Baby Acne, Not as Bad as it Looks!

Newborn baby acne

Baby acne (neonatal acne) is a common, but not serious complaint which usually appears about three weeks after the birth, although it can be present  at the time of the birth.  A baby acne rash looks like red bumps or pimples and usually appears on the face -- mainly on the cheeks, forehead and chin.

Baby acne is though to be caused by the mothers hormones which pass through the placenta and are present in the baby's sebaceous glands. About 20% of babies are affected, male babies are more prone than females.

Although it may look alarming, treatment for baby acne isn't normally necessary as it will more often than not, disappear by itself after a few weeks. If your baby develops acne, it doesn't necessarily mean they will have acne in later life. Also if mum or dad suffer with acne, it doesn't necessarily mean baby will have acne too.

There are other rashes which baby could have which sometimes can be confused with baby acne. These are infant eczema and seborrheic dermatitis.

Infant eczema will appear later than baby acne, typically between one and five months of age. It appears as red bumps or patches mainly on the face but sometimes all over the body.

Infant eczema may be caused by allergies, for example to cow's milk, although it can also be caused by dry skin. Simple eczema just needs treating with a natural moisturizer however steroid treatment may be needed if the eczema is severe.

Seborrheic dermatitis (seborrhea) appears mainly on the hairy parts of the baby's body for example the eyelashes, eyebrows or scalp. It looks like red pimples which are smaller than the pimples of baby acne. Seborrheic dermatitis can also appear as yellow crusty scales.

Seborrhea can be treated with steroid creams if severe. It will usually eventually go away on it's own.

Neither a baby acne rash, infant eczema or seborrhea are causes for concern unless they are very severe or persist for months. Normal bathing and baby hygiene will take care of most cases.

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