Neonatal Acne: Causes and Management

Neonatal Acne: Causes and Management

Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Saranjit Kaur

MBBS, MD | Sr. Consultant – Neonatology



Neonatal acne, often referred to as baby acne, is a skin condition that affects newborns and infants. While it may be surprising to see blemishes on your baby’s delicate skin, it’s generally a harmless condition that often resolves on its own. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on understanding and managing neonatal acne.

What is Neonatal Acne?

Neonatal acne manifests as small red or white bumps, often resembling the acne seen in teenagers. These bumps can appear on various parts of the baby’s face, including the cheeks, nose, and sometimes even the forehead. It’s important to differentiate neonatal acne from other skin conditions like eczema or heat rash.

Causes of Neonatal Acne

The exact cause of neonatal acne is not fully understood. However, it is believed to be related to hormonal changes that occur shortly after birth. These hormones can stimulate the baby’s oil glands, leading to acne. Other factors like skin irritation or the presence of yeast can also contribute to the condition.

Home Care Remedies

 Managing neonatal acne at home involves simple skincare routines:
  • Gentle Cleansing: Use a mild, fragrance-free cleanser to clean the affected area.
  • Avoid Scrubbing: Do not scrub the acne as it can irritate the skin further.
  • Moisturizing: Use a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated.

When to Seek Medical Help

While neonatal acne is generally not a cause for concern, there are instances when medical advice is necessary:
  • Persistent Symptoms: If the acne persists for more than a few weeks.
  • Severe Acne: If the acne appears to be severe or is spreading to other areas.
  • Signs of Infection: Redness, swelling, or pus indicates a possible infection.

Medical Treatments

For persistent or severe cases, healthcare providers may recommend:
  • Topical Treatments: Mild topical creams may be prescribed to reduce inflammation.
  • Antibacterial Creams: To treat any underlying bacterial infection.
  • Oral Medication: In rare cases, oral antibiotics may be prescribed.

Prevention Tips 

Preventing neonatal acne is largely about maintaining good skincare:
  • Regular Cleansing: Keep the baby’s skin clean but avoid over-cleansing.
  • Use Soft Fabrics: Opt for soft, breathable fabrics to reduce skin irritation. Avoid Harsh Products: Stick to mild, fragrance-free skincare products. 


Neonatal acne is a common but generally harmless condition that many newborns experience. With proper home care and medical advice when needed, it can be effectively managed. Always consult your healthcare provider for a diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your child’s needs. 


Is neonatal acne painful for the baby?

– Generally, neonatal acne is not painful.

Can neonatal acne occur on other parts of the body?

– It’s most commonly found on the face but can occasionally appear on the back or chest.

How long does neonatal acne last?

– It usually clears up within a few weeks but can last longer in some cases.

Is it necessary to treat neonatal acne?

– Most cases resolve on their own, but treatment may be needed for persistent or severe cases

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