My son was born a week late, so even though I delayed bathing him for the sake of letting the vernix absorb, most of it was gone by the time he was born. He had perfectly smooth and soft baby skin… like an angelic cartoon baby!
That quickly changed.
About two weeks later the cradle cap started showing and soon after baby acne.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: as hard as it can be to see (especially if, like me, you have PTSD from your own acne) – baby acne is totally normal.
When does baby acne typically occur?
“Your baby could have red or white pimples from birth or they could appear after the first few weeks, usually just on the cheeks, but sometimes they reach up to their forehead and down to the chin,” says Kim Walls, founder of BEB Organic. “Though they can irritate and turn a model child into a mottled child, they will disappear with time.”
Walls goes on to explain that this acne-prone stage in baby’s life is a little-known, but normal, phase of skin development that affects over 20% of babies in the first six weeks of life. “It occurs as your baby’s skin adjusts from the aquatic environment in mom’s belly to the air environment after delivery and to the rush of hormones your baby received shortly before birth.”
Walls underlines six triggers for baby acne. Your baby can have one or a combination:
1) hormonal imbalance
2) pH imbalance
3) vitamin/mineral imbalance
4) protective vs pathogenic bacterial imbalance
5) dehydration (also known as trans-epidermal water loss)
6) excess of a certain yeast called Malassezia
When I went to my son’s pediatrician and then to a pediatric dermatologist I was told that I could do nothing and that the mild acne would heal in a few weeks to a few months on its own. If it was really “bothering me” I was told to use a gentle, fragrance-free cream. It was over-the-counter, but I got it from a pharmacist. It didn’t do much of anything. I could have probably just as well used one of these. The only thing that helped was waiting a few weeks. In hindsight, I would have skipped putting anything on it at all and just let his skin be. It was certainly bothering me a lot more than it was bothering him!
That said, Walls notes acne could present a risk of infection and if your baby scratches themselves consistently it could even cause scarring. If you’re looking to try something, BEB Organic Soothing Serum is newborn-safe and contains a blend of herbal medicinals in a data-backed blend of superfood nutrients. In clinical testing, 98% of users agreed that BEB Organic Soothing Serum balances and clears the skin. It’s also safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women who want to deal with their own post-birth acne without the use of harsh or potentially harmful chemicals on the skin.