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Acne in Babies – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Aug 6, 2023

Acne in Babies - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Table Of Contents

Worried about your skin condition? Get in touch with best of our skin specialists in Pune. For a skin treatment, book an appointment with our dermatologists near you +919584584111

What causes Baby Acne?

Types of Baby Acne

Conditions that May Resemble Baby Acne 

How to Treat Baby Acne?

When to call the doctor?

Acne is something that most of us deal with day in and day out. When the oil glands of our skin produce excess oil, the oil along with the dead skin cells can block and clog our skin pores, triggering the process of acne. One may experience white heads black heads, red bumps and pus points according to the level of blocks and amount of infection and inflammation in the oil glands. 

When it comes to acne, it is usually a problem for teens and adults. But did you know that your baby can get acne too?

Yes, babies developing acne is not an impossible occurrence; in fact, it is quite common. 

Baby acne is the name given to the red or white bumps that you might have observed on your baby’s face or body. 

Baby Acne

It is also called neonatal/ infantile acne and affects about 20% of newborn babies.

What causes Baby Acne?

Why do babies develop acne? Unfortunately, this is still not known. However, based on various studies, several pointers are believed to be the cause behind baby acne. 

Maternal hormones is one of the main causes studied currently. The high levels of androgens that are seen in the mother during pregnancy can sometimes be passed on to the baby through the placenta during delivery. These hormones can cause temporary changes in the baby before they are washed out. 

Stimulation of the oil glands is one of the change that these maternal hormones can cause which leads to formation of acne in the baby 

Rarely some babies have a very strong genetic predisposition to developing acne and such babies usually develop infantile baby acne. 

Types of Baby Acne

There are two types of baby acne

Neonatal Acne: 

Neonatal Acne

Neonatal acne is formed during the first 2-3 weeks of birth. It is not a severe type of acne, and the symptoms are usually mild. Neonatal acne can be observed as small red bumps on the face, mainly on the nose and cheeks. It is usually formed due to the overgrowth of a fungus called the Malassezia, which is normally present on the skin. 

Being a mild form of acne, neonatal acne does not require any aggressive baby acne treatment and can be treated with only topical creams as prescribed by your dermatologist. 

Infantile Acne 

This acne  develops in 3-6 months old babies. It resembles the acne which is formed in adults. Infantile acne may be observed in any of these forms – whiteheads, blackheads and pus-filled bumps. Infantile acne is caused due to the immature hormonal surge from the adrenal glands and is associated with inflammation. As it causes inflammation, skin damage might occur, and therefore, proper acne treatment in Pune should be sought. 

In case your baby has similar acne, consult a child dermatologist and get started with the baby acne treatment in Pune

Conditions that May Resemble Baby Acne 

There are certain other skin conditions that may resemble baby acne but are different. Here is a list: 

  1. Erythema Toxicum Neonaturm 

Observed as a rash or tiny bumps, Erythema toxicum is often mistaken for acne. It is not a severe condition and develops in the first few days of a baby’s birth.  Erythema toxicum does not require any medication, and the symptoms usually disappear after a few weeks on their own. 

Conditions that May Resemble Baby Acne

  1. Milia 

A harmless condition which develops when the sweat glands are closed forming cysts. Milia are tiny white bumps that your baby might experience on their face. But, don’t worry, it won’t cause any damage. 

  1. Heat Rash


If you are overdressing your baby, then you can expect this. Heat rash is a condition when the sweat ducts are blocked, and the sweat gets trapped in the pores. The symptoms of heat rash include itchiness, irritation and redness of the skin. Again, it is not a severe condition, you just need to take some layers off your baby, and they’ll be just fine. 

Heat Rash

  1. Eczema 

Seborrheic dermatitis is a type of Eczema which may be mistaken for baby acne. It causes rash on the scalp and face and may also be associated with flakiness of skin.

  1. Bacterial or Fungal Infection 

Bacterial or fungal infections are often confused with baby acne. In skin infection, rashes and small red bumps are often formed. They are easily confused for baby acne.  These infections may become serious and need attention from a dermatologist or pediatrician 

How to Treat Baby Acne?

If you think your baby has acne, then we’ve got some solutions for you. Here are some helpful tips on how to effectively treat baby acne. 

How to Treat Baby Acne?

  1. Maintain Hygiene: The most important and effective baby acne treatment is to keep the skin clean. Understand that a baby’s skin is highly sensitive, and it requires utmost carefulness when it comes to hygiene. Wash your baby’s face with warm water and a mild cleanser. Again be careful as to not to over clean or scrub as it might cause irritation.
  2. Keep it Gentle: Avoid the use of harsh products and heavy oils and creams. Products such as retinoid or antibiotics are recommended for adults but cannot  be used for babies.Read the labels before using any cream, lotions for your baby.
  3.  Don’t use anything you don’t know: Do not experiment on your baby’s skin. Avoid using any OTC medicines and herbal or home remedies as these can damage the baby’s sensitive skin and also cause other skin problems.
  4. Keep your hands away: Do not, in any case, pinch or scrub the pimple. 

When to call the doctor?

Baby acne, in most cases, is a mild condition that gets resolved on its own. So do not panic. But, if the condition persists for more than 3 months or worsens, then it’s time to see a dermatologist.

When to call the doctor for baby acne?


Baby acne is a common condition and should not be considered something severe unless told by a dermatologist. If your baby has mild acne, then in most cases, you won’t need to see a specialist. However, if the condition turns severe, do consult a dermatologist. Our experts at Clear Skin Clinics, Pune can help solve all your acne related woes. Contact us today for more information

For treating your skin condition, feel free to get in touch with one of our best dermatologists in Pune. You can also call on +919584584111 to book an appointment at one of our skin clinics near you.


Dr Dhanraj Chavan

About the Author: Dr Dhanraj Chavan

Dr. Dhanraj Chavan is a globally trained, young, and dynamic dermatologist. He is a Consultant Dermatologist and Varicose Vein Specialist at Clear Skin, VeinMD, and HairMD.

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