Family Life

Baby Eczema Vs Acne: How To Tell The Difference


It’s baby eczema vs acne this time. Both eczema and acne are two of the most common skin problems among babies and infants. In fact, some people find it hard to distinguish the difference between the two. Well, it is not surprising because they almost look alike.


Anyway, as we all know, babies are very prone to rashes and other skin problems mainly because their bodies are still underdeveloped. In fact, within the first year of babies, it is highly recommended to take proper care of their skin because it is still considered as very delicate and sensitive.


And guess what? We, parents, have a huge role to play to ensure our babies’ skin is well taken cared of. However, in some cases, no matter how hard you try in taking care of your baby’s skin, certain conditions just get in the way – like baby eczema and baby acne.


We earlier mentioned that the two are quite alike that it makes it hard for some people to tell the difference between the two.


Imagine, if you are going to play a game about baby eczema vs acne, do you think you are able to tell what makes the one different from the other? If your answer is yes, good for you! But if your answer is no, don’t worry, you are definitely alone.


Obviously, today, we are going to talk about baby eczema vs acne. We are going to go through what these two are, how to tell the difference, as well as how to treat or deal with both skin conditions. Hopefully, after reading this, you are able to differentiate baby acne from baby eczema.


So, what are we waiting for, let us begin the battle between baby eczema vs acne? Just kidding. But seriously, let’s start getting to know more about these equally treatable and manageable skin conditions among babies.




What is baby eczema?


Baby eczema or generally called eczema or dermatitis is a very common skin condition not only among babies and children but even among adults, too. In fact, in the United States alone, there are over 30 million cases of eczema according to the National Eczema Association.


NEA defines eczema as “a group of conditions that cause the skin to become red, itchy and inflamed.” You may find it interesting that the word eczema was actually derived from a Greek word that means “to boil over”. No wonder why it’s called as such because when we talk about the symptoms and how eczema flare-ups feel like, it is very relatable to that.


Furthermore, eczema has various types, which include atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, nummular eczema, dyshidrotic eczema, stasis dermatitis, and seborrheic dermatitis or also known as “cradle cap”. Apart from atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis or “cradle cap” are two of the most common forms of eczema that hit babies.


Eczema cases are not equally the same. In fact, it is ranged from mild, moderate to severe eczema.


What are the symptoms of eczema?


Generally speaking, eczema may appear in different parts of the body. However, baby eczema commonly shows up on the face particularly the chin and cheeks of babies (and children too). When it comes to the symptoms of eczema, it differs from one baby to another. Some of the most common symptoms of eczema include:


  • dry skin
  • red or inflamed patches
  • dark patches of skin
  • rough or scaly skin
  • crusty or oozing skin
  • areas of swollen skin


Should you notice one or more of these symptoms on your baby, you better set an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.


Is eczema curable?


Unfortunately, eczema has no definite cure yet, which is not surprising because even the main cause of eczema is unknown to this day. We actually find it amazing how even the best people in the medical and research fields are yet to discover the very reason why people get eczema, and of course, how to cure it.


But don’t panic just yet. Why? Because researchers say that based on a lot of recorded cases, children who had eczema at an early stage in their lives may outgrow this skin condition. It eventually disappears at a certain age. However, in some cases, it may reappear later on in their lives.


But at least, there is hope, right? Who knows, your baby may outgrow it and his eczema condition never reappears ever again!?


Is it contagious?


Fortunately, baby eczema is not contagious. So, if you are in contact with a baby or anyone with eczema, there is nothing to worry about as it is definitely not transferrable. One thing is sure, however, experts say that eczema can be inherited, which basically means, if one of your parents has it (or even in the family medical history), you are more likely to develop eczema as well – whether it be as a baby or an adult.


What is baby acne?


Baby acne is another common skin condition among babies. In fact, according to statistics, about 20% of newborns have it. While it may appear anytime within the first six weeks of a newborn baby’s life, most often, it develops when the baby is around two weeks old. And guess what? In some cases, babies have it from birth.


However, when a baby develops baby acne when he or she is already over six weeks old, parents are advised to immediately consult with a doctor. Acne that develops when the baby is more than six weeks old already is what the doctors call as infantile acne, which typically lasts for six months to a year. More so, it has the tendency to be persistent until the child’s teenage years.


Baby acne does not differ from adult acne when it comes to how it looks. It basically looks like breakouts of spots, and pimples. Normally, baby acne tends to appear on the baby’s neck, chest, back, and on the face too!


Like baby eczema, medical experts and scientists are not sure about what causes neonatal acne. However, they believe that overactive oil glands and testosterone may have something to do with it.


What are the symptoms of baby acne?


As we mentioned a while ago, baby acne’s symptoms are not different from the ones o adolescents and adults. They normally appear as pimples or red bumps. In some cases, whiteheads or pustules may also develop, as well as reddish skin surrounding the bumps may also appear.


Baby acne symptoms may appear anywhere on a baby’s face, particularly on their cheeks. In other cases, babies may also have it on their necks, as well as on their upper back.


Another very noticeable symptom is when your baby gets fussy or irritable, and/or is crying non-stop – most likely because of the discomfort that having acne gives. Moreover, using rough fabrics or saliva that stays on the face may trigger the acne to become all the more irritating for babies.


Is baby acne curable?


Unlike eczema, baby acne is curable – and the curability depends on the stage when the baby developed it. Neonatal acne, for instance, usually diminishes with no treatment within a few weeks or months. Infantile acne, on the other hand, may take longer to resolve. Typically, infantile acne needs treatment, which you’re your baby’s doctor have to discuss with you. Treatments vary on the severity of the condition.


Is baby acne contagious?


No, it is not. According to research, babies normally develop acne because of the maturing effect of hormones of the mom.




While both skin conditions look quite similar to one another, they are totally different and require very dissimilar management. With that said, here are a few things to help you differentiate baby eczema vs acne:




Here are ways you can tell how different the two are based on appearance:


Baby Eczema – Baby eczema commonly appears in more areas of the body. Although most of the time, it develops on the baby’s face, chin, and the back. Normally, eczema symptoms on babies under 6 months old cause red, itchy, and sometimes inflamed skin. When infected, it is likely to develop small lumps that contain pus or yellow crust.


Baby Acne – On one hand, neonatal acne normally presents red spots or white pimples. Infantile acne (the kind of acne that develops when the baby is more than 6 weeks old), on the other hand, may develop blackheads and whiteheads, as wells as spots and pimples, and may have the tendency to cause the appearance of cysts.




When it comes to when these skin conditions develop, we can say that they are entirely different. One tends to develop earlier in a baby’s life, while the other takes months before they appear on babies’ skin. Below will serve as your guide where what your baby has is eczema or acne based on age:


Baby Eczema – Baby eczema normally develops when the baby is around six months old to five years of age. Although in some cases, eczema may develop earlier than six months.


Baby Acne – Baby acne’s development varies on the stage of the acne. For neonatal acne, it usually develops within the first six weeks of life, some babies even have it as soon as they are given birth. Infantile acne, on the other hand, which is very uncommon compared to neonatal acne, develops when the baby is around three to six months old.


Affected Areas of the Body


The two skin conditions tend to develop in different parts of the body, though there are some similarities.


Here’s how you can gauge whether your baby has baby eczema or acne according to where they develop on the skin:


Baby Eczema – Where eczema develops on the babies’ age. For instance, for those under six months of age, eczema symptoms usually appear on the baby’s face, cheeks, chin, forehead, and scalp. Meanwhile, for babies who develop eczema between six to twelve months of age, the symptoms normally appear on the elbows or knees. Eventually, it may as well spread on other areas of the body except the diaper are. Yes, so when you see rashes on your baby’s diaper area, that is most likely a diaper rash.


Baby Acne – Symptoms of baby acne tend to appear on the baby’s forehead, chin, scalp, neck, back, and chest.




When it comes to this, baby eczema and baby acne definitely require different treatments. So, for your information, here are some of the treatments and home remedies for both skin conditions:


Baby Eczema


While there is no specific cure for eczema, there are several different ways to treat and help ease out its symptoms, and this includes the following:


  1. Always keep your baby’s skin moisturized. Ideally, you moisturize your baby’s skin at least two to three times a day. Moisturizing after bath requires some quick action – you have to apply it within three to four minutes after bathing.
  2. Do not put on clothing made of harsh fabrics like wool or polyester, instead, prefer having your baby wear clothes made of cotton fabric. Harsh fabrics may cause or worsen eczema symptoms. By the way, if you can go for 100% cotton fabric, the better.
  3. Always use lukewarm water when bathing your baby. Hot water or cold water may aggravate the situation as it may cause dry skin, and dry skin is one of the culprits of flare-ups. So, just lukewarm water, please? Also, avoid rubbing or scrubbing your baby’s skin. It will do not good rather worsen the situation. Gently pat dry instead.
  4. Do use gentle, mild, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free body soap and laundry detergents. There are several products available in the market today. If you are unsure which to one to use, you may always consult with your doctor.
  5. Keep your baby away from the sun or anywhere hot. Heat is probably eczema’s number one enemy. Heat may also cause sweating, which also causes eczema flare-ups. Oh, too much cold may also affect your baby’s skin condition, so yeah, just keep it warm.
  6. Invest in a really good air humidifier to help keep the moisture in the air at your home. Moisture is all you need to keep your baby shielded from flare-ups. So, don’t mind the price, choose the best air humidifier possible. And if you can, place one in every area in the house.
  7. Stay away from allergens or irritants. Some eczema is caused by allergies. So, if your baby is one of those or you suspect him or her to be, then better stay away from highly-allergenic food like peanuts, soy, wheat, egg, and cow’s milk too. Stay away from other environmental factors too like pollens, smoke, etc. They may cause flare-ups too.


Unfortunately, there are cases when home remedies may not be enough to help ease out eczema symptoms. In that case, doctors may recommend special soaps, shampoos, or even steroid creams for your baby.


A gentle reminder though, always consult your doctor first before using or doing any home remedies and/or other treatments on babies and infants with eczema. These little humans are very delicate and require equally delicate care.


Baby Acne


As we earlier mentioned, baby acne, particularly neonatal acne, normally disappears by itself within a few weeks or months. Generally, it does not require any treatments. However, the American Academy of Dermatology offers below skincare tops for babies affected by neonatal acne:


  1. Do not use acne wash or any kind of treatment unless your attending doctor tells you to do so.
  2. Always be gentle, and avoid scrubbing or rubbing the areas affected.
  3. Always use lukewarm water when bathing or cleaning your baby. Avoid using hot water.
  4. Do not use oily or greasy skincare products on your baby.


In addition to these skincare tips, it is also highly advised that:


  1. You keep your baby’s face clean at all times.
  2. Avoid using harsh skin care products on your baby.
  3. Do not use lotions or creams as it may aggravate the condition of the skin.


As with babies with infantile acne, it as well clears up by itself. However, it may take some time. In fact, it may last for six months to a year, and could reaper during their teenage years. There are cases, though, when medical professionals prescribe antibiotics or creams to infantile acne patients to prevent it from scarring.




So, the battle between baby eczema vs acne is now done. Just kidding. But yeah, we’re done sharing a little information on how you can tell the difference between these two very common skin conditions among babies and infants.


Hopefully, we were able to share something very helpful to you, especially parents who are unsure about their child’s condition. But please, do not just rely on us or on what you read, it is always best to consult a doctor to help you distinguish and be able to manage the case appropriately.


That’s all for today. We hope you were able to get something out of this. And please, know that you are not alone on this. Hang in there, these skin conditions shall pass, too. All the best mommies and daddies!