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Baby Acne flares up when Breastfeeding: A Crucial Issue!

Baby Acne flares up when Breastfeeding: A Crucial Issue!

As a mum, you’re always looking for information to help you care for your child. When it comes to baby acne flares up when breastfeeding, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do to prevent or treat it. Baby acne can be caused by hormonal changes during breastfeeding, mother’s skin contact with baby’s skin or the genetic makeup of the baby as well.

In this article, we’ll discuss the causes and treatments of baby acne in detail.

What is baby acne?

Ever notice your baby’s skin breaking out after you’ve started breastfeeding? Baby acne is a common condition that typically flares up at around 3 to 4 weeks old and lasts until the baby is around 12 months old. While it can be alarming to see your little one covered in red bumps, know that baby acne is harmless and will clear up on its own.

There are several theories about what causes baby acne, but the most likely explanation is that it is triggered by the baby’s sensitive skin coming into contact with maternal hormones in breast milk.

Baby acne is usually harmless and will go away on its own within a few weeks. In the meantime, parents can help to clear up baby acne by washing the baby’s face with a mild soap and water solution.

Causes of baby acne

Baby acne is a very common condition that affects newborns and young infants. The exact cause of baby acne is unknown, but it is thought to be related to the baby’s skin and the breast milk. Baby acne usually appears on the baby’s face, but it can also occur on the neck, chest, and back. Some causes of baby’s acne are as under:

Maternal hormones

Breastfed babies can sometimes develop a condition known as infantile acne, which is caused by the mother’s hormones passing into the breast milk. The hormone levels in breast milk fluctuate throughout the day, which can cause baby acne to flare up at different times.

baby acne flares up when breastfeeding
Breast milk contains maternal hormones!

These hormones can stimulate the baby’s oil glands, leading to the formation of pimples. The good news is that infantile acne is usually a short-lived problem and will go away on its own within a few weeks.

Sensitivity of baby’s skin

Baby’s skin is sensitive and prone to developing rashes and other skin issues. One common issue is baby acne, which is caused by a type of yeast called Malassezia. Yeasts are a type of fungus that can grow on the skin. The Malassezia yeast is a yeast living on the skin of many adults, but it can overgrow in a baby’s skin, causing redness, scaling, and inflammation.

Acne-causing bacteria

Neonatal acne is a skin condition that can affects babies. It’s the most common skin condition in newborns. Neonatal acne is caused by an imbalance of the probiotic bacteria that normally live on the baby’s skin.

These bacteria help to keep the skin healthy and free of Acne-causing bacteria such as Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus aureus. When the balance of these bacteria is disrupted, it can lead to the overgrowth of Acne-causing bacteria, resulting in neonatal acne.

Baby acne treatment: some tips

Baby acne typically begins to appear around two to four weeks after birth and often goes away on its own within a few months. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to help treat baby acne:

Breast milk is a good baby acne treatment

A newborn’s skin is very sensitive skin. Stubborn baby acne worsens the skin condition. Breast milk remedy is one of the best remedies for baby acne. Breast milk is a natural thing. It does not cause any allergic reaction to the child’s skin.

Breast milk contains lauric acid. This lauric acid contains antimicrobial properties. Therefore, it helps a lot in eliminating the bacteria that causes newborn acne in babies. Your breast milk is your golden liquid. Use it to get rid of baby acne.

Simply take a little quantity of the breast milk. Dip a cotton ball with the breast milk. Then apply it gently on the baby’s face. You can also use your fingers to apply breast milk. However, make sure that your hands are clean.

Another benefit of using breast milk is that it can be applied many times throughout the day until the baby’s acne vanishes completely. There is no time limit for breast milk as it is healthy for the newborn skin.

Use gentle cleansing products

Gentle cleansing products are ideal for the baby’s sensitive skin. Wash your baby’s face with a gentle cleanser once or twice a day. There are different products in the market that are made specifically for the sensitive skin of babies. Always use those products. For example, you can always go for Mustela Stelatopia Skin Cleansing Gel.

A baby skin care product that contains micellar water is the best option. The composition of micellar water is such that it cleanses the baby’s skin and removes dirt and impurities. However, it doesn’t affect the natural oils present in the baby’s skin. Therefore there are zero chances of allergic reactions. You can try Mustela Baby Cleansing Water for your baby.

Use super soft clothing for the skin of baby

Rough fabrics are the worst enemy of the baby’s skin. The skin is already sensitive and rough fabrics cause further irritation. Never let such fabrics come into direct contact with the skin of the baby. They tend to make baby’s skin dry.

Even when the mother is wearing any type of rough clothing like wool, the baby should keep away from them. If the baby is not having acne, such clothes trigger acne. If the baby is having acne, they make acne worse.

Never Rub! Always Pat!

An element that causes baby acne to become bad is rubbing the skin of the baby. Parents usually use towels to dry the babies after a bath or even a face wash. As a result, the sensitive skin of the baby develops acne or heat rash.

Ask your baby’s pediatrician and you’ll know how patting is the best way to dry your baby. In patting, there is no friction or heat. Hence the skin condition of the baby remains normal.

Go fragrance free

Different types of products come into contact with the skin of the baby, either directly or indirectly. For example, clothes, lotions, and oils have direct skin contact. But laundry detergents, furniture polishes, and air fresheners have indirect skin contact. Baby acne occurs in both of these ways.

Whenever you go to buy any product, always check its ingredients. Different products use chemicals to create artificial fragrances. Parents tend to buy such products with the thought that baby will smell good. However, they cause skin conditions like contact dermatitis, rashes and even newborn acne. Always prefer hypoallergenic products like mild baby soaps and creams, etc. The best available options in this regard are as under:

Never pop or pick the acne

Popping or picking the acne is shunned by every healthcare professional. Throughout your parenting journey, you may have the urge to pop your baby’s acne. However, it is formidable if you want to treat baby acne properly.

There are sebaceous glands underneath the acne. These glands are the oil-producing glands of the skin. If that acne is popped, there are high chances that the sebaceous glands will open up too. When they are open, even more oil is released and more tiny white bumps begin to form on the skin.

A healthy breastfeeding diet helps against acne

If you want to prevent baby acne, maintaining a nutritious breastfeeding diet is the key. For the first 6 months after birth, mothers go for breastfeeding solely. Therefore, it is crucial to check what you are eating as a breastfeeding mother. You can seek advice from professional lactation consultants in this regard.

Use oils wisely

Research has shown that acne is caused by clogged pores that are polluted with dirt or oils. Resultantly, red irritation and white bumps occur around the pores. Since oil is among the culprits, it is suggested to use oils (like olive oil, coconut oil, etc.,) and lotions wisely on the skin of the baby. If your baby’s skin is acne-prone, then quit using oils at all. A good option for baby oil is Pipette Baby Oil.

Regular bathing helps in preventing acne

If you want to prevent baby’s acne breakout, a good practice is to bath your baby on regular basis. Gently wash you baby with warm water and mild baby soap. This is enough for keeping the skin clean. Sweat glands produce sweat on regular basis and affect infants harshly. Mostly baby’s acne is also caused in such cases.

baby acne flares up when breastfeeding
Bathing helps a lot against baby acne!

Be patient

As a parent, you have to be patient with everything that is happening in the life of your newborn baby. After birth, the baby takes some time to get adjusted to the outside world. Viral illnesses and others as well are always around. Skin infections like contact dermatitis, rashes, and acne also present dangers to the baby.

In all these situations, if the parents do not behave patiently, things can get worse. Acne goes on its own after completing its duration. You just have to take care of the baby’s cleanliness and diet intake. Focus on the priorities and let go of all the worries.

If baby acne persists for more than a few months or if it seems to be getting worse, it is important to speak with a doctor or dermatologist to rule out any other underlying skin conditions. With proper care, baby acne usually clears up on its own within a few months.


When mothers ask why baby acne flares up when breastfeeding, the above-mentioned causes can help them a lot. Similarly, the tips that have been provided above are very helpful in preventing baby acne for good.

We would be very happy to hear from you in the comments sections of our Facebook page. You can also visit our Quora page. Feel free to leave your comments and queries about baby acne flares up when breastfeeding.

About The Author

Affaf Amjad

Having an MPhil in Applied psychology and being a mother of three kids, I have always tried to try and test different psychological interventions and approaches in the day-to-day routine of my kids. Sharing my results and effective strategies with parents around the globe is the my main aim as a writer.

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