Baby Acne

The little flaky skin on his fingers.

The way lint would become little clumps in the creases of his tiny palms.  

The fuzzy sideburns and the creased ears that look just like mine. 

There are so many things that I hope to remember about his newborn stage.   

He really was just the sweetest newborn.  Loved to snuggle and be warmly tucked up against your chest.  He would rub his soft cheek against your chest to show just how very content he was in your arms and then his baby fuzz hair would tickle your chin.   

He absolutely loved to hold your hand and smiled from that very first week.

He loved being bundled but as much as he liked his swaddle, as soon as he was out, he would pull his toes up into his mouth…just to play. 

Now that he is crawling, cruising, and has THREE teeth, I feel like his sweet newborn stage is over.  He has officially graduated just to the label of baby.  Caught in that middle ground…not quite a toddler but moving quickly out of infant.  It’s so sad and equally exciting and smile inducing. 

I say all that because I feel like I didn’t share as much as I should about my littlest guy.  I showed that he was present but he wasn’t really the subject of the blog like Will was at his age.  I am just so honored that I was given two of the best little guys in this whole world.  Different and special in their own ways…each with strengths and weaknesses…both with their own little personalities and gifts…and even now I can see how they will be such a great balance to each other and our family.

Now that I am crying over how sweet these boys are…let’s talk something not-so-sweet….baby acne.   


You didn’t know it but Weston had a terrible case of it as a newborn.  That photo above is heavily doctored.  I know it’s really common and didn’t bother me at all but our pediatrician recommended that we treat his skin.  I told her at the first appointment (I believe that he was a week old) that I thought nothing of it and she said ok.  Then at the two week appointment it had gotten a lot worse.  Jeremy at one point asked me “what is wrong with him?!” and of course, I got offended because I took it as I wasn’t taking care of him like I should.  Jeremy had no idea it was common.  I say all this to say…if you are a mom out there with a sweet little babe of your own…it really helped us to treat the acne with hydrocortisone cream. 

Let me explain what our doctor told us.  At the newborn stage, one of the most important things is the personal connection through skin to skin contact.  When a baby has acne, adults tend to not snuggle as much…not want to touch them because they fear they will irritate the skin or cause more acne…but it’s so important to hold them, stroke them and love on them. 

I photoshopped his photos with this blemish removal technique but in real life, the cortisone was just as effective.  I think it only took one thin layer of cream once each day for a couple days to see it really work.  By day four, it was MUCH better.

Of course, we will show all future girlfriends the acne photo.  Don’t want them to think of that sweet little baby and want to cuddle :)



  1. says

    Our lil’ man had terrrrrrible baby acne–very similar to Weston’s. Fortunately for me, the hubby was there when the doctor explained that baby acne is very common. I don’t think either of us knew that since he is our first.

    I was hesitant to put any cortisone on it because it tends to thin the skin, which can lead to issues later. You have to use it pretty frequently for that to happen, but I tend to err on the side of using less ointments when possible. On the very rare occasion, I would apply the littlest bit. Despite his spottiness, we didn’t have any issues with his not being held enough. Oh man…so not a problem.

    Anyhow, as you know, it eventually went away and he’s moved onto bumped shins and skinned knee as is typical in full toddler mode.

  2. Lisa says

    I could have used that tip about 10 months ago! In addition to the baby acne my little man had eczema and cradle cap, which if you have no experience with cradle cap it is some seriously foul stuff! None of it kept me from snuggling though.

    • Randa says

      I read in Real Simple that pure olive oil can work wonders for cradle cap… just passing that on in case it helps someone else.

    • says

      My little man had cradle cap and eczema, too. I went to the fabric store with him and my two year old (at the time) daughter and two women were saying the most horrible things to each other about my baby boy because of his cradle cap. They were saying I was a terrible mother for not bathing him and how he wasn’t very cute… I didn’t say anything, I was too shocked, but their ignorance was hurtful. I’m so glad my kids were too young to know what was happening.

      Katie, thank you for bringing up this topic. Hopefully, this will help educate people and stop someone in the future from saying or doing something hurtful. Weston is beautiful, baby acne and all. I also photoshopped the newborn pictures I took of my son, he had a broken blood vessel in his eye from birth. Even though it didn’t take away from his beauty, I know people would look at it negatively and I wanted them to see what I saw when I looked at him. No distractions. Again, wonderful post, thank you!

  3. says

    This is such a great post (mostly because of the new baby sweetness) but also because when you are a new mom, you freak out about everythiiinnnngg. Well, at least I did. So it’s really good when you’re having a moment and Googling away, you find something like this and it calms you. My “baby” is now two and we’re in the works for the second but I know (at least when it comes to some things) it will be easier. Also, this post is giving me MEGA baby fever! The sweetness! Oh, the sweetness!

  4. says

    Both my sons had quite bad infant acne and interestingly have also had problems as teenagers. I have no idea if there is a connection or not, but something to watch out for. My doctor didn’t suggest treating it so we didn’t, but I do remember the reaction of people when they would ask to see the baby and then sort of back peddle when they saw the acne. Thankfully it soon went.

  5. kate says

    Our second son had some baby acne too. Although a bit on the pricier side, we had success with Mustela products.

  6. says

    Aww poor Weston,

    Im glad to hear he got a lot better, and can I just say how cute the baby pictures are, so adorable.
    I love the one with the laundry basket laying in what I’m Guessing they’re Jeremy’s.

    so adorable

  7. says

    I had to go get my lil man outa bed just to snuggle him after reading this! He is just starting to sit up on his own and can’t believe how quickly he is growing up! Thanks for reminding me these days don’t last forever!

  8. Maaike says

    Thanks for showing the real pictures. My first had it really bad but we didn’t do any treatment. My third just arrived (6/13!) and I’m scheduling newborn pics before any baby acne arrives (hopefully). Wish I was in your area so you could do them but we are in Minneapolis. Thanks for keepin’ it real!

  9. Cayce says

    All 3 of my children had baby acne, my youngest i think was the worst though. I always used breastmilk to treat it. Every time after they nursed i would just put some on their spots and you would see improvement within 12 hrs. Hopefully this tip can help some other mamas out there, it was easy and even better, free!

    • Alice H says

      Yes!! Breastmilk to the rescue! I am glad someone mentioned this. LOL!

      Along with baby acne, I used it in my sons eye as well. He had a little bit of a clogged tear duct and it cleared it right up. No surgery or anything needed and he is perfectly fine today!

  10. says

    Yeah, both of my little brothers, who are 15 and 18 years younger than I am, had baby acne. Their little skin just needs some time to adjust to this world. Unfortunately, I am allergic (and my future kids could also be allergic) to most topical creams like Neosporin and Cortisone cream, a fact I tragically didn’t figure out until adulthood. Allergy to sulfa medications + application of sulfate substance to cut/scrape = rash within an open wound. Realllly unpleasant. Still have to give my mom a hard time about that since she’s a nurse and should’ve known better.

  11. Shannon says

    My daughter had a raging case of baby acne…so bad I was apologizing for it when people first saw her…LOL…my husband called her “Pimples Poopsalot” for the first month or so…:-)

  12. Whitney Dupuis says

    My goodness you have some beautiful boys. My son (now 3) had baby acne as well and I think we used hydrocortisone too.

  13. Meredith C says

    My babes had acne and still gets it a few times here and there and he’s 6.5 months now. But Weston is cruising!!! My Reed just started rolling over!!! But Reed totally has Weston beat in the teeth department. SIX TEETH, ugh!! Where did my baby go????

  14. says

    Our babies are pretty close in age, mine is almost 9 months now. He got his baby acne at a few weeks old and there’s still some lingering traces of it. When it flares, I get sad for him, but most of the time I never even noticed! I still snuggled, kissed, caressed and loved his little cheeks. I only recently remembered he had it because it started clearing up! It was only on his cheeks and never too terrible, so I just let it run it’s course. Thanks for sharing the two pics – it’s nice to see the not perfect picture and be able to relate :)

  15. Dawn says

    All three of my boys had baby acne. We ended up having to get a prescription from the pediatrician to clear it up. Unfortunately, we had a couple family members that would make negative comments…that was the worst part.

  16. says

    Our boy, Charlie had HORRIBLE acne that lasted til he was about 5 weeks old and lingered for a few weeks after that. I felt awful about it and avoided taking his picture because I knew I’d have to photoshop the heck out of it. The best thing that worked for us was a baby wipe. We use hydro-cortisone on he diaper rash now whenever it flares up. Boy, I wish we would’ve known to put it on his face! It would’ve saved us weeks or worrying!

    • Jane says

      Please please use natural or gentle remedies for diaper rash. Do not use cortisone. Its way too potent for a baby. Triple paste , burst bee’s diaper ointment and coconut oil are some of the best i’ve used.

    • JS says

      I beg you not to use hydrocortisone. It causes addiction because it is a steroid. The withdraw process is very severe. I am going through it right now. It is called Red Skin Syndrome. has more info about and a support group because the withdraw process off these creams is so horrific. There are mothers on that group who are watching their babies go through it because they used these creams for diaper rashes and baby acne.

  17. Christine says

    When I first saw this picture I thought maybe it was your sister’s new baby! It must be getting close!

  18. says

    My daughter had baby acne too and it was really bad…her cheeks were covered so bad they were actually inflamed and she had big red raised stripes across her face. A couple days of hydrocortisone cream and she was back to normal. That stuff works great but it wasnt until recently (she just turned 2) I found out as I was using it to treat excema on her face that hydrocortisone cream can discolor the skin on your face permanently. The dermatologist warned us of it so we have been trying to use coconut oil and only pull out the hydrocrotisone for extreme cases. Coconut oil is a little bit messy but is washes right out of clothing and clears up her face in no time!!

    • says

      We have not yet used them regularly…only if we run out of regular diapers or want some cute pictures. Feel free to shame me.
      xo – kb

  19. Francesca says

    Breastmilk! Both of my babies had horrible acne and eczema. Before each feeding I would slather it on them. Within 24 hours it would look 50% better, in a week it would be totally gone. Breastmilk is awesome, it also helps clear up pinkeye faster than meds. P.S. Weston was born on my son’s due date and my son was born on the 22nd.

    • says

      It didn’t bother me in real life but I am a fan of making photos show babies the way mommy sees them…as absolutely perfect. That might be just be me and others definitely camp out in the unedit camp.
      xo – kb

  20. brianne says

    Katie I reeeeallly want to see your newly painted house. I have been waiting so patiently.
    P.S. your babies are beautiful

  21. says

    Weston is a doll with or without the baby acne! My daughter had it for about a month all over her face, but it cleared up on it’s own. I’m glad Weston’s acne cleared up quickly on the hydrocortisone cream, but I’d be hesitant to use it again. For some people (like me and thousands of others including babies, see here: ), skin can become addicted to the topical steroids and the withdrawal process is horrendous. I’m not bashing your decision to use them at all (and clearly they worked for Weston and he is perfectly fine), but I wanted to say something because I know a lot of people read your blog, and steroids (hydrocortisone) should NOT be used repeatedly, and only for about a week tops.

      • Jane says

        YES! Please do not cortisone unless is it is mediaclly required or doctor highly recommends it. Even though our doc recommended it , we skipped it cos it contains steroids and I didnt want that stuff on my baby’s delicate skin. We did aveeno eczema therapy cream and it did wonders. I would advice trying natural or gentle products before going the steroid route. Even my doctor agreed.

        • says

          Yes! I totally agree. I probably should have mentioned that we tried breastmilk, California Baby Calendula Cream, and Eucerin lotion first. None of these made a dent…and my doctor did recommend the lowest dose – it was .5% strength and she told us to mix it with Eucerin for a very very mild treatment once a day for the first three days. I always stick to the recommendations of our doctor!
          xo – kb

          • Jane says

            Thats great. Its better to be informed.

            I cant believe how mobile Weston is. My boy is maybe a week or two older than Weston. He only occasionally rolls over and will try to “swim”) who are more act when we put him on his tummy. Sometimes I get worried thinking about it and looking at other babies (even younger) who are more mobile. But then again I am reminding myself that every baby is different. My boy babbles and screams like almost all the time. He just seems to be a laid back and happy baby. Is weston quite vocal too?

          • says

            He’s right there with finding his voice. screaming and babbling…and the occasional mahmahmahmah…which of course I interpret as mommy :) I wouldn’t worry though…I didn’t sit up or roll over or crawl till after age 1 and walking was out of the question…and I turned out fine :) at least I think I did :)
            xo – kb

  22. says

    Hi there and what an adorable baby! I find skin blogs since I have a website that deals with skin issues and just wanted to give a motherly tip of love here since I have 12 grandchildren of my own. :)

    Anything with steroids in it for skin, including the mildest hydrocortisone, is high risk for addiction to it after using it for a week or longer. I am speaking from experience here as I had childhood eczema and so did my 16 year old granddaughter. Her mother actually put in on her as a baby for skin issues and she continued on with it as she got older and put it on her face daily. We both used the steroid creams and both got addicted. We are both in withdrawals now and it is rough to say the least. I used a strong one for years and it stopped working. You can read my story on my website

    I have seen babies come into the support group for this steroid addiction over and over and the docs told them it was fine to put it on the face and genitals. Not so..ever. Please do check out my site and for more info on this huge social and medical problem I am trying to help change. I care so much as I’ve watched my granddaughter go through this hellish withdrawal while I am going through it, too.

    Please don’t put these potent drugs on your child’s precious skin moms. Natural ointments help and children do grow out of eczema in time. xx

    • says

      Thanks Joey for the info! I definitely think that everyone needs to be informed and talk to their healthcare provider about all treatments!
      xo – kb

  23. Kate says

    More infant-y pictures of Weston? Way to give the people what they want, KB :) I had no idea babies can have acne – add that the list of things people who don’t have kids are clueless about. Love the post!

    Also, I have super sensitive skin and a touch of eczema and have had AWESOME luck with Cetaphil body lotion. No fragrances and derm recommended. So if/when I pop out some babies I plan to lather them up on the daily. Holler.

  24. Una says

    Hey Katie!

    When do you think you guys will be ready for another baby? My son is 30 months and I want another but my husband doesn’t at all. How would you talk to Jer if this was the case? I’m lost ;-(

    – Una

    • says

      Oh heck, I want another baby now! But obviously that’s impossible…but still, a girl could dream. I think that honestly the best thing anyone can do to change their husbands mind is to pray. I know it sounds cliché but there is just so much that can be revealed through that simple act. And if you really feel like you want to talk about it, then maybe write a letter to him about it and confess your concerns on paper.
      xo – kb

    • bigmama says

      I would NEVER EVER use nor recommend topical steroid use on a child let alone an infant. It seems harmless BUT ITS NOT!!!! It has the ability to shut down the immune system and in infants can cause liver failure!! It is NOT harmless. Ask a mother of a baby with Red Skin Syndrome

  25. says

    my son had it really bad all over. It got alot worse when he would get hot and sweat. We are consultants for Rodan+Fields Dermotologists so we decided to use what we had. We used one of the products in the Soothe line and it took it away in no time.. very surprised.. great results and no steroids.

  26. says

    Wow! I’ve never thought the children also have an acne. I don’t remember my mom said I had an acne when I was young. What maybe the causes to this? Is it dangerous? I see from the pictures there were great improvements with this cream in 4 days! Maybe adults may also use this cream:)? I hope he is ok today.

  27. Sarah says

    My second son had baby acne all over his body and all of my research pointed me in the direction of eliminating dairy from my diet since he was breastfed. When I did his acne went away immediately. He still has issues with dairy and I’m still trying to figure out the root of it for him but going dairy free proved to be relatively easy when I saw that it made him feel better and have beautiful soft skin. Even now that he’s 2.5 if he eats dairy he gets eczema and scaly skin. I eliminate the dairy and he is baby smooth again. Love your blog!!

  28. Jessica P says

    My daughter is already having problems with acne and our dermatologist recommended Citrus Clear – so I tried this and it worked immediately. She is washing her face and using it daily and is a much kinder and gentler than other acne products. She loves it !

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