All About Infantile Acne

Childhood acne most often affects babies between 2 and 12 months of age. However, babies can also have it. Find out the most important information about this condition below.
All About Infantile Acne

Last update: 16 December, 2022

Acne is a skin disease that, in addition to having various causes, can be called by various names. Thus, it can be named according to its severity (comedogenic acne, acne conglobata, etc.), its most prominent cause (drug-induced acne, summer acne, etc.), and even the age at which it appears. And, there is also a type known as infantile acne.

Infantile acne is a skin condition that babies 2 to 12 months of age can develop. It doesn’t always require treatment, as it isn’t usually serious. However, a medical check-up is always recommended to attend to the condition in time and prevent it from worsening.

Let’s see more about it below.

Symptoms of infantile acne

Infantile acne is easy to recognize.
Skin lesions are very similar to those in adults, so recognition of the disease doesn’t take too long.

Infantile acne is a follicular disorder that manifests itself through pimples, comedones (black and white dots), inflamed papules and pustules, nodules and cysts (contiguous or isolated) on the face area. and, specifically, the cheeks. However, in some cases, it can affect the forehead and chin area.

It’s possible that a baby with infantile acne will have the occasional comedone or isolated pustule on the cheeks, while another may have a cluster of these. And, in both cases, acne can be present in a mild, moderate, or severe form.

We should clarify that the fact that the lesions appear grouped or isolated isn’t what really determines the severity of the condition, but, rather, other factors, such as the persistence of the lesions and the way in which they affect the skin.


This type of acne mostly affects male babies. Although the cause is unknown, Dr. Amanda Oakley says that it could be related to higher levels of androgens than expected in a baby. However, the causes are different from the typical acne of adolescents or adults.

Differences between neonatal acne and infantile acne

Unlike acne that can occur in newborns (which is usually brief and temporary), acne that occurs in babies over 3-6 months of age tends to last longer and can leave scars. Thus, it can be present until babies are 2 years old. For this reason, in some cases, it may require treatment.

Neonatal and infantile acne can appear on the cheeks. However, the former usually does it through closed comedones (pimples) and rarely with pustules and papules, while infantile acne will produce the latter more frequently.


Infantile acne has several treatment modalities.
Topical medications are usually the most used for their ease of administration and effectiveness.

As stated in a recently updated childhood acne study:

“In general, most patients who are diagnosed with childhood acne only have moderate cases that often won’t require treatment and will clear up 6 to 12 months from its onset. However, some cases may be serious enough to warrant prescribing medication.”

When treatment is necessary, it may involve the use of topical medications, such as benzoyl peroxide or erythromycin gel. Only in severe cases are oral antibiotics used (such as trimethoprim or erythromycin) and, even so, they’re always used under strict medical supervision to avoid side effects.

Under no circumstances should you attempt to control or treat childhood acne on your own, without professional supervision. Not only because it could cause a worsening of the outbreak, but because it could cause more serious irritation and injury to the baby’s skin.

In addition, you should take into account that drugs are usually prescribed with very specific doses to reduce the risk of adverse reactions and complications. Therefore, not just any product will work to address the problem.

Trying to wash your baby’s face with any adult anti-acne soap, applying gels or other over-the-counter topical medications, or attempting to do some home cleaning is not recommended. The most advisable thing is to take them to the pediatrician (or to the children’s dermatologist, if you already have a referral) and from then on, follow all their instructions.

Treating the problem early helps reduce the child’s risk of developing a severe acne problem in the future, either at puberty or as an adult. Therefore, an appointment with an expert shouldn’t be disregarded.

Este texto se ofrece únicamente con propósitos informativos y no reemplaza la consulta con un profesional. Ante dudas, consulta a tu especialista.