What Causes Baby Acne -- And How to Treat It

Causes and cures for baby acne

Baby acne is an unpleasant thing. It's uncomfortable for your child and frustrating for you. As new parents, we want to protect our helpless, adorable babes from pain and suffering, so many parents set out to learn what causes baby acne and how to treat it. But unfortunately, while there are some methods you can use to tackle and prevent infant acne, the best treatment is usually none at all.

What causes baby acne?

Many new parents worry that they've done something wrong when they see angry inflamed spots on their child's face. But the fact is, most scientists aren't a hundred percent sure about what causes baby acne -- any more than they can say with certainty what causes adult acne.

Some guesses include hormones transferred from the mother during birth or breastfeeding, or certain medications a baby receives either on its own or from its mother. But as with any acne, these are just guesses. Pores get clogged and acne forms, and no one is completely sure why.

Recognizing infant acne

Infant acne is usually pretty easy to recognize, especially if (like roughly 100% of the world) you've had your own issues with acne at some point in your life: it looks just like any other acne. Baby acne usually occurs within the first month after birth, showing up as red or white bumps that can become worse when the baby is upset or cries.

Most of the time, this acne will clear up on its own by the time your baby is three months old. If you're still concerned after three months, you can consult a doctor. However, don't panic: infant acne is actually extremely common, showing up in one out of five cases. Don't let well meaning busybodies convince you that it's due to your diet, your baby's skin care regimen, or any other old wives' tales.

Baby acne treatment

For obvious reasons, most parents want to get rid of these unsightly blemishes quickly and efficiently. It's important to remember, though, that a newborn's skin is not the same as an adult's or teen's, and you can't treat baby acne the same way as you would your own.

In other words, never use harsh chemicals on a child, including over the counter acne medication. It won't help and could harm your child. Also, remember that a great deal of the trauma we associate with acne comes from the appearance. Your baby really doesn't care what it looks like, so the acne is probably bothering you more than anyone.

Simply continue to wash your baby's face daily with a gentle cleanser. Don't scrub or overwash. You can try using an oil free cream formulated for infant skin if you like, but if it seems to make the problem worse, discontinue it.

The main cure is time. Within three months, your baby acne situation should clear up all on its own -- so don't panic and just wait it out.

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