Neonatal Acne

Neonatal acne is a very common rash seen in the first few months of life. Neonatal acne is also known as:

  • Acne neonatorum.

  • Baby acne.

It is a common rash that affects about 20% of infants. It usually shows up in the first 2 to 4 weeks of life. It can last up to 6 months. Neonatal acne is a temporary problem that goes away in a few months. It will not leave scars.

CAUSES

The exact cause of neonatal acne is not known. However, it seems to be due to hormonal stimulation of skin glands. The hormones may be from the infant or from the mother. The mother's hormones enter the fetus's body through the placenta during pregnancy. They can remain in the infant's body for a while after birth. It may also be that the infant's skin glands are overly sensitive to hormones.

SYMPTOMS

Neonatal acne is seen on the face especially on the forehead, nose, and cheeks. It may also appear on the neck and the upper part of the back. It may look like any of the following:

  • Raised red bumps.

  • Small bumps filled with yellowish white fluid (pus).

  • Whiteheads or blackheads.

DIAGNOSIS

The diagnosis is made by an exam of the skin.

TREATMENT

There is usually no need for treatment. The rash most often gets better by itself. A cream or lotion for bad cases may be prescribed. Sometimes a skin infection due to bacteria or fungus can start in the areas where the acne is found. In that case, your infant may be prescribed antibiotic medicine.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Clean your infant's skin gently with mild soap and clean water.

  • Keep the areas with acne clean and dry.

  • Avoid using baby oils, lotions, and ointments unless prescribed. These may make the acne worse.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

Your infant's acne gets worse.