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Baby Basics

Can I Treat Baby Acne?

Why does baby have acne and what can I do?

Well, clearly baby’s bumpy skin is not the result of pizza or French fries, but it is linked to hormones. While experts have not found any specific reasons why babies get acne, hormones baby inherited from Mommy during pregnancy are the big culprits. Baby acne is characterized by red bumps on baby’s cheeks, chin and forehead, and it appears anywhere from birth to three months of age. You may also see white bumps that resemble whiteheads on the same areas, including the chin. If these disappear just weeks after birth, they’re called milia. Though milia are confused with acne, it's actually dead skin that’s trapped in small pockets on the skin’s surface or inside the mouth, known as Epstein’s pearls.

According to pediatrician Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP, there is no way to prevent baby’s bumps and they should absolutely not be treated like adult acne (no pinching or popping). Instead, wash baby’s face one to three times a day with warm water and always pat dry. Do not use extra soaps or lotions. While it should clear up by four to six months, if baby’s acne refuses to tame, talk to your doctor about possible treatments. And keep in mind that baby acne is extremely common in newborns and does not indicate future skin problems (whew).

Plus, more from The Bump:

Baby's Four Month Checkup

Best Baby Soaps, Shampoos and Washes

Treating Baby Eczema

By Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP