Baby Acne: Neonatal Skin Rash
As I gazed lovingly on my little week-old baby one morning, I noticed there were little pinkish and white dots on his face. His chubby right cheek was especially bad, and I started to feel a sense of panic. My first reaction was to reach for the Guide for New Parents handbook that I got from the Nurse’s Station at the Community Center.
I soon realized that the skin condition was baby acne. Take heart that baby acne is not adolescent pimples. They look like little red bumps, and may seem “angry”. Some manifest as Milia or tiny white dots on the nose, chin or cheeks. In my experience, my baby’s acne appeared worse when he was especially fussy or when he was crying longer than usual.
Does baby acne appear on the chest? Apparently, it is quite common on baby’s skin. Baby acne can appear on the chest and back. They also appear on baby’s face. Sometimes, they can show up on the arms and legs too. If babies were to get baby acne, it would be about the time they are two to four weeks old. The acne can remain on their skin for another two to four weeks. In some cases, they can linger until about three months of age.
Before you rush to the phone to call your family doctor for an appointment, let me calm your nerves. As mothers of little ones, we know we have regularly scheduled appointments with the baby’s doctor to make sure our darling angels are meeting their developmental milestones and up to date with their vaccinations. So, write a note to yourself to mention to the doctor that you have noticed baby acne appearing in wherever they are on your baby’s skin. This way, you know your doctor knows and can take a quick look just to make sure it is indeed baby acne. Now, I only added that last clause because without laying my own eyes on your baby, I cannot guarantee that the rash you have noticed on your dearest is baby acne. With that said, however, I can assure you that it very likely is; more than 80% probability, I would guess.
The next thing I would like to assure you is that your baby is not by any means bothered by baby acne at all. I read tonnes of baby health guides, followed up on parenting forums, talked to the nurses at the Community Center and my own family doctor, and interrogated every mother with baby acne. Your sweetheart does not feel any pain, itch, or discomfort. They do not even know it is there, not even if you show them their reflection in a mirror. If you are like me and assume that your baby is smarter than most, baby may realize that the other baby in the mirror has some kind of pink stuff on their face! Again, I ask you to trust me; mother to mother.
I wanted to know the causes of this skin rash. The accepted rationale is that the mother’s hormones during the later stages of pregnancy or birth transferred to the baby. Another school of thought is that medication that the mother or baby has taken is the trigger for baby acne. The baby’s system gets rid of the effects of the hormones or medication through his or her skin. We see this as baby acne.
By now, we know that baby acne will not reduce our babies’ happiness and comfort levels. We also know that there is no cause for urgency or alarm. What is the recommended treatment for Baby Acne? Is there a different treatment method for face versus back? Or perhaps the chest treatment requires something different? What should we do to get rid of baby acne?
I am about to tell you to do something that is next to impossible for a parent, especially a parent of a newborn. The best treatment for baby acne is to do nothing. There, I said it.
Baby acne will go away by itself. Wiping, moisturizing, hydrating, bathing or other well-intended gestures will not prevent your baby from getting baby acne. Switching up your routine will not shorten the time the baby acne will remain on your baby’s skin. Be sure not to aggravate the baby acne by unnecessarily “helping” to get rid of it. I repeat: the best treatment for baby acne is no treatment at all.
Before I leave you to your musings, I would like to pass along something a midwife with over thirty years of experience shared with me. “Just let Mother Nature.” Happy Parenting!