Newborn acne (or Neonatal Acne) is a common and normal skin condition that occurs in about 3 out of every 10 babies. It usually occurs within the first 2 weeks of life and resolves without treatment by 2 months of age.
The face will have raised red or purple bumps that look like inflamed bumps or pustules, similar in appearance to pimples.
The cause is not completely clear, but it likely involves the transfer of hormones from mother to baby just prior to birth.
The lesions are most often located on the face, but can spread to the forehead, scalp, chin, neck and occasionally the shoulder or upper back and chest.
The lesions are not painful or itchy.
Infant Acne is similar to newborn acne but starts later (after 6 weeks old).
It occurs most commonly between 2 and 9 months and usually resolves by 12 months of age.
Unlike in newborns, infant acne can occasionally become more severe with larger “pimples” or pustules, sometimes even causing small pits or scars in the skin.
If this occurs your, pediatrician will want to make sure the rash is from acne and determine potential causes. Similar rashes can occur from infections of the skin and eczema.
There is usually no treatment needed for newborn or mild infant acne.
Cleansing the skin daily, alternating between warm water only and a mild infant soap, may also be helpful.
Ointments and baby oil should not be used, as they can make the acne worse or take longer to resolve.
Never put acne medication or treatments on a newborn or infant’s skin.
More severe infant acne can sometimes be treated by your pediatrician with topical medications to prevent scars and aid in healing.
When should I be worried or get the rash checked?
If acne or pimples develop after 6 weeks of age, you should see your pediatrician to determine if it is infantile acne and if anything needs to be done to prevent scarring.
If your baby has a fever or other signs of illness along with the rash/bumps seek immediate medical care.
If the rash or lesions look like tiny blisters (bumps with clear fluid), there is crusting, discharge, or bright red skin that may be infected seek immediate medical attention as these may be signs of a more serious rash/illness.
If the rash is spreading past the upper chest and upper back or onto the scalp/head or if it seems itchy or painful, see your pediatrician.
Baby Acne – Cleveland Clinic