To help keep your baby’s skin healthy and clear, follow these simple steps:
Wash your baby’s face with lukewarm water and a mild soap like Dove or Johnson & Johnson.
Wash your baby’s face with lukewarm water and a mild soap like Dove or Johnson & Johnson.
Wash your baby’s face twice a day, morning and night. Use lukewarm water in the sink and wash gently, making sure that you don’t scrub too hard or irritate their skin. Avoid using soaps that contain ingredients such as alcohol, menthol, peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil—these can all be irritating to sensitive skin. If you’re using bar soaps rather than liquid ones, make sure to rinse them off completely before rinsing gently with warm cotton balls or gauze pads soaked in clean water (and then pat dry).
Avoid antibacterial products when possible since they can cause allergic reactions; instead use a mild hand soap if needed followed by thorough rinsing with lukewarm water
Avoid applying creams, lotions, or oils on the acne.
- Avoid applying creams, lotions, or oils on the acne.
- If you do apply a cream, use a mild one like Cetaphil or Aveeno. These are moisturizing and won’t clog your baby’s pores.
- Don’t use products that contain alcohol as they dry out the skin even more and can irritate it further.
- Don’t use products with salicylic acid because they are too harsh for babies’ delicate skin
Don’t scrub your baby’s face.
The first thing you should know is that you don’t need to scrub your baby’s face. Scrubbing can irritate the skin and cause irritation, inflammation, and sensitivity to sunlight. It can also spread bacteria from one part of the body to another.
When your baby has a rash or acne flare-up, use a clean cloth or cotton pad soaked with warm water to gently rub his/her face and neck until it feels soft again (don’t be afraid to repeat this as necessary). If there is any dirt on their head or hairline—and you see any white marks left behind by sunscreen—you may want to gently rinse these off with some water afterward too!
Don’t pop the blemishes.
It’s tempting to squeeze out the acne bumps, but this can cause infection. And if you leave your skin untreated, it can lead to scarring. So be patient and get it checked by a dermatologist if your baby’s skin remains irritated for more than two weeks or has any signs of infection.
If you do decide to pop the blemishes yourself—which is not recommended—make sure that you sterilize your hands and use clean tools before touching their face; this will help avoid possible spread of bacteria that could lead to infection or scarring.
Baby acne is common and can be managed at home.
If you’re concerned about your baby’s acne, see your pediatrician. Baby acne is common and can be managed at home.
- It’s not contagious.
- It’s not caused by poor hygiene.
- It’s not caused by diet — although eating chocolate or greasy foods may make breakouts worse in some children (not all babies react this way).
Natural Cure For Baby Acne
Unfortunately, the scientific community hasn’t come to a clear consensus on what causes baby acne. It is clear, however, that baby acne is completely normal, benign, and common. Baby acne shows up on breast fed and formula-fed babies at equal rates and is more common in babies born full-term.
Various researchers have suggested it is most likely the result of leftover maternal hormones from birth in the baby’s bloodstream, that cause an increase in oil production. Combine that with immature sweat glands and you have a breakout.
Imbalanced gut flora
Opportunistic gut flora may also aggravate baby acne, according to an article published by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.
Babies start developing their gut flora in utero, influenced by mom’s gut health, and continue to grow their flora during delivery and through contact with the wider world. There is a bevy of conditions that can occur from imbalanced gut flora, including inflammation, irritation, and even acne. For more information on probiotic supplementation and treatment for infants, check out our post on probiotics for babies.
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How to Get Rid of Baby Acne
Although doctors don’t know exactly what causes baby acne, you can rest assured that it is totally harmless. It causes no pain or irritation for your wee one. Remember: Baby acne is temporary. It nearly always clears up without scarring. If baby acne hasn’t cleared up within three months, contact your doctor.
It is best to keep the skin clean and not to disturb the pimples.
While some natural remedies suggest putting breastmilk on the affected areas, this could possibly contribute to clogged pores because of the difference in pH levels of the skin and the milk, based off an article in the British Journal of Midwifery.
Try to keep baby’s skin clean and dry, and baby acne will clear before long!
When keeping the baby’s skin clean, be mindful of the delicate nature of baby’s skin. The skin is our largest organ and is a permeable membrane. Think of skin as a sponge. It takes in everything we put on it and absorbs it into the body. Baby will essentially “ingest” anything that is put on his or her skin, so it is important to use only natural, safe, and gentle skin care for your baby.
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Natural Baby Acne Treatments
Although baby acne itself is as natural as it comes, it’s totally understandable to want to lessen the bumps for those adorable newborn photos (learn how to take your own pictures here). For those of us who don’t want to spend hours color correcting and smoothing in Photoshop, here are some some all-natural treatments and advice for dealing with baby acne.
- Avoid Overdressing. Infant skin conditions can be exacerbated by overdressing. Trapping too much heat against the skin can cause excessive sweating and irritation, and can even cause the proliferation of bacteria. Of course, in the first few days of life, a newborn has difficulty regulating temperature, which is why skin-to-skin contact with caregivers is so important. No risk of overdressing there!
- Avoid Excessive Washing. Baby’s pH is delicately balanced. The skin pH at birth is 6.4, but reduces to 4.9 within the first week. For babies born prematurely, this process can take even longer. This acidification helps as a natural antibacterial and a natural protection against infection. Soaps, cleansers, lotions, and other skin products can all disrupt the amazing work your baby’s skin is doing naturally! Some families may choose to use only water to bathe their newborns. In 2002, Sharon Trotter, a practicing midwife in the UK, conducted thorough research and observations to show that babies who were only washed with water for the first month didn’t present skin maladies like baby acne, cradle cap, and other rashes. Her research has been cited multiple times within the British Journal of Midwifery. Here at Mama Natural, we’ve also taken a stand against soap for grown-ups and littles!
- Use Diluted, Alcohol-free Witch Hazel. Witch hazel is a fantastic natural astringent which can help clear oil from the skin and pores when applied topically as a baby acne treatment. It also works great in homemade baby wipes for a gentle, natural cleanser.
- Apply Apple Cider Vinegar. Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water. The apply to affected areas with a cotton ball, then wipe and rinse clean. While you have your bottle of apple cider vinegar out, be sure to check out our list of 101 uses for apple cider vinegar. No matter the question, the answer usually involves apple cider vinegar.
- Probiotics for Mom and Baby. If you are breastfeeding, keep your diet probiotic rich — think yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, or miso. Breast milk encourages good bacteria growth in baby’s gut, and even helps provide the most beneficial strains of probiotics right to baby. It’s a great idea for mom to also take a supplemental probiotic to increase healthy bacteria in her colostrum and breastmilk. There are also a handful of safe and effective ways to give probiotics to your newborn, if you and baby’s healthcare provider decide this is the best course of action. Benefits of supplementing with probiotics can include reduced allergic tendencies, avoiding colic, acid reflux, or diarrhea. Probiotics are administered in powder or liquid form that can be mixed with breastmilk or formula and given to baby, or even put directly on your nipples if you are breastfeeding. If you supplement probiotics for your baby, make sure to monitor for issues like allergy development or altered immune responses. Again, be sure to keep this an open conversation with your pediatrician.
The American Academy of Dermatology has also endorsed the topical application of probiotics to treat acne. Research has found that topically applied probiotics help treat acne in three ways.
1.) Probiotics applied to the skin create a protective shield so that the baby’s immune system doesn’t target and worsen acne.
2.) The probiotics themselves can attack bad bacteria that could be triggering inflammation.
3.) Probiotics have a calming effect on the skin cells to reduce immune responses.
After the study, some participants applied yogurt masks to their skin to recreate the helpful effects of probiotics. This could also be achieved by making a paste with liquid or powder probiotics. However, there has been no research or studies to prove the effectiveness of homemade probiotic masks.
What If Baby Acne Doesn’t Clear Up?
If your baby’s break out just won’t clear, you may be mistaking another skin condition for baby acne. Below are some various skin conditions that are similar to baby acne but require their own diagnosis and set of remedies.
Hopefully, the tips above will help you manage your baby’s acne. Remember that it only lasts for a short time and is completely harmless, so don’t stress about it too much! Just remember to keep those hands off of your little one’s face and follow our advice for avoiding future breakouts.