Many new parents are alarmed when their baby’s formerly pink and perfect face starts sprouting pimples at around 4 or 5 weeks of age. But infant acne, caused by the stimulation of oil glands by mom’s hormones, is quite common.

You can leave breakouts alone; blemishes will likely disappear in a week or two, says Martha Snyder, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Duke University School of Medicine. Tell your pediatrician if infant acne persists after three months; occasionally, it is caused by a hormone imbalance.

Many babies are born with milia, small white bumps on the face that generally subside on their own. Dry, flaky skin is also quite normal in newborns. If baby’s delicate skin remains dry after four weeks, soften it by applying infant moisturizer after baths.

Cradle cap, or scaly patches on a baby’s scalp, also often crops up at around 1 month of age. It, too, will heal without treatment, though it may take three to four months, says Dr. Snyder. In the meantime, you can rub a bit of mineral oil into baby’s scalp, loosen the skin patches with a soft-bristle brush, then wash his hair with a baby shampoo.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 16 Sep 2010

Last Modified: 28 Sep 2015