Baby Acne

Understanding Baby Acne

April 10, 2022
baby face with acne

Most people think of acne as something that affects mainly teenagers and, for the most part, that’s true. But did you know acne also occurs in newborns and infants? It’s surprisingly common, too, and it’s estimated that up to 20% of newborns are either born with acne or will develop it within the first 4 weeks of life1. What causes baby acne?

There are several theories about what causes baby acne but it’s likely that, as with adolescent acne, it’s a combination of factors1. The condition is more common in boys so it’s thought that androgens (male sex hormones) produced in the adrenal glands and gonads play a role2. Babies also excrete more sebum and have enlarged sebaceous glands—another time sebum production ramps up is during puberty, which is one of the reasons it’s so common in teenagers3. Once babies reach about 6 months of age, the sebaceous glands reduce in size and the rate of sebum excretion reduces, at which point the acne will often clear up on its own1.

Treatment: What to do about baby acne?

Usually, baby acne is mild and doesn’t require treatment. It’s important to continue with a gentle cleansing and moisturising routine and avoid any vigorous scrubbing—remember, acne is not caused by dirt on the skin and extra rubbing is only likely to irritate and inflame the skin further4. You should also avoid reaching for an over-the-counter treatment without talking to a doctor first. The clinical trials for most acne medications focussed on patients aged 12 and above, so there’s little known about their safety in babies and infants4. If you’re concerned that your baby’s acne is getting more severe, or is persisting beyond 6 months, talk to your doctor about a suitable treatment.

By Josh Townley, PhD.

Josh is a science writer with 10 years experience in the pharmaceutical and skincare world, first developing products in the R&D lab, then registering them in the regulatory department. He has a PhD in chemistry and a bachelor’s degree in forensic science.

You Might Be Interested In

  • QV Baby Bath Oil

    79 Reviews

    QV Baby Bath Oil

    79 Reviews
    A water dispersible oil formulated with added Tocopherol (Vitamin E) to help cleanse and moisturise skin daily. Suitable for delicate and sensitive skin.
  • QV Baby Moisturising Cream

    87 Reviews

    QV Baby Moisturising Cream

    87 Reviews
    A rich and highly moisturising formulation including added Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) designed for daily use. Suitable for use with eczema-prone skin.
  • QV Baby 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner

    20 Reviews

    QV Baby 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner

    20 Reviews
    A paediatrician recommended, gentle, tear-free foaming formulation, suitable to use daily for washing, cleansing and conditioning baby’s hair.
Subscribe Form