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Baby Acne vs. Eczema: Understanding The Difference

Baby Acne vs. Eczema: Understanding The Difference

Imagine a peaceful scene with your baby, bundled up in soft blankets, their rosy cheeks and clear, glowing skin. But wait! What’s that? Tiny red bumps suddenly appeared on their face. Panic sets in as you wonder what could be causing this. Is it baby acne, or could it be baby eczema?

Newborns are famous for their buttery soft skin, but sometimes they may show skin issues that you’d expect to see in their teenage years. Figuring out these skin conditions can be difficult, especially for new parents. But fear not! We tapped the experts to help you understand and spot the difference between eczema and baby acne.

Knowing these differences can help you care for your little one’s skin and keep it healthy. So, let’s explore the mysteries of the baby’s skin and uncover the secrets of baby acne vs. eczema. Before knowing the differences, knowing what these skin conditions are is essential.

Baby Acne

Baby acne, also known as ‘Neonatal acne,’ it affects about 2 in 10 newborn babies in the first few weeks of their life. It is characterized by red or white bumps on the baby’s face, usually on the cheeks, chin, or forehead. They may also appear on the chest, neck, and upper back. It looks pretty similar to acne in adults, as whiteheads.

The exact cause of baby acne is still unclear. It is believed to be influenced by hormonal changes and may be caused by yeast present in the skin Malssezia which also causes cradle cap on babies.

Baby acne is completely normal and does not cause discomfort. The best thing about it is it disappears within a few weeks or months. It does not require any specific treatment and usually resolves on its own. But it is best to consult a doctor if you notice it is persistent in the first year of the baby’s life.

Baby acne appears within the first 6 weeks, but if it appears between 2 to 6 months of age, it is classified as ‘Infantile acne.’


Eczema is a common skin condition that may affect people of all ages, even our little bundle of joys, also known as baby eczema. Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition identified by dry, irritated, and itchy skin.

It appears on the cheeks, outside of the elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles. You may also notice small bumps with swelling along with the itchy rash. There are different types of eczema, but the most common in babies is Atopic Dermatitis.

It can be very challenging for babies as their skin is more sensitive and liable to irritation. The exact causes of eczema are still unknown, yet it is believed to be caused by a combination of factors.

Is baby acne and eczema the same? 

On one side, we have baby acne, the little blemishes that love to pop up on your baby’s face. And on the other side, we have eczema, a tricky skin condition. Now, let’s take a look at their differences.


Baby acne appears as small, red bumps and whiteheads. And eczema appears as itchy, inflamed, red, dry skin patches.


Baby acne usually appears on the forehead, chin, scalp, upper back, chest, and cheeks. While eczema usually appears on the face, cheeks, chin, scalp, elbows, and knees creases.

Itch Factor

Baby acne doesn’t cause itching and shows no signs of discomfort or irritation. On the other hand, eczema is intensely itchy and may lead to discomfort and scratching.


Baby acne commonly develops in the first few weeks after birth. However, people with eczema may experience its flare-up throughout life.


Baby acne is a temporary condition that goes away by itself usually by 8 weeks of age. However, eczema can persist longer and requires proper care and treatment to prevent flare-ups.

What Causes Baby Acne and Eczema

Hormonal changes in a baby’s body can lead to baby acne. The transmission of maternal hormones such as progesterone, estrogen, and androgens from the mother during the pregnancy.

Additionally, babies produce their own hormones, known as neonatal hormones, after birth. These can result in the development of acne. Another factor that may be causing baby acne is a yeast called Malassezia which is naturally present on the skin.

One of the basic factors that cause eczema is genetics, as it can run in families. About 70% of children with eczema have a family history of eczema, asthma, and allergies. Eczema is linked to skin barrier dysfunction caused by a combination of factors such as genetics, allergens, and sometimes stress. This dysfunction allows moisture to escape and irritants to penetrate easily into the skin.

Moreover, bacterial infections happen significantly less but can be the source of eczema flare-ups.

How To Get Rid Of Baby Acne

Usually, you don’t have to treat baby acne as it disappears on its own, except for severe conditions. But you can keep your baby comfortable by following a few simple steps. Clean your baby’s face and affected area at bath time with a mild cleanser specially formulated for babies like Happy Cappy medicated shampoo which contains anti-fungal properties and can be used on the face, hair, and body to soothe the symptoms of baby acne.

Buy Cradle Cap Shampoo Now & Get Free Moisturizing Eczema Cream.

If you notice that the condition persists for too long or gets worse. Consult a doctor, as they may prescribe an antifungal cream to fight the symptoms of acne. Never use adult acne products for babies, as their harsh ingredients can irritate the skin.

Treating Eczema

There is no permanent cure for eczema, but there are a few things that you can do to prevent flare-ups and relieve the redness, inflammation, and itchiness associated with eczema in babies. The initial and most important step is following the right baby skincare routine. Make sure to bathe your baby every day with gentle daily eczema shampoo and body wash for dry, itchy, eczema-prone skin. Make sure never to use products with harsh ingredients, as they may make the skin dry and worsen the condition.

Keeping the skin hydrated is the key. As eczema causes dry, itchy skin, it is essential to keep it moisturized. Look for an eczema cream that is fragrance-free, dye-free, non-greasy, and uses soothing ingredients like licorice root extract and glycerin to moisturize the skin. Use the bland moisturizing cream at least twice a day.

Dry skin is itchy skin. Moisturize throughout the day and this will help stop the itching. If the skin doesn’t get better with these remedies or the rash worsens, it is best to consult a doctor. They may prescribe topical steroids or oral medication according to the severity of the condition.

When To See A Doctor

If you are unsure whether your newborn baby has acne, cradle cap, or eczema or if the bumps appear unusual or are causing discomfort to your baby, it is best to consult your pediatrician or family doctor. Health care providers with experience in examining different skin conditions in babies and can provide reassurance and guidance on the proper treatment plan.

Spend $25, Get a Free Moisturizing Eczema Cream.


In conclusion, parents need to understand the difference between baby acne and eczema to care for their little one’s skin properly. Baby acne is common and typically resolves on its own. In some cases, it may persist longer. However, eczema is a chronic skin condition requiring proper care and treatment to avoid flare-ups.

When caring for your baby’s skin, nothing is more important than choosing the right skincare products. Happy Cappy provides trustworthy and cruelty free products for every skin type. Including these gentle, nourishing products in your baby’s skincare routine can help fight flaking, redness, itching, scaling, and irritation on the scalp and skin associated with baby acne, eczema, cradle cap, and seborrheic dermatitis.

Explore and shop for the right products that can provide relief, promote soothing, and aid in preventing symptoms of common skin conditions in babies. Happy Cappy products are formulated considering your baby’s soft and sensitive skin.


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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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Does baby acne need to dry out or be moisturized?

Keeping your baby’s skin clean and moisturized for Neonatal acne is advised. Dryness can make the condition worse and cause irritation.

Is rash on the ears and head, baby acne, or eczema?

Both skin conditions can occur behind and on the ears. If you are unable to diagnose the condition, it is advised to consult a doctor.

Can kisses cause baby acne?

Baby acne is believed to be caused by hormones. So kissing can’t cause baby acne.

Can I put breastmilk on the baby’s acne and eczema?

It likely will not hurt, but it may not help.

Is baby acne contagious?

No, baby acne is not contagious as it is caused by hormonal changes, not by any infections that can spread.

Can eczema be cured?

Eczema can not be permanently cured. However, it can be effectively managed with a proper skincare routine, including using eczema shampoo, cream, and medications. Many babies with eczema outgrow the condition, but sometimes it may persist as occasional flare-ups throughout life.

Can baby acne or eczema be a sign of underlying health issues?

Most of the time, baby acne and eczema do not indicate any underlying health issue. However, it is best to consult a healthcare provider if the condition is severe or persistent.


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