Baby Eczema Vs. Baby Acne: Differences | Cause | Treatment

Baby Eczema Vs. Baby Acne: Differences | Cause | Treatment

Table of Contents

  • What is Baby Eczema?
  • Causes of Baby Eczema
  • Diagnosis and Treatment
  • How is Baby Acne different from Eczema?
  • Causes of Baby Acne
  • Treatment for Baby Acne Vs Baby Eczema
  • Key Differences between Baby Eczema and Baby Acne

With an increasing amount of awareness about caring for a newborn baby, there is also an increasing amount of worry and confusion in parents who are consuming large amounts of parenting information and baby care tips on social media. There has also been a significant rise in the number of baby products in the market, making it more difficult for parents to identify the right baby products for their family. Which is the best moisturizer for kids? Is this truly a talc-free baby powder? Which is the best baby lotion for dry skin? How do I make the best choice from all of these baby creams? More choices have certainly led to more confusion.

A key factor in parenting choices with baby products is understanding their baby’s skin and the possibility of any skin conditions such as eczema, acne, dry skin, skin rashes, etc. Let us understand what baby eczema and baby acne are, how they are different from each other, and why we need to know about these two baby skin conditions.

What is Baby Eczema?

Eczema in babies is a prevalent skin condition. Eczema, also known as dermatitis, presents with the symptoms of dryness and itching on the baby's skin. It also appears with red patches and baby rashes and is most common in children aged 6 months to 5 years. Baby eczema, unlike baby acne, can affect any part of the body. These eczema-related baby rashes cause itching, discomfort, dryness, and inflammation on the baby’s skin.

Causes of Baby Eczema:

Baby eczema is a genetic condition; if a parent has eczema, the child is likely to get it too. Scientists studying baby skin conditions are linking eczema to mutations in the KIF3A, FLG and CARD11 genes, making it an inherited condition (Source: Medical News Today). Several environmental factors may cause or trigger eczema in babies. Coming into contact with allergens can often trigger symptoms of baby eczema; these allergens may be dust, pet dander, and some types of foods like shellfish, nuts, etc. Certain types of soaps and detergents can also cause eczema skin rashes in babies, making their skin irritable and itchy.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Eczema in babies can be diagnosed by your child’s doctor, who may physically examine the rashes or run further tests like an allergy test or a blood test to identify whether the rashes are eczema and what may be causing this eczema. The treatment of baby eczema is done using baby eczema creams and natural baby moisturizers, which work on the baby’s skin. Natural baby moisturizers like CITTA Baby Balm have the goodness of 8 natural oils, shea butter and vitamin E, that help fight extreme dry skin conditions. Natural oils such as coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, rice bran oil, soybean oil, basil oil, turmeric oil and camphor oil are highly nourishing and moisturizing with their anti-microbial properties that fight against baby rashes, dryness and even extreme

skin conditions like eczema, acne and skin peeling. Doctors may even prescribe topical steroid creams and oral medications that will help with the discomfort caused by these baby rashes. An important aspect of treating baby eczema is to avoid all the triggers that lead to more inflammation and irritation.

How is Baby Acne different from Eczema?

In contrast to baby eczema, baby acne can develop much earlier, even before the age of 3 months, where a baby’s face may have white pimples, red spots, bumps or even blackheads. These baby acne most tend to break out on a baby’s cheeks, forehead, scalp, and neck and will usually limit itself to the face. On the other hand, baby eczema usually develops around the baby’s knees, elbows, joints and face areas. Baby acne, unlike baby eczema, is not irritable or itchy.

Causes of Baby Acne:

Baby acne usually clears up by itself with any significant treatment. These acne are caused by certain hormonal changes in the mother during the pregnancy, where the placenta transfers some of these hormones to the baby’s skin, making it produce acne-causing sebum. This sebum clogs the pores on the skin, leading to the production of acne on the baby’s sensitive skin. This baby acne can be diagnosed by your child’s doctor fairly easily and does not require any special tests like in baby eczema.

Treatment for Baby Acne Vs Baby Eczema:

The treatment of baby eczema and baby acne are quite different. As the baby acne on the face and the baby rashes on the body differ in their cause and condition, parents need to treat them both differently. Baby acne treatment can be done without any prescription medicines or topical ointments. A doctor will recommend gentle cleaning, including gentle baby body wash, natural baby powders, chemical-free baby moisturizers and creams, and an overall sensitive skincare routine. The doctor may advise against infant massage in both skin conditions or may recommend some specific products that are suitable for use. As recommended by doctors, CITTA’s entire product range includes natural baby wash with the goodness of aloe vera, coconut, and rice protein; talc-free baby powder with oats and corn starch; and natural moisturizing baby balm with 8 natural oils such as coconut, turmeric, basil, etc. blended with shea butter and Vitamin E to help prevent rashes and baby acne while maintaining your baby’s skin health

Key Differences between Baby Eczema and Baby Acne

Based on all the medical information available, here are the key differences between baby eczema and baby acne to bear in mind when you notice certain symptoms on your baby’s skin:

Baby Eczema  Baby Acne
 Appearance and location
Baby eczema presents as irritable and itchy red rashes, dry and rough skin, and inflammation in the baby’s gentle and sensitive skin. Eczema in babies is most commonly found on the knees and elbows, joints and the face of the baby’s body. Baby acne, in contrast, is like usual adult acne, which consists of white pimples and red spots. Sometimes they may also appear as whiteheads or blackheads. Acne in babies is most commonly found on the baby’s cheeks and foreheads, and sometimes on the neck region.
 Causes and triggers
Baby eczema is most commonly caused by a genetic predisposition, where if the parent(s) have eczema, the baby is also very likely to have it. Eczema in babies is also triggered by several allergens in the food, air and clothing the baby comes into contact with. It is also aggravated by weather changes, where excess heat and sweating may cause further inflammation. Winters and other seasonal changes may also cause excessive dryness in the baby’s skin, making baby care more challenging if the baby is predisposed to eczema. Baby acne is not a genetic condition. It is usually caused by a hormonal imbalance during the mother’s pregnancy, where the hormones are passed through the umbilical cord, leading to sebum production in the baby as well. This excessive sebum caused clogged pores and then acne on the baby’s sensitive newborn skin.
 Diagnosis: The diagnosis of both of these skin conditions is best done by a medical practitioner, who will physically examine the baby’s skin.
 To test for eczema in babies, a doctor may recommend allergy tests, blood tests and skin biopsies to make a certain diagnosis.  Baby acne does not require such extensive testing.
 Treatment approaches
To treat eczema in babies, a doctor will often recommend topical baby creams, steroid creams and oral medication to reduce the symptoms of baby eczema. For treating baby acne, a doctor will recommend the use of gentle baby care products and certain changes in chemical-free skincare routines.


In both these skin conditions, it is important for a parent not to panic and to trust their doctor in the medical treatment. These are common baby skin conditions and usually resolve themselves by the age of 5 years.

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