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Baby acne

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Mar 1, 2024.

Overview

Baby acne is a condition that causes small bumps on a newborn's skin — often on the face and neck. Baby acne is common and temporary. There's little you can do to prevent it, and it often clears up on its own without scarring.

Other names for this condition are infantile acne and neonatal acne.

Baby acne

Illustration of baby acne on different skin colors. Baby acne often shows up 2 to 4 weeks after birth and clears up without treatment.

Symptoms

Baby acne is small, inflamed bumps on a baby's face, neck, back or chest. It often develops within 2 to 4 weeks of birth.

Many babies also develop tiny, pimple-like bumps on the face. These harmless spots are called milia. They disappear on their own within a few weeks.

Another condition that might be mistaken for baby acne is benign cephalic pustulosis (BCP), also called neonatal cephalic pustulosis. A bad reaction to yeast on the skin causes BCP.

None of these conditions is caused by the type of bacterium that causes acne in teens and adults.

When to see a doctor

Talk with a member of your baby's healthcare team if you have concerns about your baby's skin.

Causes

Baby acne is caused by hormones that the baby is exposed to before birth.

Risk factors

Baby acne is common. There are no risk factors for this condition.

Diagnosis

Baby acne can usually be diagnosed on sight. No testing is needed.

Treatment

Baby acne often clears up on its own within several weeks to months. If the acne appears to have cysts or scars or is not slowly improving, your baby may need a prescription medicine.

Check with your baby's healthcare team before trying any acne medicines you can get without a prescription.

Self care

These tips are useful for caring for your baby's skin while your baby has acne:

Preparing for your appointment

If you're following a standard well-baby exam schedule, your baby will likely have an appointment soon. These regular appointments allow you to discuss concerns about your baby's health. For baby acne, some basic questions to ask at the appointment include:

What to expect from your doctor

To find out how serious your baby's acne is, be prepared to answer these questions:

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