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My baby has red bumps on his face. Is it baby acne or rash?

April 8, 2021

 

My baby has red bumps on his face. Is it baby acne or rash?

 

Baby acne occurs in about 20% of babies from birth up to 6 weeks of age, and more commonly in boys. You may notice white or red bumps on your baby’s face, upper chest, or back. Baby acne is thought to be due to mother’s hormones that crossed the placenta prior to birth.

 

There are other rashes that may look similar to baby acne.

 

Heat rash (medically termed as miliaria) also appears as red bumps or blisters on the skin, usually in the folds of the neck, armpits, limbs, and chest. Heat rash is common in hot tropical climates like Singapore. To prevent or relieve heat rash, avoid long hot baths or swaddling your baby in excessive layers of clothing. A well ventilated room and the use of cool compresses are helpful to reduce heat rash more quickly.

 

Milia is another condition common in babies. They appear as small white bumps on the face, and resolve spontaneously within a few weeks.

 

Eczema and dermatitis in babies generally appear as red patches on the cheeks, chin, and skin folds of the neck and limbs. A yellow or pus discharge from the rash is a sign of infection.

What should I do to treat baby acne?

 

Baby acne usually clears up on its own without any treatment by about 6 weeks without leaving scars.

 

Newborn skin has fewer oil glands and is thinner than adult skin. Therefore, over the counter acne skincare products meant for teenagers and adults are not suitable as it will cause irritation and injury to newborn skin.

 

 

How should I care for my baby’s skin?

 

In general, the less chemicals you use on newborn skin, the better. Wash or gently wipe your baby’s face with lukewarm water, or a gentle soap-free cleanser. Don’t scrub hard – over washing or scrubbing can further irritate the skin.

 

If your baby’s skin is dry, an oil-free moisturiser may be helpful to reduce dryness and irritation.

 

Also avoid the temptation to pick or squeeze the acne, as this may cause infection and worsen the condition.

 

If your baby’s acne worsens despite the above measures, or persists beyond 6 weeks of age, do see a doctor for further advice.

 

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