Can breast milk help with baby acne?

Can breast milk help with baby acne?

Any kind of skin condition that shows up on a new baby can feel a little disconcerting for a new mother, but they can rest assured that it’s more common than they think.

Baby acne or ‘neonatal acne’ is commonplace among newborn babies, taking the form of tiny red or white bumps that can affect areas such as a baby’s cheeks, forehead and chin. Baby acne is harmless and often clears up after around 4-6 months. Although there is no definitive cause of baby acne, it can be attributed to maternal or infant hormones.  Due to being quite mild in nature, neonatal acne doesn’t really need any medicinal treatment and it’s advised that you avoid using any adult acne treatment on your baby’s delicate skin.

Besides gentle soaps or washes, there is a natural remedy you can try to clear your baby’s acne, and that’s… breast milk.

Yep, that’s right. Mother’s own natural goodness and the added bonus- it won’t cost you any money, so it’s natural and resourceful.

The natural components of a mother’s breast milk are said to assist in the clearing of newborn baby acne due the lauric acid and antimicrobial properties contained in the milk. The best method is to soak a cotton ball with the milk, softly pat it on your baby’s face and let it air dry. Aside from this, the best approach is not to scrub, pick or otherwise treat it.

Related: How To Nourish Your Baby’s Skin In Winter

Related: Baby Acne: Everything You Need To Know

We asked Dermatologist, Dr Natasha Cook to shed more light on whether breast milk can help baby acne.

What causes baby acne? And does it present similarly to teenage/adult acne?

Dr Cook tells us that besides showing up on their chin, cheeks, forehead – “Some little ones even get it on their back and shoulders.” She goes further to say, “it usually subsides after a few weeks, when the levels of the mother’s hormones in the baby’s body have fallen.” With regards to the similarity between baby and teenage acne,  Dr Cook informs – “It doesn’t present like teen or adult acne. It can look the same colour as the skin or be a light pink in colour.”

However, she advises that if the skin appears flakey or scaly, then it’s best to visit your GP or consult with a dermatologist.

What products or ingredients would you recommend to treat baby acne?

“Don’t over cleanse or over wash babies’ skins. Keep it gentle and simple.” She warns that – “Some treatments can even dry and inflame the skin, making things worse” and to, “Keep the routine simple. Gentle cleansing not over washing and a little bit of moisturiser. With time it will naturally settle down.”

Can breast milk really help baby acne? If so, how? And is it recommended, or used as more of a last resort?

Cook emphasises that baby acne tends to form as a result of hormones transferring from the mother in her final weeks of pregnancy. This subsequently “stimulates the old gland of the baby, causing the breakouts. It gets a little more aggravated by things like saliva, vomit, fabric or when the baby has an intense crying fit or if it’s really hot.” She expresses that there is not much you can actually do to treat baby acne, besides waiting for the hormones to leave the body.

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Have any new mums out there tried this natural remedy? And did it work?

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