neonatal acne

What Is Neonatal Acne? How Should You Treat It At Home?

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This is a guest post by Muhammad Uzaam.

Neonatal acne is one of babies’ most common skin conditions, but it is neither harmful nor contagious. It is mostly caused by skin exposure to maternal hormones.

Some other factors can cause neonatal acne. However, babies are affected by this condition at various points in their lives.

Baby acne has three variations. These are Neonatal acne, baby acne, and infantile acne. 

What are the differences between each term, what causes them, and how do you treat each condition in your baby? 

Well, this article is all about it. So, let’s start with the difference between the most confusing terms.

Neonatal acne vs baby acne vs infantile acne

Before learning about treatment, it is important to differentiate each term to understand your baby’s condition better. Almost all these terms have the same symptoms, which makes them more confusing. 

However, there is an age difference between each condition.

Neonatal Acne is a common skin condition that causes red bumps on your baby’s skin. These bumps often affect the face (often on the cheeks) and neck. It affects babies in the neonatal period (first 4 weeks).

Baby Acne is a condition that causes red bumps on the neck, face, and cheek. It mostly appears on the baby’s face. It affects babies after the first few weeks of birth. It lasts a maximum of 6 months. 

Infantile Acne is a condition that causes red bumps and lesions, which mostly appear in adults. It affects babies of 6 months and toddlers age. The symptoms of infantile acne are bearable but more severe than neonatal and baby acne. 

The first two phases are the most common and usually fade out.

What causes neonatal acne?

Neonatal acne is mostly caused by hormonal transfer. Some hormones remain in your baby after birth, which causes the overactivation of sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are responsible for creating an oil known as Sebum. Sebum is good for skin health. 

The overactivation of sebaceous glands causes the overproduction of Sebum. The pores on your baby’s skin get clogged due to sebum, which causes bumps to form on the skin. 

That’s how acne affects your baby. Sometimes, breastfeeding can also lead to acne because breast milk can affect baby hormones. The hormone disturbance may lead to neonatal acne but you should consult a doctor first for a better diagnosis. 

What does neonatal acne look like?

Neonatal acne causes the formation of small pimples and bumps due to clogged pores on the skin. These small pimples are different from severe rashes and are easy to identify. 

In neonatal and baby acne, these symptoms are mild. However, in infantile acne, the pimples become large lesions and need proper treatment. You might see mild inflammation around red bumps in each stage. However, this inflammation may appear more in infantile acne. 

When does neonatal acne go away?

Neonatal acne usually fades out within a few weeks. It starts from the neonatal age and fades within 1 month. However, infantile acne lasts longer than neonatal and baby acne.

Infantile acne can last up to toddler age. The symptoms are usually severe in infantile acne. 

Most of the time, your baby needs treatment if affected by infantile acne. 

Baby acne is harmless, so you don’t need to worry about red bumps on your baby’s skin. However, you must consult a good pediatrician if they don’t resolve independently. 

Neonatal acne treatments

In most cases, neonatal acne is harmless and won’t need specific treatment. If your baby’s acne symptoms are severe, you should look at the treatment methods below to eliminate these red pimples on your baby’s skin.

  1. Keep your baby’s skin clean

If your baby is affected by acne, you must wash your baby’s face daily with warm water. It will keep your baby’s skin clean from irritants and dust particles. Use lukewarm water to wash the baby’s face.

After washing, pat dry the area. Use a clean and soft washcloth. Avoid hard rubbing because it can damage your baby’s sensitive skin.

  1. Don’t use lotions, creams, and other products

Your newborn doesn’t need artificial products from the neonatal period. Using lotions, creams, ointments, and harsh products on your baby may cause more harm than good. Such products can worsen the situation. 

Also, avoid using natural or artificial oils on your baby’s acne. These contain protein and other elements which may cause allergic reactions. 

So, don’t apply any cream on your baby’s skin unless a good pediatrician recommends it for your baby. 

  1. Avoid exposure to high temperatures:

High temperatures can cause sweating, leading to bacteria being trapped in pores, worsening the condition. Sun rays for a limited time are good for a baby’s skin because your baby needs Vitamin D. 

Use lukewarm water – hot water can remove natural oil from your baby’s skin, leading to dryness.

  1. Avoid scrubbing:

Scrubbing your baby’s face can prematurely damage pimples and leave scars which make the skin vulnerable to various infections. So, you must avoid scrubbing or picking red bumps to avoid severe symptoms. 

  1. Wait until they fade out:

It is better to avoid using creams (even medicated creams) on your newborn to save your baby from depending on chemicals and products. Use preventive measures to take care of your baby’s skin from worsening the conditions and let nature heal neonatal acne. 

Generally, there is no need to get treatment because baby acne is a harmless condition that recovers within a few weeks or months. However, if you see severe symptoms, pain, inflammation, and other issues, seek medical help. 

Even if you don’t use preventive measures, your baby will recover from neonatal acne within a few weeks. However, we have given you some preventive measures as a treatment method for getting rid of baby acne quickly. 

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