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Baby acne (newborn acne) – what should I do if my baby suddenly has pimples?

If small red spots or pimples appear on the baby's delicate skin in the first few weeks of life, parents often wonder what they could be. But we can give you the all-clear: so-called baby acne, or newborn acne, is a very typical, common and harmless rash in infants.
With this blog post we would like to provide clarity and give you helpful tips.


1. What is baby acne?

2. How do I recognize baby acne?

3. What helps with baby acne?

4. How long does baby acne last?

5. Does breast milk help with baby acne?

6. When should you see a doctor?

What is baby acne?

With baby acne (“acne neonatorum”), small pimples and red spots suddenly appear on your baby’s face in the first few weeks of life due to a physiological hormonal change. Hormones generally control your baby’s growth and metabolism and have a significant effect on the complexion – just like in adults. With baby acne, there are temporarily lots of small pimples and pustules, especially on the head, neck and face, due to an increase in androgens, the so-called male sex hormones, which are also present in women and stimulate the sebaceous glands and, for example, hair growth.

How do I recognize baby acne?

It is completely understandable if you are unsure about the correct diagnosis. Not every skin irritation on the face is baby acne. We have put together the most important points to help you recognize baby acne:
  • Small pimples that appear in the 2nd to 3rd week of life
  • White to yellowish dots in the middle of the pimples (filled with sebum)
  • Fine pustules on a red background
  • The face, head and neck are mainly affected, rarely the back/stomach
But don't let that bother you. Newborn acne is a common, usually harmless phenomenon and therefore not a cause for concern. And your baby doesn't necessarily have to be affected by it. Only about 20% of newborns develop the small pimples in the first few weeks of life - some more, some less. :)

What helps with baby acne?

The principle "less is more" applies here! Under no circumstances should you try to squeeze the pimples or treat them with excessive care. These measures can even make your baby's acne worse. Trust that the small pimples will gradually disappear on their own. The following two tips can help you:

  • Go for gentle cleansing! You can gently wash the affected areas with lukewarm water. Our med wash gel is particularly suitable due to the careful selection of hypoallergenic ingredients and the absence of perfume or fragrances.
  • Avoid further skin irritation! Make sure you use a baby-friendly detergent, good room air and breathable clothing.

How long does baby acne last?

You can breathe a sigh of relief here. Baby acne reaches its peak after just 2-3 weeks and then gradually subsides. Within four months, the small red spots have usually disappeared completely. Don't worry! Scarring is usually not the case here.

Does breast milk help with baby acne?

Breast milk is known to be THE miracle cure for newborns. It can also be used as an effective remedy to relieve skin irritation. You could gently dab the affected areas with breast milk. In any case, consult your midwife or doctor.

When should you go to the doctor?

Although baby acne is harmless and safe in most cases, there may still be situations in which you should consult your midwife or doctor. For example, if:

  • The pimples still don't disappear after several months.
  • The pimples get bigger, become inflamed and blisters form on the skin.
  • The rash itches or the skin begins to peel.
  • Your baby has a fever and feels unwell.
  • Further skin problems occur or you are unsure.

It is not uncommon for baby acne to be confused with what is known as seborrhoeic infant eczema (cradle cap) , or sometimes both symptoms occur at the same time. Here too, it is important to remain calm and clarify whether it is cradle cap or cradle cap. You can also click through our skin advice guide for babies - you may find even more specific answers here!

Image source: Canva Pro

med Serie Dr. Michaela Hagemann und Anni von Annisbuntewelt

Biologist and bioanalyst Anni, who shares her knowledge of cosmetic ingredients on Instagram under the name @annisbuntewelt, supported boep founder and doctor Michaela in developing the cream. Together they wanted to develop a care cream for problem skin that was as clean and effective as possible,
at the same time meets the highest natural cosmetics standards. No sooner said than done: with our boep med base cream, the first product for very sensitive skin moved into our shop at the beginning of 2023. Since then, the med series has grown steadily and we can already reveal this much: more products will follow!

ANNI & Michaela


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