First off, what causes baby acne?

Are you wondering why your little one’s face looks like a pepperoni-faced teenager’s face? Well I’m sad to say that acne isn’t just for puberty. You may have noticed an increase in acne and breakouts when you were pregnant, that’s pretty much been passed onto your new baby now. So now you’ve got a tiny, fresh newborn (or even a few month old baby) covered in acne, why?

First off, don’t worry, it won’t last but it is common. And it’s because of the same thing that caused you acne while pregnant, crazed hormones. Whether these infant breakouts are on the face or body, they’re still caused by the same thing.

Your baby’s body is still chock-full of your hormones causing the baby’s glands to produce oil, commonly around the eyelids and on the cheeks, chin, and forehead though it can also appear on the rest of the head, down the neck, and across the chest and back.

baby in a bear outfit baby acne
baby in a bear outfit


Baby acne will look the same as teenage and adult acne, just on a smaller scale (because it’s on a smaller human). This can include, pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.

Being fussy, crying, or irritable can make baby acne worse. If your little one has sensitive skin, certain fabrics, detergent, lotions, and body washes/soaps can exacerbate acne flare-ups as well.

Treating It

If the cause of the acne is simply from hormones, then all you can do is help alleviate the symptoms. Try to keep baby’s skin dry when it gets wet whether it’s wet from drool, milk, or spit-up.

If you feel inclined, use a gentle soap to wash the affected areas if they’re large sections of skin (away from eyes and the mouth). You can take a gentle wash cloth wet with just water to wipe difficult to wash areas of baby’s skin.

Avoid the use of special soaps and washes made for acne. These can be too harsh on baby’s delicate skin.

If these break outs are caused by something external affecting baby’s skin like a skin allergy or sensitivity, remove whatever is causing the affect. That may mean changing the detergent that baby’s clothes, washcloths, or bedding is washed it. It may be caused by baby’s bath time products or lotion, in which case, those products would need to be changed out.

If baby’s acne flare ups are stubborn and unceasing, consult your pediatrician with a full list of what you have tried already to treat the matter. Your child’s doctor may have other ideas of ways to treat it, or, if it comes down to it, will be able to prescribe a medicated ointment or cream to help clear up baby’s skin.

Remember not to try any prescription treatments without your child’s doctor’s approval.

What To Remember

I know it’s hard but try to keep yourself from popping, picking at, or otherwise messing with baby’s acne. This can prolong the healing process and even cause scars.

Focus on treatments. Put as much effort as you can into staying focused on treating baby’s acne to keep yourself from messing with it. You can wipe down baby’s skin 2-3 times a day with a wet wash cloth. Then pat the skin dry.

Just because a product works on your acne, doesn’t mean you should use it on baby’s. Acne products designed for adults can be too rough on infant skin.

If breastfeeding/pumping or you otherwise have access to breastmilk, you can try it as an acne treatment. It’s great as an antimicrobial wash and can help keep baby’s skin clear the natural way. Using a wash cloth, gentle dab the affected skin with breast milk a few times a day.

Other Skin Ailments To Keep An Eye Out For


There’s a pretty common skin rash that can develop called Milia. It looks like a bunch of whiteheads collected in one small area of skin.

The treatment for this is also to keep the skin clean with a wet washcloth (and gentle soap depending on the area affected.) Breastmilk will also work the same way for Milia.

Heat Rash

Heat rash typically develops after exposure to eat such as spending too much time outside. It usually develops on the chest and limbs, and sometimes in the diaper area. It looks like a bunch of wet, tiny red bumps.

Cradle Cap

The technical term is seborrheic dermatitis but is very commonly referred to as cradle cap. It usually looks like dandruff that may or may not be flaking up but can also come with small, red bumps sometimes. Cradle cap usually appears on the scalp but can appear on the eyebrows and other hair bearing parts of the body.

Diaper Rash

It is what it is, a rash on the diaper area brought on by moisture (urine or fecal matter) trapped against the skin by a diaper holding it in place and preventing air movement. It’s common and appears as angry looking, red skin. If it gets bad enough, baby may become fussy from the discomfort.


Eczema usually appears in patches of flaky and dry, red skin. It is commonly found on the cheeks, scalp, belly, chest, elbow creases, or the back of the knees. When it gets really bad, the skin may develop fluid filled pockets that look like pimples that can pop like a zit.

How long does baby acne last?

After you have gone through the different skin conditions above and you are sure it is baby acne, then this is a skin condition that quickly clears up. It could be in a matter of weeks or just a few months to about when your baby reaches six months. If at around six months, the baby ace has not yet cleared, it is advisable that you consult a professional.

The other good news about baby acne is that it won’t leave any scars on your baby’s skin like the grown acne version we have been accustomed to. Plus, this does not predict the future acne problems that are witnessed during their teenage years.

Want more of my take on how to help a baby with sensitive skin? Then check out my disposable diaper review and how each of the tons of diaper brands I’ve tried with my own kids and over 3 years in the infant room at a local daycare affect baby’s sensitive tushy skin at the link below.

disposable diaper review
disposable diaper review


treating baby acne at home pin
treating baby acne at home pin