Newborn Skin FAQs

Q: My 3-month-old baby has acne. It does not seem to be going away. I am concerned that it will cause scars. Is any treatment available? A: Most infant acne develops around the second month of life and resolves on its own without treatment. Sometimes, when acne is severe, topical lotions or gels can be prescribed to hasten the healing process. Your dermatologist can discuss the treatment options.

Q: My newborn has developed blotchy, red bumps on the skin. Is this a reaction to my laundry detergent? A: Your child probably has erythema toxicum, a common, benign, self-limiting eruption that occurs in the first few days of birth. Few or many lesions may be present, which look like small, white or yellow bumps on a red blotch of skin. While its cause is unknown, it is not thought to be caused by any particular brand of laundry soap.

Q: What can I do for cradle cap? A: Cradle cap begins in the first few months of life and presents with a waxy, greasy scaling on top of reddened skin. It usually resolves by 1 year of age and it does not indicate that the child will have problems with dandruff or seborrhea later in life. The infant's scalp should be shampooed frequently and combed or brushed once or twice daily. Warm olive or mineral oil can be gently rubbed into the scalp to help loosen the scales. When the condition is severe, prescription medications can be used.

Q: I keep my baby's diaper area very clean, yet she still gets diaper rash. What can I do? A: Diaper dermatitis can be caused by many different things but most often develops because of wet diapers. The moist skin is particularly susceptible to chafing and friction, and thus irritation. Powders and cornstarch can help keep the diaper area dry, and if possible, allow the baby to go without a diaper. Moisture barrier creams and anti-yeast creams, when appropriate, help alleviate the irritation.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 31 Aug 2000

Last Modified: 28 Sep 2015