Eczema or Acne?!

Updated on March 21, 2013
D.H. asks from Columbus, OH
11 answers

I am a first time mom, so please bear with me and be kind. ;) My 5 week old son has a rash on his face and chest. It seems to come and go based on friction and crying. When he has just been bathed, or has been crying, or has had his face rubbing up against my shirt then it looks bright pink/red. When he calms down it fades away, although if you look/feel carefully you'll see they are never really gone. Just skin colored and smaller. On his cheeks and chin there are little tiny raised bumps and red splotchiness. His cheeks do feel slightly dry, but mine feel a lot drier - typical winter byproduct - and I definitely don't have eczema. On his chest they are also there, but don't feel bumpy. They are flat and there is definitely no dryness at all. He does get rather fussy at times, but how would I know if this fussiness is due to itching? I don't think he can scratch at his age, can he? Could this be eczema or would there be a lot more dryness? Is it just typical baby acne? Thanks in advance for any and all responses!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers


answers from San Francisco on

From what you're describing, he may just have very sensitive skin. One of my girls is this way. She was allergic to Dreft, fabric softener, synthetic fabrics, heat made her break out, she would get hives ALL the time, she was sensitive to dairy... on and on it went. Poor kid. The good news is, although her skin is still sensitive, it's much less so than it was when she was a baby, so they DO grow out of it!

What I would do is remove potential allergens one by one until you find the culprit(s). Change to a scent-free, hypoallergenic laundry soap. Rinse his clothes an extra time before drying. Don't use fabric softener. Those are all really hard on newborns. If you don't notice an improvement, then go to dietary - sorry mama, but you may have to go dairy-free if you're breastfeeding (or go to a soy formula if you're bottle-feeding).

Also, as time goes by, he may just get over it on his own. It really doesn't sound much like eczema (which would be almost scaly looking), and if it were acne, you'd know (it looks just like teenager acne).

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Detroit on

you could go to the dr. and find out.

but he is at the exact right age for infant acne.

A while ago someone asked what to put on infant acne.. and out of 20+ responses.. all responses were different.. and everyone said that the cream or lotion they put on their baby worked great and the infant acne went away..

so to me that means it just goes away in time even if you do nothing..

I doubt he is fussy cause of the rash.. newborns cry and fuss. the peak of crying is at 6 weeks old. it gradually declines till 12 weeks when babies are happier and less fussy.. try not to let the baby stay awake more than 2 hours at a time.. if he is awake too long he gets tired and fusssy.. at this age he should be sleeping, wake to eat, diaper change a brief period of happiness where you intereact with him .. then back to sleep.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

It cold be keratosis pilaris but because your babe is 5 weeks and it's mostly on his face and chest I would venture to guess it's just plain ol' baby acne. Keratosis pilaris is usually seen on the backs of upper arms and thighs. My 5 year old has it.

Eczema is very patchy and redish. All my kids get eczema a lot.

His face getting red is normal. For baby acne I lightly washed their face with plain water and a washcloth. That's it and waited for it to end. Not my fave baby stage as it's not super sightly :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I was going to say KP. Is it on the back of his arms?

Ask the pediatrician to check it out at your next visit.



answers from Columbia on

This sounds like Keratosis pilaris.

The change in color would be how much keratin is building up and how many follicles are plugged.

My daughter has this. on her cheeks and the outside of her upper arms. There isn't a treatment or cure, but you can do some things to reduce the redness. Her Ped should have seen this, it's fairly common.

It doesn't cause discomfort, per say. now, my daughter ALSO has eczema, which will flare up ON TOP of the keratosis. So it can SEEM like it's a rash or itchy when it's not.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Definitely could be KP, very common in infants.
They do outgrow it normally.



answers from Billings on

My kids have all had baby acne around that age, tiny reddish bumps all over their face, neck and chest. I bet that is what it is. Nothing I put on it helped--it goes away on its own after a few weeks.



answers from Portland on

My son had that, sounds like baby acne. He had it on his face and chest and a bit on his tummy. It went away when he got a bit older. Now he has the softest, most lovely skin imaginable.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Another possibility is that he has a food sensitivity. Dairy sensitivity in particular often shows up as an eczema-like rash on babies. If he is generally fussy and sometimes gassy, this may be the case.

If you are nursing, eliminate dairy from your diet for 2 weeks and see if it helps. If you are giving formula, try one for cow's milk sensitive babies like nutramigen.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions