Baby acne is acne that develops on a newborn's skin — often on the face and neck. The condition is common and temporary. There's little you can do to prevent baby acne. It usually clears up on its own without scarring.
Baby acne is small, inflamed bumps on a baby's face, neck, back or chest. It often develops within 2 to 4 weeks of birth.
Many babies also develop tiny, pimple-like bumps on the face. These harmless spots, called milia, disappear on their own within a few weeks.
When to see a doctor
Talk with your baby's health care provider if you're concerned about your baby's skin.
Baby acne may be caused by the effect of the mother's hormones right before birth.
Baby acne can usually be diagnosed on sight. No testing is needed.
Baby acne usually clears up on its own within four weeks after birth. In these situations, no medical treatment is needed.
If your baby's acne lingers for much longer, your baby's health care provider may recommend a medicated cream or other treatment. Don't try any nonprescription medications without checking with your baby's health care provider first.
These tips are useful for caring for your baby's skin while your baby has acne:
- Clean your baby's face each day. Wash your baby's face daily with warm water. Alternate between using plain water one day and water with a mild, moisturizing facial soap the next.
- Dry your baby's face gently. Pat your baby's skin dry.
- Don't pinch or scrub the acne. You may cause more irritation or an infection.
- Avoid using lotions, ointments or oils. Such products likely will make baby acne worse.
Preparing for your appointment
If you're following a standard well-baby exam schedule, your baby will likely visit with your family's health care provider or a pediatrician soon. These regular appointments offer a good opportunity to discuss concerns about your baby's health. For baby acne, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Is my baby's condition likely temporary or long lasting?
- What treatments are available?
- What advice do you have for my baby's skin care?
- Will this acne scar my baby's face?
What to expect from your doctor
To determine the seriousness of your baby's acne, your baby's health care provider may ask you:
- Do you have a family history of severe acne?
- Has your baby come into contact with any medications that can cause acne, such as corticosteroids or iodine-containing drugs?