Baby Acne: Breast Milk as a Potential Cure

August 23, 2023
Writen by:  
Cydney Willoughby
Explore myths, scientific insights, and potential benefits of breast milk as a remedy for your newborn's skin.

Welcoming a newborn into the world is a joyous occasion filled with love and wonder. However, it’s natural for new parents to worry when they notice unexpected changes in their baby’s appearance.

One common concern is baby acne, those tiny bumps and pimples that may appear on your little one’s precious face.

In this article, we will explore the world of baby acne, debunk myths, and delve into the potential role of breast milk in nurturing your baby’s skin.

So, let’s embark on this journey to understand and treat baby acne together!

What is Baby Acne?

Just like us adults, babies can experience acne too, but with some unique characteristics. Baby acne, also known as neonatal acne, is a common skin condition that affects newborns and infants.

It typically emerges within the first few weeks of life, showcasing small red bumps, whiteheads, or pustules on your newborn’s skin, especially on the cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin.

Baby acne can affect any newborn before they turn 2 months old. One thing to note is that this condition is pretty common and affects nearly 20% (more than 1 in 5) of healthy newborns in the United States alone.

While the exact cause of baby acne remains a bit of a mystery, most researchers attribute it to hormonal factors.

During pregnancy, the hormones of the mom pass through the placenta to her baby, triggering the sebaceous glands in the baby’s skin. This hormonal influence can lead to excessive sebum production, an oily substance that can clog pores and give rise to acne breakouts.

The good news is that baby acne is typically harmless and transient. According to researchers, it often resolves on its own without any specific treatment. So, do not fret, and remember that these little blemishes will likely fade away with time!

The Myths and Facts about Baby Acne and Breast Milk

It is completely understandable if you are feeling worried about your baby’s sensitive skin as you try to figure out what is causing baby acne.

The issue is baby acne is such a common condition that what causes baby acne is not always clearly identifiable. However, this does not mean that you won’t be able to find baby acne treatments. One popular course of infant acne treatment is the topical use of breast milk.

The Potential of Breast Milk for Baby Acne

While scientific research is still inconclusive about the effectiveness of using breast milk for baby acne, there’s an intriguing possibility that this age-old remedy could have some merit.

Countless moms out there swear by using breast milk to tackle the acne on their baby’s skin. It may sound like a remedy based on old wives’ tales, but there’s actually some scientific reasoning behind it.

The Power of Breast Milk

Breast milk is truly magical in its composition. It’s packed with powerful antibodies and possesses antimicrobial properties that work wonders for boosting the baby’s immune system. And guess what? These incredible benefits could potentially extend to topical use too.

It turns out that breast milk contains a special component called lauric acid, which boasts both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory characteristics that can help get rid of newborn acne.

Trying the Breast Milk Remedy

This is the trick that some moms have found helpful: Grab a clean, soft cloth and dab a few drops of your super breast milk onto your baby’s acne-affected areas. Then, simply let it air dry.

However, it’s important to note that while the scientific community hasn’t reached a definitive verdict on using breast milk to prevent baby acne, it’s definitely worth exploring if you’re curious.

It’s always a good idea to consult with healthcare professionals who can provide personalized guidance based on your baby’s unique needs. They’ll help you make informed decisions about your baby’s skin routine.

The Role of Hormones in Baby Acne

As mentioned earlier, hormones play a significant role in the development of baby acne. During pregnancy, the baby is exposed to maternal hormones, which can stimulate the baby’s sebaceous glands and sebum production. This hormonal influence often causes baby acne breakouts in the early weeks of your baby’s life.

The Baby Acne – Breast Milk Connection

The baby acne – breast milk correlation gets more complex if you are currently nursing your little one. Believe it or not, certain foods, such as dairy or citrus, in your own diet could potentially impact your little one’s skin and cause baby acne.

Now, don’t worry; these foods aren’t the direct culprits behind those pesky little bumps, but making some adjustments might just do wonders for your baby’s skin, especially if they’re also dealing with baby eczema.

Your pediatrician can help guide you through the process of getting rid of baby acne. They may suggest cutting back on specific foods that could have an impact on your little one’s sensitive skin. It’s all about finding the perfect balance for your baby’s newborn skin as well as for your well-being.

Optimizing Your Breastfeeding Diet

So, don’t hesitate to have a friendly chat with your pediatrician and explore the possibilities of optimizing your breastfeeding diet to help improve your baby’s skin condition.

Together, you can create a personalized plan that will treat baby acne and leave your baby’s skin feeling happy and healthy.

Duration and When to Seek Medical Advice

You may be wondering exactly how long does baby acne actually last? Well, a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology explains that baby acne is a mild and self-limiting condition that usually only lasts from four weeks to four months.

The good news is that it when baby acne occurs, it leaves no scars and naturally resolves over time. However, in rare cases where your baby’s acne persists beyond 12 months, it is called infantile acne, and consulting a healthcare provider is advisable.

Treating Baby Acne: Breast Milk as a Cure?

Now comes the million-dollar question: can breast milk help treat your baby’s acne? While the idea of treating baby acne using breast milk as a remedy has gained attention among parents, it’s crucial to approach this method with caution.

Scientific research specifically focusing on breast milk as a treatment for baby acne is limited, and while it’s worth a shot, there is no definitive proof of its effectiveness on a newborn’s skin.

Breast milk contains antibodies and lauric acid, which possesses antimicrobial properties good for sensitive skin. These elements have been suggested to potentially help fight skin infections and promote the overall health of sensitive skin.

If you’re considering using breast milk as a topical treatment, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider beforehand. They can identify if your baby is simply struggling with baby acne or if it is infantile acne — the more stubborn baby acne that persists past 12 months post-birth.

Based on the type and causes of baby acne, they can also provide personalized guidance and help you make an informed decision about the best course of treatment.

Other Treatments for Baby Acne

In addition to breast milk, there are other more trusted treatments and strategies you can explore to manage baby acne. Remember, patience is key when it comes to treating your baby’s acne.

Most baby acne usually resolves on its own without treatment, but it may take a few weeks or even months for your baby’s acne to completely disappear.

To prevent further irritation and potential flare-ups, refrain from scrubbing or picking at your baby’s acne. These actions can lead to more redness and potential scarring. Instead, maintain a gentle skincare routine and resist the urge to manipulate or squeeze the pimples.

Here are other tried-and-true treatments and strategies that you can explore to manage baby acne and soothe your baby’s skin. Some commonly recommended approaches are:

1) Gentle Cleansing:

Gently cleanse your baby’s face with mild baby soap and warm water. Avoid using harsh cleansers or scrubbing the affected areas, as this can cause irritation and potentially worsen the condition.

2) Avoid Harsh Detergents and Fabrics:

Opt for soft, breathable fabrics for your baby’s bedding and clothing. Harsh, scented detergents and rough fabrics can irritate your baby’s skin and exacerbate baby acne.

3) Keep the Baby’s Skin Clean and Dry:

Wipe away excess drool or milk from your baby’s face using a soft cloth or gentle baby wipes. Keeping your baby’s face clean and dry can help prevent the buildup of oil and bacteria.

4) Consult a Healthcare Provider:

In severe cases where baby acne persists or becomes increasingly bothersome or infantile acne occurs, it is advisable to consult a healthcare provider.

A pediatrician or dermatologist may recommend topical creams or ointments specifically formulated for baby acne or infantile acne, depending on the severity of the condition.

Precautions and Tips for Managing Baby Acne

Additionally, when it comes to managing baby acne, a gentle and patient approach is key. Here are some things to remember and some precautions and tips to consider when caring for your baby’s skin:

1) Avoid Scrubbing or Picking at Your Baby’s Acne:

It can be tempting to squeeze or pick at the tiny pimples, but doing so can cause further irritation and potentially lead to scarring. Remember to resist the urge and be patient as you let the acne run its course.

2) Stick to Gentle Skincare Practices:

Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive products that can irritate your baby’s sensitive skin. Instead, use the gentle cleansing and drying techniques we mentioned above.

3) Patience is Key:

Baby acne is a transient condition that usually resolves on its own without treatment. It may take a few weeks or even months for the acne to completely disappear. During this time, embrace patience and trust that your baby’s skin will heal naturally over time!

Consult a Healthcare Provider for Concerns:

If you have any concerns about your baby’s acne or if the condition worsens, do not hesitate to reach out to a healthcare provider. They can provide appropriate guidance, address any underlying issues, and provide reassurance.


Embarking on the incredible journey of parenthood opens the door to a myriad of experiences, and baby acne is just one of those little surprises you may encounter along the way. It’s important to remember that baby acne is a common and typically harmless condition that tends to fade away on its own with time.

While breast milk hasn’t been scientifically proven as a definitive cure for baby acne, it does offer a wealth of nutrients and immune-boosting properties that can contribute to your baby’s overall skin health.

The key to managing baby acne lies in embracing a gentle approach, practicing patience, and seeking guidance from healthcare professionals whenever needed. Every baby’s skin is unique, so it’s crucial to tailor your care to their individual needs.

By creating a nurturing environment and providing tender care, you’ll be supporting your little one’s well-being and helping their skin flourish. Remember, those tiny blemishes will gradually fade away, revealing a radiant complexion that perfectly complements your baby’s precious personality!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog article is meant to be for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Every baby is unique, and individual circumstances may require specific medical attention. Always seek the guidance of your healthcare provider or pediatrician regarding any questions or concerns you may have regarding baby acne or your baby’s skin health.

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