Explaining Baby's Acne
Q: My baby is three weeks old, and he has little red pimples on his face. It looks like a heat rash, and it seems to be getting worse. Is there anything that I can put on his face to help it go away?

A: Newborns have many rashes. A heat rash is merely a manifestation of beads of perspiration attempting to exit through the channels (pores) of the skin. Some infants have "baby" acne. As mom's and baby's blood freely mix during pregnancy, so do mother's hormonal levels. After birth, as a baby's circulatory pattern gets established, fluctuating hormones predispose the infant (as happens with teens) to acne. I suggest washing his face with a warm mild soap solution. Swish a bar of mild soap in warm water, then wet his face cloth and gently wipe his face. Rinse with plain warm water. This will help to gently exfoliate and "unplug" his tiny pores, the openings for his oil and sweat glands. Avoid putting lotions or oils on his face as they may irritate and will only further block the natural breathing of his skin, causing the rash to worsen. With patience and time, most rashes resolve without special intervention or medications.

Lillian M. Beard, M.D, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is an associate clinical professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C. She is a frequent guest expert and spokesperson on national television programs, discussing issues related to children's health. Dr. Beard practices pediatrics in Washington, D.C.

The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.

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