infant. Do not use any lotions since these will exacerbate the problem by adding additional oils to your child’s skin. Additionally, do not use over the counter products intended for teenagers and adults, these will cause damage to your child’s skin and are too harsh for their sensitive skin. If you follow these simple treatment steps your child’s acne will eventually clear up and not return until puberty when their body starts to change and their hormone levels go up on their own.
If your child’s acne does not clear up on its own then it is time to visit a doctor as there could be a different problem or it may not be acne. If the acne lasts well past six months after birth then it is time to visit a doctor for an assessment. At this time your doctor may recommend a prescription treatment for baby acne for your child to help the acne clear up. During this time you must continue to wash and keep the affected areas clean and continue to manage the problem.
Managing your child while they have acne
Infant acne can be difficult to manage in a child especially for new parents who are still struggling to interpret what is going on with their child. Infant acne will seem to get worse and better within the course of minutes
based on the mood your child is in. If they are crying or irritated then the acne will look worse because they are crying and fussing which stimulates blood flow throughout the body and makes inflamed pimples appear worse than they are.
Another consideration when treating your child for acne is that his body is undergoing changes in that time frame that will naturally make him more gassy and fussy so the acne problem will just add to a list of issues your child is facing in his first few weeks in this world.
If the child spits up, wets himself or comes in contact with any type of chemical then it will also irritate the acne and it will appear worse. When this happens you must immediately clean up the spill and dry off your baby’s skin to avoid further irritation. Vigilance is key in this area as babies will spit up frequently during this time and you will be constantly cleaning. Carry a dry diaper or soft cloth with you at all times to monitor your child and ensure you catch every bit of spillage.
If your baby is sensitive to laundry detergent then you may need to start using a more delicate detergent designed for a baby’s skin. Change the baby’s clothes into something that has not been washed in that detergent and re-wash all clothing. These temporary irritants are no cause for alarm and will go away once the child is bathed.
You must make sure not to pop any of the pimples on your infant’s body during this time but you must also take steps to make sure your child does not inadvertently scratch them as well. Baby gloves are a safe way to protect your child from scratching open a pimple. Use hand mittens until all signs of pimples are gone including while they sleep to protect your baby’s skin and complexion.
In conclusion, the three causes of acne are oil on skin, dirt on skin and presence of bacteria and if any of these three things are present in a person of any age then there can be acne on the skin. Additionally, excess hormones can trigger the skin to produce oils. Hormones could be from our mother, foods we eat or other condition but no matter where they come from the effect is the same in people of any age including infants. With vigilance and planning you can make sure your child gets through their first acne break out with little to no skin damage and then you just have puberty to wait for when they will again fight a battle against acne.