Baby acne, also known as neonatal acne or acne neonatorum, is a common condition seen in newborn babies. Almost 20 percent of newborns suffer from it.
Baby acne is characterized by the appearance of pimples or red bumps on the baby's scalp, forehead, and especially the cheeks. A rough skin, along with pustules, whiteheads, and blackheads is also a common indication of baby acne.
Myth 1: Baby acne is the same as infantile acne or teenage acne.
This is not true. Baby acne is not the same as infantile acne, which affects older infants over three months old. It also has no connection with the acne that teenagers and adults suffer from.
Myth 2: Baby acne can occur at anytime during childhood.
Actually, baby acne usually affects babies three to four weeks after birth. Sometimes however, babies even exhibit signs of baby acne right from the time they are born. The symptoms may appear and recede intermittently as the baby reaches around four to six months of age.
Myth 3: Baby acne is the result of poor hygiene and nursing.
On the contrary, baby acne is believed to be caused by hormones released by the mother during pregnancy. Absorbed through the placenta, these hormones play an important role in the development of the fetus during the later stages of the pregnancy. These hormones stimulate the oil glands present in the baby's skin and are thought to cause baby acne.
The symptoms may, however, get aggravated when the baby's skin reacts to irritants, such as detergent left behind in clothing or bedding, for instance. Increase in the flow of blood to the skin, brought about when the baby is hot or active, can also intensify symptoms of baby acne.
Myth 4: Baby acne is a serious condition that needs treatment.
This is just not true. Baby acne is harmless and does not really require treatment. The symptoms generally disappear on their own in a few weeks. Also, the application of creams or lotions—a common practice amongst parents—may actually worsen the symptoms, and should therefore be avoided. Gently washing the face daily, using water and baby soap, may help alleviate the symptoms of baby acne.