Baby acne is a group of small blisters developed on the face of a new born baby. It resembles acne in teenagers, hence the name. It is mostly seen on the face but in many cases, they may spread throughout the body. There will be small white or red bumpy rashes like pimples on the baby’s face. As it develops on very small babies, like just born for days, the condition is very scary for parents. But in reality, this is a very common issue and it is mostly temporary. There can be red bumps or blisters like adult acne on the baby’s face mostly on cheeks and nose. It is common they spread to neck or upper back. In most babies, no itching or pain present. But irritation due to rough clothing, or harsh soap or powder can irritate the skin and worsen the condition. The skin rashes go on its own without any treatment in almost all cases. Also known as neonatal acne, it affects 20% of the new born babies all over the globe, despite the difference in race or gender.
It is important to know baby acne from infantile acne, the latter having blackheads, cysts or nodules as clinical manifestation. They are not seen in baby acne. Also, baby acne is self-relieving without any complications where infantile acne may leave a scar if not treated on time. Baby acne develops in the first few days and it may last up to first few months of the baby’s life but infantile acne can last till the child is 2 years old. It is very less common than baby acne, too.
Causes of Baby acne
Causes of baby acne are not completely known yet. Researchers suggest that there is a relation of baby acne with maternal hormones.
Treatment of Baby acne
In most cases baby acne does not need any treatment. It resolves on its own without any intervention within some days to weeks. But in some babies the condition lasts for months and does not go away spontaneously. In such cases, topical creams or lotions are used with a doctor’s advice. Over the counter medications are generally not encouraged in baby acne as the soft skin may present with worse signs by the use of OTC medicines. Each baby is different and baby skin is mostly sensitive. Any cream or lotion should be used only with proper prescription and after an allergic test over a small area first.
Keep the baby’s face clean from dust, sweat, oil and skin debris. Use only warm water to clean the area and tap dry with a clean and dry soft cloth. If needed, a mild soap can be used with caution not to irritate the baby’s skin or eyes. Products that contain perfumes, vitamin A etc should not be used as they can become harmful for the delicate baby skin.
In babies with sensitive skin a routine with cream or lotion is not appreciated. Better to let the baby skin open and breathable.
Avoid hard scrubbing or cleaning of the baby skin. Use gentle tapping movements with a soft towel to clean and dry the area.
Ayurvedic Concept of Baby acne
Ayurveda gives close attention and care to a new born baby and mother. Our acharyas knew how pure and at the same time a new born is, they even advised separate home for isolation for mother and baby. This might prevent the possible contraction of diseases from other people. While considering the skin, Ayurveda prescribes Balaa tailam (a medicated herbal oil formulation) to be applied on the body and head of the new born baby before bathing with a luke warm decoction of nalpamaram. Both these steps help alleviate Vaata and Pitta and prevent many diseases including skin rashes. Even though, abies can have skin problems due to their weak immune system, soft skin and mother’s hormones. Ayurveda describes such situation as vitiation of Pitta & Rakta in the baby. In most cases, the mother also shows a similar dosha vitiation and mostly her Agni(digestion) will be improper. So the medicines to regulate Agni, to remove Aama (toxic metabolic wastes) and for the excellence of Pitta & Rakta are given to the mother. Quality of the breast milk is closely monitored as high. In due time, the child is relieved from any rashes.
Ayurvedic Nidana of Baby acne
Genetic factor either from father or mother
Apathya (improper diet or behaviour) by mother during pregnancy or after delivery
Unhygienic management of delivery
Unwholesome diet by mother
Unhealthy daily & seasonal routine by mother
Lack of hygiene
Ayurvedic treatment for baby acne
In most cases, the condition is managed by external treatments which are mild to the baby along with proper diet regulations of mother. Strict hygienic measures and avoidance of any allergen like soap/harsh detergents are followed. Medicines are prescribed for the mother only in severe cases.
Internal medicines given to the mother include:
Herbal Preparations for baby acne
Mixture of honey and sesame oil
Mixture of ghee and purified castor oil
Virgin coconut oil prepared with ixora flowers
Juice of holy basil leaves
Pure organic aloe vera gel
Side effect management of baby acne by Ayurveda
Some over the counter medications, cosmetic products like creams, lotions or powders can make the situation worse. The rashes may become more predominant and redder with increased itching. The baby may be uncomfortable with constant crying or disturbed sleep. In that situation, immediately stop the use of any such products on baby’s skin. Go completely natural. Only warm water is essential to clean the baby’s skin normally. Do not rub or scratch the area. Keep the area dry with a soft cotton cloth. In severe cases, washing with nalpamaram decoction is advised.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, United States. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult your GP before the intake.
Dr. Rajesh Nair, the co-founder and chief consultant of Ayurvedaforall.Com, is a graduate of prestigious Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College (affiliated with the University of Calicut), Kerala, India. Additionally, he holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy from Annamalai University.
Dr. Nair offers consultation at two busy clinics in and around Haripad, Alleppey, Kerala, the southern state famous worldwide for authentic ayurvedic treatment and physicians. While offering consultation on all aspects of ayurvedic treatments Dr. Nair has a special interest in Panchkarma, Yoga, and Massage.
Through Ayurvedaforall Dr. Nair offers online consultation to patients worldwide and has served hundreds of patients over the last 20 years. In addition to his Ayurvedic practice, he is the chief editor of ayurveda-amai.org, the online portal of Ayurveda Medical Association of India, and the state committee member of Ayurveda Medical Association of India.
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