Baby acne: everything you need to know

Baby acne: everything you need to know

When you think acne, you usually think of gangly teens getting ravaged by puberty. But that’s not always the case! In fact, acne can affect a wide range of people and is surprisingly common in pregnant women and newborn babies. While it may sound odd, when you know the common culprit behind acne in teens, pregnant women and newborn babies is hormones, things start to make more sense. We asked Natasha Cook, Dermatologist MBBS [Hons] FACD and the Founder of Dr Natasha Cook TM Cosmeceuticals about exactly why babies get acne and what new parents can do about it…

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So, how do you know if your baby has acne?

Don’t go expecting the same angry, inflamed spots you sported in high school! Baby acne doesn’t present like teen or adult acne, in fact, it appears, “bumpy and can look the same colour as the skin or be light pink in colour,” explains Cook. But she warns that if your baby’s skin looks flaky or scaly that this is not the same thing, so you should head to a GP or dermatologist.

How common is baby acne?

It’s common – so there is no need for new parents to stress (although that’s far easier said than done). “It can appear at birth or turn up weeks after on the chin, cheeks, forehead and chin. Some little ones even get it on their back and shoulders,” says Cook.

What causes baby acne?

“Baby acne is considered to be caused by a transfer of hormones from the mother in the final weeks of pregnancy,” explains Cook. “This hormonal transfer stimulates the old gland of the baby, causing the breakouts.” And it can become more aggravated by things like, “saliva, vomit, fabric or when the baby has an intense crying fit or if it’s really hot,” says Cook.

What can you do to treat baby acne?

In short: not a whole lot. “Apart from waiting for the hormones to leave the body,” there’s not a lot you can do treat acne, says Cook. And you shouldn’t try to do a lot either because it can backfire. Some treatments can, “dry and inflame the skin, making things worse,” explains Cook. “Keep the routine simple, gentle cleansing, not over washing and a little bit of moisturiser. With time it will naturally settle down.”

Did your newborn get baby acne?

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