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Baby Acne

Simran was distraught. Her newborn daughter’s beautiful face suddenly broke out into a rash that resembled acne. Acne? Whoever heard of a newborn baby developing acne? That surely wasn’t possible… or was it? 

Hormones

More than 30 percent of babies are born with, or more commonly, develop a rash soon after birth. There are various types of rashes, baby acne being one form. This form of acne usually begins when a baby is around 3 weeks, and can last until the baby is 4 or 6 months old. Baby acne is perfectly normal, and is caused by hormones passed to the baby, through the placenta, before birth. These hormones stimulate the oil glands on your baby’s skin, leading to baby acne. In addition to acne, the hormones may also cause your newborn son or daughter to have tiny breasts. These breast buds are in no way permanent, and all soon disappear with time. Sometimes newborn girls may have some vaginal bleeding, similar to a period. This is also due to hormones passed on to the girl, and is not a cause for concern. The bleeding will stop soon enough, and will not recur until your daughter is an adolescent. 
 

Irritation

Often, the baby’s skin breaks out into pimples, and while most of the acne is in the form of red rash, whiteheads are also common. While the acne will be most visible on the face, a few pimples may appear on the chest and arms as well. If your child is agitated for some reason, heated up or unwell, the rash may become more severe, causing you further anxiety. Similarly, if his skin is irritated, the rash will worsen. Take care not to wash your child’s towels or bibs in harsh detergents, as these may irritate the skin if not carefully and completely washed off. Make it a point to gently clean out saliva or milk from his face, so they do not cause further irritation. 
 

Oils

Clean his face with water gently, and use a mild baby soap to wash his face. There is no need to rush around looking for a cure. Baby rash disappears on its own, with time, so applying oils and medications will not help, and are in any case, not required. In fact, applying oils will almost definitely cause the acne to worsen. 
 

Allergy

Make sure this is indeed acne, and the rash is not just because your baby is allergic to something. If you feel your child may have an allergy, keep a lookout for any possible allergens, and keep them away from your baby. 
 

Winter Care

If your baby has acne, how do you look after her skin in the winter? Always remember, use less moisutriser and stay away from heavy creams. Use light, non-scented lotions. Also, make sure you do not over-bundle your child. Your baby will show her discomfort if she is too cold, but will not, if she is too warm. As a result, your child’s skin will break out into a heat rash (yes, heat rash is surprisingly common in the winter too) worsening her acne. So if you take your baby outdoors in the winter, cover her up well, but make sure you remove some of the layers when you bring your child indoors.  
 

And finally, there is no reason to believe that just because your child has had baby acne, she will be susceptible to teenage acne. At times, the babies with the severest acne have grown up to develop flawless skin.

Understand Baby's Skin: Read more about cradle cap, diaper rash and heat rash.
 

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