While most people wouldn’t think of it, if you’re reading this article, you have probably already noticed that little babies can get little baby acne. Despite the fact that baby isn’t as ubiquitous or as famous as teenage acne, it is actually very common.
Usually starts when your little one is around 2 to 4 weeks old and can last all the way through 5 to 6 months old. In most cases, you might notice that their acne is worst when they are between 6 to 12 weeks old.
While the acne might look a little unsightly to you, it is almost never painful and your baby probably won’t know the difference. Still, it can be distressing enough to adults that you might be wondering how you can make it stop.
Remedies range from the straightforward – such as using a mild baby soap on their little faces, all the way to the strange and maybe slightly unsettling – such as breast milk. I don’t have anything against breast milk, and probably wouldn’t be super opposed to using it on my own baby should the need arose, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that there are a lot of you out there who might be a little less keen on this particular method.
Lucky for you, there are a number of other things you can try.
Baby Acne Remedy 1: Do Nothing
Oddly enough, the number 1 recommended advice from pediatricians around the world is… do nothing.
Getting a little bit of acne as an infant isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As we mentioned earlier, it’s very common and completely natural. In the vast majority of cases, baby acne will clear up on its own, without any prompting from you, as the baby ages (and then will come back about 13 years later, because biology just really likes to embarrass you).
It might be tempting to want to clear that up as soon as possible because we, as adults, don’t like having it there, but your baby’s not going to prom for a while, they can deal.
That being said, if it’s really bugging you, or if you have family pictures coming up soon or something, there are a few other things you can try that are fine, too, if you must. (Disclaimer: please always talk to a doctor about products you are using on your baby, especially if your baby’s skin turns red, develops a rash, or if the acne gets worse).
Baby Acne Remedy 2: Use a baby soap
In most cases, there isn’t a distinction between baby body soap and baby face soap. All of a baby’s skin is very delicate and requires a mild cleanser.
You can use most baby soaps to carefully wash your baby’s face, careful (as you might assume anyways) to avoid their eyes.
If, for whatever reason, you’re not able to use a baby soap, you may substitute an adult soap – with certain restrictions.
Baby Acne Remedy 3: Use an adult soap – with certain restrictions
As we mentioned earlier, a baby’s skin is very delicate. Using an abrasive substance on their skin can cause irritation, redness, or even a rash. There are plenty of products out there which can help ease your baby’s acne without causing any of these extra uncomfortable, and sometimes even painful, side effects. There’s no excuse to use an adult soap on your baby that is too abrasive and will cause them unnecessary discomfort. Worse case scenario, you can use the first remedy we talked about in this article – which is to do nothing.
That being said, there are some adult products which may be mild enough for your baby.
As far as adult products go, using a mild moisturizing adult face wash is often safe enough for your baby’s sensitive skin.
A Few Big NOPEs in Baby Acne Care
- Don’t ever squeeze the bumps that arise on your baby’s face due to their acne. Most doctors and even beauty professionals will suggest you don’t even pop adult zits, and this goes even more so for babies. No. No. NO. Not only is this extremely uncomfortable (and even painful) for your baby, but it can actually make their acne worse. When our skin gets irritated, it produces more oil in order to protect itself. You know what’s irritating? Popping a baby’s zits. You know what more oil means? More zits. It’s wrong in two ways. So no. In case you were still unsure about that one. No.
- Avoid using abrasive scrubs designed for teenagers going through puberty. When a child is going through puberty, their skin tends to get very oily. In order to counteract this and bring the budding teen’s skin back down to a more balanced state, products made for them tend to be very drying. If you’ve ever suffered through a winter with cracked knuckles, you know that this is not something you want for your infant. Avoid these types of washes at all costs.
- When washing your baby’s face, try not to scrub it with a towel or a washcloth the way that you might do on your own face. Gently patting your infant’s face dry will do the trick. When applying the soap, use your fingers to gently massage it on in small circles.
So remember: baby acne is normal, painless and can be treated with very mild products, along with healthy doses of time and love (probably).
Oh, and if you’re really adventurous, you can always try the breast milk method and let us know how that works for you!