Acne is the most common skin condition in the world and one that the vast majority of us have had some experience with. While it can cause severe self-esteem problems and body image issues, most teenagers grow out of acne by the time they reach adulthood and very little real harm is done. However, many of us carry a little residual trauma from years of acne prone skin, which is why so many parents panic when they’re newborn develops the condition.
Baby acne, also known as neonatal acne or infantile acne, is a widespread skin condition affecting newborns. It can be present at the time of birth, but more often than not it develops in the first few weeks after birth. This condition affects the baby’s face and results in clusters of little red pimples or tiny white bumps or spots. Sometimes the red bumps can resemble a rash. This is why it can often be confused with other conditions.
If your newborn baby is showing the signs and symptoms of baby acne, it’s understandable that you might be worried. However, this is a condition which affects up to 20% of infants and almost always resolves itself without any intervention. While scientists are still trying to understand baby acne more deeply, they believe that it occurs as a result of baby’s exposure to pregnancy hormones while in the womb.
The causes of baby acne aren’t any different to the causes of typical acne such as Cystic acne, or at least if they are scientists haven’t been able to identify the difference. As far as researchers can tell, baby acne is caused by the overproduction of an oil, called sebum, in the skin.
When the right amount of sebum is produced, the oil can be hugely beneficial to the skin. It keeps the skin hydrated, lubricated, soft and supple. Without it, the skin can become dry, cracked, flaky and uncomfortable. So, sebum is not the enemy at all. The problem only arises when the sebaceous gland produces too much of it.
When too much sebum is produced, it gathers on the skin and clogs the pores. Once it gathers in the pores, it starts to trap dirt, dead skin cells and other debris. This, in turn, attracts bacteria, which grow rapidly in the clogged pore. The immune system, which is highly sensitized to the presence of bacteria, immediately picks up on this and responds.
The immune response to acne bacteria comes in the form of puss filled sores across the affected area and intense inflammation of the skin. These are the symptoms which we typically associate with acne, and the tell-tale signs that a person has the condition.
Treating Baby Acne
The main difference between baby acne and other forms of the condition is that baby acne really doesn’t require any treatment. In fact, trying to treat your baby’s condition is likely to cause more harm than good. A baby’s facial skin is incredibly sensitive, and it’s advised that parents and caregivers avoid using products on it altogether. Using conventional acne treatments on a baby would only delay the healing process.
Instead, what you can do is try to keep the skin nice and dry. Newborns are continually dribbling and drooling on themselves, spitting up, and as a result, the skin on their faces is often moist and damp. When this is allowed to persist, it irritates the skin and makes the skin even more likely to break out in some shape or form. So, keeping that sensitive newborn skin dry as often as possible can go a long way towards avoiding skin problems.
Could CBD Oil Treat Baby Acne?
CBD topical creams and oils have been reported to be a great aid in moisturizing an adults skin. However, when it comes to babies and their skin, we realize that it could be quite harmful and have the opposite result. If you seek to use CBD as treatment for baby acne, please consult your doctor before doing so.
There are a number of conditions which are easily mistaken for baby acne. The three most common are heat rash, cradle cap and eczema.
You may think that your baby has antenatal acne, but it could actually be something as simple as a heat rash. Baby’s skin is very sensitive and takes some time to adjust to the outside world after birth. Heat rashes are widespread as a result, especially in the folds of fat around the body, but sometimes on the face too. In order to avoid heat rashes, you should wash your baby every day with warm water and gentle products designed specifically for babies. These will contain no harsh chemicals and won’t aggravate the sensitive skin.
Cradle cap is another extremely common skin condition affecting newborn babies. This condition results in flaky skin on the baby’s scalp which can get caught in the hair. It’s often accompanied by some redness in the affected area and can look quite painful, even though there’s no evidence to suggest that it is. Cradle cap is also caused by an excess of sebum and/or the exposure of maternal hormones. However, it also resolves itself and isn’t anything to worry about.
There are a number of different types of eczema, including seborrheic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis. It might sound severe, but it’s more common in newborn infants than you might think. Eczema is an autoimmune condition that causes allergic reactions to substances in the baby’s environment. Eczema causes the skin to become itchy and bumping and can affect any part of the body, although in babies it’s most common on the cheeks and in the folds of fat around the body. While most infants will grow out of eczema before school-going age, you should make an appointment with your family doctor if it persists or worsens.
Baby acne can be alarming, especially for first-time parents. This is completely understandable. You just want your little bundle of joy to be happy and healthy, and any indication otherwise can cause panic and fear. However, reacting too quickly won’t do you or your little one any good.
In the initial weeks after birth, a baby’s body takes time to adjust to the outside world and nowhere is this more apparent than on the skin which is, after all, an external organ. In the vast majority of cases, any apparent changes to the skin during this time will settle down on their own if given time and patience.
However, there is no denying that nobody knows a baby as well as his or her parents do. So, if you’re not happy with how your baby’s skin is responding and have concerns that he or she could need medical help, there is no reason why you shouldn’t make an appointment with your family doctor or pediatrician. They will either put your mind at ease and reassure you that your baby’s acne is just a very short phase, or will help you to find the best possible treatment to get your baby back to full health.