What is baby acne?

Baby acne, also known as “neonatal acne” or “neonatal cephalic pustulosis,” is a common skin condition that occurs in more than one in five healthy newborns. It typically arises around two weeks of age with little bumps and pustules on the infant’s forehead, cheeks, eyelids, and chin.

This condition should be distinguished from infantile acne, which is less common and presents at 2-12 months of age.

How common is baby acne?

Baby acne is very common. It affects over 20% of healthy newborn infants.

What causes baby acne?

The cause of neonatal acne is unknown but is thought to be an inflammatory reaction to yeast on the skin. It is not truly a type of acne.

What are the symptoms of baby acne?

Small bumps and pustules arise on the face and can extend into the scalp. Less commonly, these lesions are seen on the neck and upper trunk. There are no black heads or white heads as are seen in true acne.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/01/2018.


  • Bolognia J, Cerroni L, Schaffer JV, eds. Dermatology. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders; 2018. p. 593.
  • Eichenfield, LF, Frieden IJ, Mathes E, Zaenglein AL. Neonatal and Infant Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders; 2014. p. 70.

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