How to Treat Newborn Acne Breakouts Safely

By | April 12, 2014

No one likes to get acne. Aside from how it looks, acne can also be quite physically uncomfortable, whether it occurs on your face or across your shoulders. However, many parents find out that there’s such thing as newborn acne too. Obviously, no one wants their child’s cherubic face covered in acne. But it can also cause legitimate concern for parents seeing it for the first time. If this is a situation you’re currently faced with, don’t worry. The following article will explain what it is, what’s causing it and how you can easily treat it. The first thing to understand is that newborn acne is generally a natural, albeit annoying, feature that many babies experience during their first year. There may be external issues trigger it or making it worse (which we’ll cover), but there shouldn’t be an immediate need for concern, unless you can see that it’s causing your newborn acne obvious distress.

Understanding Newborn Acne

If that’s the case, take them to a doctor immediately to be on the safe side. Keep in mind, too, that newborn acne still resembles the adult version. So if you’re seeing something more akin to a rash, you’ll need completely different advice.

Most parents will notice acne on their baby’s face within three to four weeks from birth. It will be just like the red bumps we all remember from adolescents. It’s generally also accompanied by a degree of fussiness.

It’s during the last moments of pregnancy that the mother’s placenta works as a bridge, handing off her hormone’s to the baby. While this serves many beneficial purposes, newborn acnelike helping their lungs to mature, it also stimulates their oil glands. That, too, is a good thing, but it can eventually leady to baby acne. Some babies will even come out of the womb with acne already on their faces or get it shortly thereafter.

When the child becomes irritated is when the newborn acne becomes most noticeable. Likewise, when they get hot, the acne will become prominent. Basically, anything that causes an increased amount of blood to their skin will do it.

External Factors

If you think about it, though, there are plenty of external factors that can cause a baby’s skin to become irritated. This, in turn, will cause blood to rush to their skin and can stimulate acne.

So this is one place we can begin talking about how to safely treat breakouts of newborn acne: address any external factors that may cause it.

Clean Up After Them

Like any good parent, you’re probably vigilant about cleaning up after your baby. However, even the best of parents let this chore fall by the wayside from time to time (especially if it means you get back to sleep earlier).

All babies spit up from time to time, usually while they’re eating. Make sure you clear this away immediately and wipe down their skin. The same goes with any food or milk that may end up in the same situation. If let to sit, this moisture can irritate their skin which will attract blood to the surface and lead to breakouts.

Consider Detergents

On the other side of that coin are things like detergents which actually help keep their fabrics nice and clean. Many people suffer from rashes or other breakouts either because they’re allergic to a particular detergent or they have an allergy to them.

So, one, make sure that fresh laundry is always dry before your babies get to it. Next, if you notice acne on your baby that doesn’t go away after addressing all these other factors, consider a new detergent that will be easier on their skin. Even after you switch out detergents, however, the newborn acne may persist for several days while your baby’s skin adjusts.

Gentle Soap

Although the source of the newborne acne might be different from that of an adult’s, it still works by triggering a certain factor. What happens is that pores become blocked, take on dirt or debris and the fallout is acne. So it’s still important that you wash your baby regularly, especially the infected areas.

However, you want to be careful that you’re using the gentlest soap possible. Many parents find that even the “baby” soap they were using encouraged breakouts. You can do some research online to find out what the current recommendations are from other parents or to look for soap specially made for this reason.

Sometimes, even the mildest of soaps will have an adverse effect on a baby’s skin. It’s still important you bathe your child, though, especially the acne-ridden areas. With any type of soap out of the question, though, you’ll simply need to use warm water. Still use soap where it’s needed, but clean the acne with a cotton ball and warm water. This will suffice.

We’ll cover this a bit later, but you should never use store bought products meant to address adult acne. This will make things much worse.

Breast Milk

In some cases, the mother’s breast milk may be to blame or at least making matters worse. Mothers are usually very good about being careful what they drink because they can pass it onto their children. When it comes to breast milk, though, many moms have found that limiting their intake of fruit can actually help calm the symptoms of baby acne.

Hand Mittens

If you remember getting acne as an adolescent, you’re probably familiar with how tempting it is to touch it. Usually, as teenagers, you tried to pop your zits and pimples. This wasn’t an effective solution then and nothing has changed. While your baby may simply be touching their face out of habit, with no intention of addressing their acne, you still need to avoid this.newborn acne treatments

Remember, the cause of the newborn acne is that the pores are clogged. Clogging them up further will only make matters far worse. But that’s exactly what can happen if your baby touches the area. As you can probably appreciate, a baby’s hands are the furthest things from clean, which means they can really exasperate the situation.

Many parents have found a simple solution to newborn acne, though, that doesn’t involve constant vigilance. Instead, they simply put little hand mittens on their children’s hands. So long as they’re comfortable, this is a simple solution. Your baby can still fulfill their desire to touch their face. However, with the mittens on, they can’t transfer dirt and debris as easily (you’ll need to change and wash them regularly) and they won’t be able to scratch at them.

Baby Powder

Every parent usually has a thing or two of baby powder on them at all times. Well it turns out baby powder can go a long way in helping to cure baby acne. Don’t pour it on like you do after changing their diaper though. Instead, just wipe a small amount of it across the infected area. Be sure you do this with a cotton ball and don’t let any of it get near your child’s mouth, eyes or ears.

What Won’t Help Newborn Acne

As with so many things, it can be just as important to realize what won’t help your baby. When many parents notice their child has newborn acne, one of their first reactions is to reach for baby oil or lotion. But remember that this isn’t a rash. But when it comes to baby acne, these treatments can actually make matters worse.

In fact, just the opposite may occur. Using moisturizers, lotions or baby oil that otherwise help with dry skin and rashes can irritate their skin further. As a result, the acne becomes more pronounced. You can continue using these products on other areas of the baby’s body, just not where the acne is an issue. If your child gets extremely dry skin, applying a light moisturizer gingerly to the affected area is fine.

Anything you would use for the adult version is also unfit as a treatment for newborn acne too. This includes any kind of facial wash or acne cream and especially any type of astringent. These, like the above listed examples, will only serve to irritate the skin, stimulate the acne even more and potentially make your child uncomfortable. You obviously don’t want to try to pop or pinch their acne either, which is a bad idea when adults to it to themselves too.         

Signs to Watch Out For

Although newborn acne on their face is normal, there are still a number of issues to keep an eye out for. The first is if the acne seems to coincide with the onset of a certain medication. This may happen after the three to four week period of their lives when they get put on a certain type of medicine.

If the acne lasts for more than three to four weeks, that’s nothing to worry about. However, if it goes on for more than three months, you’ll want to contact your doctor. Do the same if you find acne anywhere else on your child’s body but their face.