Essential Oils: Are They Safe for Baby Acne?

Close up of newborn baby's face with red rash acne and pimples common known as baby acne.

Essential Oils: Are They Safe for Baby Acne?

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are highly potent chemical compounds found inside plants roots, seeds, flowers or bark. Essential oils give a plant its scent, among other important functions. The benefits of the essential oil is determined by the chemistry of the plant. But are they safe? Especially when it comes to babies? Keep reading to learn more.

The most important thing to know is that essential oils are natural and come from plants. They aren’t synthetic chemicals, but they do offer an alternative to synthetic products. This is an important point to emphasize, because of their variety and potency.

Each plant’s oil has its own unique makeup. That means that each plant’s oil scent and health benefits are unique, too. For example, Frankincense has historically been used to support immune, nervous, and digestive systems. Basil has long been used for skin care, infections and stress disorders. 

That’s not all…

Chamomile is another common essential oil that’s been used for everything from curing pain and reducing fever, to improving digestion and killing bacteria. Pretty impressive, right? And these are just a few of the hundreds of plants that offer medicinal properties in a natural form.

Are Essential Oils New?

Essential oils have a long history and have been used around the world in healthcare, religion, for personal care. They’re also commonly used in aromatherapy. Essential oils are also used in various traditional medicine systems.

In Ancient Egypt plants were used for their oils. They used them in cosmetics, medicine, and even in the embalming process! In fact, Cleopatra’s legendary beauty is attributed to her extensive use of Egyptian essential oils. She also relied on fatty oils, clay, and salts from the edge of the Dead Sea. Pretty cool, right? 

In Greece at the time of Hippocrates, it’s said that he advised that, “the way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day.”

In India, essential oils have been used in natural Ayurvedic health care for ages. The Roman culture also has a tradition of using aromatics. Not just for their scent, but also for health benefits. And, China’s oldest medical text dating back to 2700 BC contains information on how to use 365 different plants for  medicinal benefits. This includes essential oils. 

In the United States, essential oils are used for massage and are often chosen for their calming elements.

Do Babies Really Get Acne?

Yes, babies can get acne. Acne breakouts aren’t only reserved for teens. Though, with babies, it’s different. And the seriousness of the acne depends on the age of the infant.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 20% of newborns have a type of acne called neonatal acne. Neonatal acne develops between 2 and 6 weeks of age. You’ll usually find this around the nose, forehead, and cheeks. This type of baby acne is nothing to worry about. It will typically go away on its own. And don’t worry, it’s not generally  uncomfortable for the new baby.

At this age in your baby’s life you’re most likely seeing your pediatrician weekly, anyway. Don’t hesitate to bring the topic up if you’re concerned. Your baby’s doctor sees this all the time, so for them, it’s not cause for alarm. As always, be your baby’s advocate and ask if there’s anything you should do.

Is Baby Acne Ever Not Normal?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, when acne develops after 6 weeks of age it’s called infantile acne.

If your baby develops acne after 6 weeks of age, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist. They also have pediatric dermatologists. During the appointment, the doctor will examine your baby, and make sure it’s actually acne you’re seeing.

It’s less common for acne to develop after 6 weeks, and may be another skin condition like an infection or eczema. Noticing acne after 6 weeks of age may signify your child needs a closer examination to get to the root of the issue.

And yet, it could be as simple as your baby being sensitive to a skin care product you’re using. The best way to figure this out is by talking to a board certified dermatologist. This way they can examine and treat any condition that needs to be taken care of.

Can Essential Oils Be Used on Baby Acne?

Dr. Susan Bayliss, pediatric dermatologist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital says on the Hospital’s website, “The best thing to do for baby acne is to keep the face clean.” For the record, some essential oils can be used as gentle cleansers.

Calendula oil is an essential oil that comes from marigold flowers. It has anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties. Calendula oil soothes your baby’s skin with its anti-bacterial properties. It might also prevent infections. 

Apple Cider Vinegar is another at-home remedy. Mix equal parts of the apple cider vinegar with water, then dab the mixture on your baby’s acne. Be sure to clean, then rinse the skin after.

Witch Hazel is another at-home remedy that can help. Witch hazel is a natural, plant-based astringent that can clear oil from the skin. Dilute the witch hazel (without alcohol) with water and apply it with a cotton ball using dabbing motions. Be sure to then rinse from it from their skin.

Honey and lemon juice is another at-home remedy. Honey and lemon are both natural ingredients with anti-fungal properties. To use this salve, mix lemon juice and honey with warm water. Apply it to your baby’s skin in soft dabbing motions. We suggest using a  cotton ball. Don’t forget to rinse their skin clean.

Essential Oils Are Safe For Baby Acne

You can safely use these effective natural remedies on your baby’s skin but run it by your pediatrician first. Always check with your physician. As always, it’s best to be safe with their delicate skin!

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