Any Remedy for Severe Baby Acne and Dry Scalp?

Updated on November 17, 2008
M.H. asks from Minneapolis, MN
31 answers

Hi moms,

My son is 1 month old today and I'm loving being a mom. I need some help though (in more ways than one :). My son has really bad acne all over his face (predominately on his forehead and cheeks). I've been using Dreft for his clothes so I don't think it's a rash but I'm not really sure. They look like red pimples some big and some small and some that have a whitehead. He also is suffering from a really dry and scaly scalp. I've been told it's not cradle cap (by my sister-in-law who has three girls) but I'm not sure. I've looked online and most articles recommend leaving the acne alone but I was wondering if there are any other remedies you've tried that would help soothe his poor skin. Thanks in advance for your help!

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So What Happened?

November 21st Entry:
So unfortunately the tiny bumps on his face got worse and I noticed some on his neck, chest and arms. I went back to the pediatrican and he told me that he has seborrheic dermatitis (in infants this is known as cradle cap). His scalp has just a couple of dry spots but he mentioned that the cradle cap had spread to other parts of his body and was the cause of the tiny red bumps. He suggested I use either a cradle cap shampoo or Selsun Blue for his scalp. He suggested I use Aquaphor or Cetaphil lotion for the rest of his body. He also suggested I try hydrocortisone cream on his face and body to get rid of the bumps. I put some on last night and noticed a difference today. He still has the bumps but they are now flesh toned vs red. I'll keep you all posted on any future progress. :)

November 14th Entry:
Thank you so much for all your great advice! I love this website :) I ended up buying Cetaphil for his face and have noticed a little improvement. I probably need to keep it up for the next couple of weeks.

I tried baby oil on his scalp since I had some available and left it on for a couple of minutes like you all suggested. Then I used the little baby brush they gave me at the hospital to massage his head. Oh my! The flakes came right off. It looked like I had poured a bag of shredded cocunut on his head as all the dry skin flaked off. I think I'm going to need to do it at least one more time but boy did it help! My husband even noticed that his hair felt different and looked different.

Thanks again for all the great advice!

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H.C.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Hey M.! Hope this helps. Try Aveeno bath for baby (you will find it in the same area as other baby wash products), the soap and lotion. Due to the expense I used it on my daughter only on the effected area. So I would wash her head/face/ and even bottom when it has a diaper rash with the Aveeno and use the regular stuff else where. Then for lotion time I would use the Aveeno lotion only in those same areas. Continued use was the key for my daughter. Also, I know that some people/pedi doctors advice to baths approx every other day. But since my daughter was born we have given a bath most days, even a quick sponge down. A bath always seemed to help when her skin flared up. Her skin has never had a reaction due to frequent baths. I watch my friends baby frequently and he has had much worse skin issues, and not much seems to help,she has stopped putting lotion on him, except when she thinks he really needs it, and that has helped a little but not much so it is possible that home remidies may not work, but give those products a try and give his skin a little extra care, like maybe more cleaning, like I had to do, and it may just work! Good Luck

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S.S.

answers from Lawton on

dry, scaly scalp sounds like cradle cap. If you rub baby oil in about five minutes before his bath and then wash it out it should start clearing up.

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J.H.

answers from Oklahoma City on

That sounds more like hives than acne - they can look very similar. If you're not breastfeeding him exclusively, you might want to check with the pediatrician about food allergies. I still get that same issue with certain foods I eat, and always have. As for the dry scalp, my oldest had a very bad case of cradle cap and I was desperate. I grabbed my tube of Lansinoh lanolin - used for severe cracking skin(available in the baby section at Walmart), smeared it all over her head and put a cap over it. I left it on for two or three hours and buffed it off with a soft rag. Her scalp looked beautiful, with no sign of flaky skin. It might help in your situation too. I hope this helps :}

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S.C.

answers from Fayetteville on

Dear M., I always used the creamy baby oil on my babies for the first few months of their lives. Take the creamy baby oil and smooth it on your little one's head and leave it until you are ready to bath him. Another words, when you are getting ready to give him a bath before you undress him, put on the creamy baby oil and leave it until you have him undressed and ready to go in the tub.(about 5 minutes or so) You will notice a big change in just a few days. It really worked for me. About the acne, he will out grow it. I think that all babies have it, some are worse than others but all 3 of mine had it. My daughters was worse than my 2 son's but they all had it. I hope this helps. S.

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M.K.

answers from Monroe on

If it really is acne, then you really can't do much for it....except wait it out and put a mild moisturizer on it like Cetaphil or CeraVe. Our dermatalogist put my dd on cetaphil as an infant because she has really sensitive skin and a condition called keratosis pilarus.

The dry scalp/cradle cap can be cured in a variety of ways. Our pediatricians recommendation was to use head and shoulders and wash the hair with that. get his head wet, put the shampoo on, leave it while you wash the rest of him and then rinse. do it once a week if needed.

The other is to put baby oil on his head (slather it on) and then using a baby tooth brush gently rub his head and exfoliate the flaking skin off...creates a mess you then have to wash, but many swear by it.

good luck!

~~M.

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S.J.

answers from Tulsa on

In my experience (a whole 10 months of it, ha ha), I just left it alone and let it clear up on its own. Clean the face with plain water. The acne is a result of hormone changes, not dirt or oil on the skin. As for the hair, don't wash it too often (once a week is fine), and use a brush to loosen the flakes before bathtime. I've heard olive oil works but I never tried it. I just left it alone and hand-picked any large and noticeable flakes off so her scalp didn't look too flaky. It never seemed to bother her or itch or anything. The pediatrician suggested Head and Shoulders, but I have enough trouble keeping the tear-free baby shampoo out of her face, there is no way I'd be able to keep the Head and Shoulders out of her face and eyes so I did not and would not try that! (Every time I try to rinse her hair she flings herself around which makes water get in her face.)

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K.H.

answers from Houma on

Hi, I had the same problem with my son when he was that age. I had to change his washing powder to all, Dreft was kinda to strong for his skin I was told that he has eczema. His skin is always dry even is his head the Dr. had to give me something for his skin and soon it cleared up.But you might want to get him checked you don't want those dry scabbs from his head to drop on his forhead and make his acne worst.

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D.D.

answers from Oklahoma City on

On the dry scalp, you might try yogurt. If it is yeast related, the yogurt eaten will help get rid of any problems inside and if you use a plain yogurt on the hair like a conditioner, it should help the outside as well. This is especially helpful if the child has been on antibiotics anytime in the last 6 months. Antibiotics cause yeast infections. This has been proven and well documented. You should be able to find a lot of articles on the internet regarding this.

For our area, I have found that Braums yogurt works the best. However, there are many states that do not have this restaurant and you can just use the regular store bought brands. It just takes longer.

Good luck!

D. D

P.S. The yogurt might actually help with the acne too, but I don't know for sure. Just depends on what is causing it. :)

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S.C.

answers from Birmingham on

Are you breastfeeding?

A little breastmilk on the spots/baby acne will help clear them - old wives tale - but it works. Also helps to let it dry on sore nipples as well.

My boys never had cradle cap, but I hear olive oil does wonders for it.

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A.R.

answers from Pine Bluff on

I have always found that baby oil works best on dry skin and scalp, but you do have to use it frequently, not just once or twice a day.

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C.T.

answers from Fayetteville on

Congratulations new mom! My dd had bad baby acne and there's not a thing you can do about it but keep his face clean. Just plain water mostly but you can use the baby wash once a day. It will go away on its own but I know how awful it looks, my dd even had it on her ears.
My dd also had the scaly scalp-she still gets it in one spot on her head and she's 4! The best thing that worked for us was light extra virgin olive oil (advised by the girl who cuts our hair.) That seemed to work better than baby oil. You don't want to use much since its hard to wash out. Just put a bit on your fingertips and rub into the scaly spots on his head and the dry spots come lose with just a little rubbing. BTW that's how my daughter lost her baby hair so quickly-we rubbed oil on her head and I had her hair all over my hand. God bless you and your baby boy!

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M.S.

answers from Tuscaloosa on

Both of my girls (2 yrs and 8 weeks) had the pustules on their face and it is totally normal, and unfortunately there is nothing you can do for it. My 8 week old had it, and I want to say it was gone by the time she was about 6 weeks. Do you breastfeed? I know that the "acne" like bumps are more predominant in breastfed babies......as far as the possible cradle cap goes, with my older daughter I rubbed a small amount of baby oil on the dry spots while she was in the bath, then washed it out with her shampoo and they seemed to go away well with that. Hope this helps, good luck!

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K.B.

answers from Baton Rouge on

For the dry scalp try tea tree oil it worked wonders for my daughter when she was a new born. For the acne my daughter had it also but nothing really helped I kept her face clean I would wipe her face with a warm wash cloth after everytime she would eat or take a bottle. I hope this helps good luck!

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A.W.

answers from Baton Rouge on

do NOT pop the bumps they go away! They're just "milk bumps" as for the dry scalp I used creamy baby oil pour a good bit on her head and comb it with I call it a lice comb it takes a while but gently do it a few times a day get a little at a time off and whenever u see it starting again put the CREAMY BABY OIL I think it was j&j. Also brush her hair or even bald head everyday with the soft baby brush it gets the natural scalp oils flowing and may make the hair grow a few people told me that anyway about the hair growing faster could just be an old wise tale anyways neither are anything too major have fun with the little one!

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V.W.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Hi M.!

and CONGRATULATIONS on becoming a new mom? Was your little guy born on Oct 11? If so, that is my husband's b-day as well.

I've got some stuff here specially formulated for babies made by Shaklee that I would be happy to send you. I also have a question because of where you say the rash is located. Do you wash his clothes and bedding seperately from yours with a different laundry cleaner?

You can contact me directly at [email protected]____.com

God Bless and again congratulations!
~V~

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A.A.

answers from Baton Rouge on

I had to take my baby girl to the doctor as well for the dry scalp and acne. The doctor prescribed elidell for the acne and i had to use the Johnson's baby shampoo tearlees that you can wash hair/body with. Also the doctor recommended bathing every other night to prevent the dry scalp/dry skin. Ask your pediatrician because if it is cradle cap they make an over the counter cream that you rub into their scalp and take a comb very gently and it flakes up. You may have to do it more than once. Hope this helps.

Sincerely,
A.

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J.C.

answers from Jackson on

My 9 month old had cradle cap as a newborn and it went away and now it's back again. Her pediatrician told me to use Selsum Blue Dandruff Shampoo on her 2-3 times a week and scrub her hair really good with the little scrubby brush they give you at the hospital. I have been doing this almost a week now and it seems to be helping, just be sure not to get it in his eyes.

Good Luck,
J. C

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J.S.

answers from Little Rock on

mine all had it too and they say just to wash with warm water and leave it alone but 1% hydrocortisone cleared it up for my children. hope this helps!

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D.D.

answers from Dothan on

My 4 month old has the same cradle cap and had acne (as dud my first daughter). Whatever you do, don't mess with the acne. It's just hormones - I know it's awful, but it WILL go away on its own. Lotions, etc., just make it worse. Breast milk is fine, might help.
As for the cradle cap, it looked different on both my daughters, so it's not the same for everyone. We've used spray baby oil and Burt's Bees apricot oil, both worked well. We've also used olive oil, even behind the ears of my older daughter (who has eczema).
Wash baby with cetaphil cleanser - super great for dry and irritated skin. Put some on the scalp and GENTLY massage - it will help loosen scales, then apply whatever oil you are going to use.
A GREAT GREAT book for all of this stuff is Baby 411 - very practical, covers almost everything you need to know about the first year in a simple and straightforward way. Written by a pediatrician and a mom, and seen on Oprah, Today show, etc. We've worn ours out and it's like a survival guide! It's what I always give as a present to new parents now. Has a great section on hygiene and infant care that covers both of your problems.
Good luck!

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C.R.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I've always heard to leave baby acne alone, so the only thing I did was wash his face with his regular bath wash, the head to toe body wash. That worked for us. He's almost 4 months old and still breaks out every once in awhile. He also had cradle cap, and our doc said to gently scrub his head with a baby brush when we shampooed his hair, and that worked like charm. I also put a little lotion on his head. Good luck!

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L.J.

answers from Tulsa on

M.,

Unless your pediatrician suggests treatment for the acne, let it be. Your baby has acne because of hormonal changes after he was born. This is natural and completely normal. My son had acne, too. Do not pop the pimples as this causes discomfort to the baby and can cause infection. ** When you wash your son, wash his face (as you normally do - but don't scrub) with a baby hair and body shampoo.***

As for the scalp, he could have cradle cap or just a dry scalp. Again, this is completely normal. And again, my son had it too. You can treat the flaking and dryness with over-the-counter dandruff shampoos. (Be careful not to get it in baby's eyes!!)

"Massage" the shampoo on the scalp - being very careful of the baby's soft spot. Loosen scales with the fingers and rinse thoroughly. I think we used Head and Shoulders. Use a baby comb to comb out the loose flakes.

Try this everyday for a week and if you do not see improvement, then return to the pediatrician.

Best of luck to you. In a few weeks, your little guy should be ready for some holiday pics!

L.

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K.S.

answers from Oklahoma City on

For the dry scalp, go to walmart and they have cradle cap cream with winnie the pooh on the front, my best friend used that and it worked pretty good, he out grew that quickly so I wouldn't worry. As for the baby acne.. my son had a little and i was told it bothered me more than him, now he's 10 months old and skin is perfect like an angels! Good luck!

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P.B.

answers from Mobile on

Almost all newborn babys look like this;just some more severe.For the scalp u can try baby oil or lotion,as for the acne,it will generally clear up on it's own.If ur that worried about it,talk to ur pediatrician.

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B.V.

answers from Fayetteville on

4-6 weeks is when baby acne pops up - it's totally normal and should go away within a few short weeks (scared me crazy when mine was his age and i was getting her pictures done - ack). However, if it doesn't or causes other issues a doctor can give you a cream. On the dry scalp a hospital nurse gave me the cure after I'd dealt with this for 7 months - hair conditioner (regular hair conditioner, not a specialized baby kind - I used garnier fructis). Shampoo is designed to dry out the oils and what you need is to moisten the oils so the flakes can break loose (thus the baby oil recommendations, it just didn't work for me) and then you can wash with shampoo to get the excess oils off, but I would wait until the next day so the scalp can maintain the right amount of moisture and not dry out again too quickly. She told me to put it on her head for about 4 minutes and then rinse it out just as I would my own hair. I had tried everything else everyone told me and this was the cure. Her head was cleared up immediately and I haven't seen the problem since.

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M.B.

answers from Fayetteville on

What kind of soap are you using to wash him? All three of my children had something like this. Their pediatrician suggested that I switch the soap and lotions I use to the Baby Magic brand. He said that they are not as harsh on a baby's skin. Also, he said to get some of the Dove (the plain kind with nothing in it) body wash and use that every other bath and use Cetaphil lotion and it worked wonders when I changed. I also used the Neutragina T-Gel stuff for the dry scalp. It only takes a little and make sure it does not get in the baby's eyes. It only took me using this once to clear up the dry scalp. I used it on the next bath just to make sure and continued to use it a couple times a month and they did not have dry scalp again. I did buy the off brand of the Dove, Cetaphil, and T-Gel stuff to save some money and they worked just fine. I hope this helps you.

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L.B.

answers from Fayetteville on

the acne will go away on its own within the month.

Dry scalp or cradle cap will both respond well to some organic coconut oil, olive oil or whatever other very pure oil or lotion that you like. The purer, the better.

About an hour before bath time, rub it in. Put on an old hat to keep the sheets from getting oily. Then, before bath, use a soft-bristled toothbrush, rub gently in circles.

Don't bathe or shampoo too often! Too often will dry his skin out. Once or twice a week is enough. You can always spot-clean your baby as long as you keep him warm.

Not sure what's in Dreft but try Charlie's. Or stick some vinegar in just before hte rinse cycle.

L.

PS Do NOT use Head & Shoulders! It's one of the most toxic bodycare products on the market. http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/wordsearch.php?query=Hea...

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J.S.

answers from Enid on

my babies had the same thing. i din't want to just 'leave it alone' because it looked raw and uncomfortable. my doctor told me to use head and shoulder and a baby brush for the cradle cap, that worked after one application. for the acne, cetaphil, cetaphil, cetaphil. use the soap every other day and the lotion/moisturizer 2 times a day. worked like a charm. have a great day!

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K.S.

answers from Decatur on

It very well could be a allergic reaction to what you are bathing your baby in. I work with a company that has all natural baby products and also a oil to put on dry scalp. We have had alot of great results when you start using natural products instead of all of those with chemicals. If interested you can give me a call at ###-###-#### or email [email protected]____.com. Thanks, K.

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L.G.

answers from New Orleans on

HI M.,

Try aquaphor a couple of times a day. Use it on your son's scalp and the baby acne. I would try it for a day or two before you start using a more severe product. I love aquaphor for diaper rash too! Good Luck!

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L.P.

answers from Tulsa on

I agree with breast milk on the acne & olive oil on the head. Plus, try not to worry about well-meaning strangers when they give you their 2 cents worth! I had one lady try to convince me that my 4 week old daughter might have chicken pox or measles! It was just the acne as she was responding to the hormones. Oh well! Enjoy your little bundle of joy!

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J.M.

answers from Baton Rouge on

Baby acne is normal at one month...both of my children had it and it was cleared up by the 2-3rd month. DO not pick, poke, pinch, etc...just keep it clean and dry. The acne is a result of your hormones in his body...it'll go away, promise!

For cradle cap, I used a dollop of Selsun Blue on my daughter's head for about a week and it went away! :) Watch the eyes though...it can burn if it gets in their little baby eyes!

J.

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