Toddler Acne – How Common and Top Tips to Prevent

6 min read

Written by Smita Srivastava

Smita Srivastava

Toddler acne is not very common

The words “toddler” and “acne” don’t seem to go together. Acne usually strikes when a child hits puberty. So, while acne may be very common in adults, it’s not a condition that affects toddlers that much. Toddlers may get bumps on their face, neck etc. that resemble acne, but the real acne is very rarely seen.

Acne occurs when the pores on the skin get clogged due to oil secretion and dead skin cells. This leads to pimples. If one gets pimples frequently, it means they have acne. Acne is common in babies and sometimes, baby or infantile acne can occasionally persist into the toddler years. This again is not that common. Let’s find out more about toddler acne, its prevention and treatment options.

In This Article

How Common is Acne in Toddlers?

Toddler acne is classified as mid-childhood acne in the medical world. And, as stated before, is a rare occurrence. That’s because kids of such a young age do not undergo hormone changes like teens who hit puberty. So, if your toddler is getting acne it is better to consult a pediatrician or a pediatric dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

While it can be concerning for parents to see their toddler with acne, it is usually a harmless and self-limited condition that resolves on its own.

What Are the Top Causes of Acne in Toddlers?

Dairy consumption may cause acne

Acne is often caused due to hormonal changes and secretions in the body. While this is common once the kid hits puberty, in toddlers it’s very rare. Still, sometimes certain conditions may contribute to the eruption of acne in toddlers. Let’s see what are the causes behind toddler acne

1. Hormonal Changes

If the toddler has had acne since infancy, it may be because of hormones. A temporary boost in hormones can cause acne in infants, and although it disappears in a few weeks, very rarely it may continue well into the toddler years. If this is the case, then speak to your pediatrician.

Another serious type of hormonal imbalance may also be the reason behind your toddler’s acne. This again is very rare. Abnormal change in hormones should be checked because it can cause several other symptoms like body odor etc. as well. If you notice acne in your toddler, it is better to consult the pediatrician who can do tests to assess and rule out any hormonal abnormality.

[Read : Body Odor in Toddlers]

2. Irritation

Certain products like soap, cleansers, lotions, detergents, heavily perfumed air fresheners etc. may contain irritants that can cause acne in toddlers. 

3. Blocked Pores

Most common cause of acne is blocked pores on the skin surface. The pores may get blocked due to excess oil secretion, sweating, food particles that remain stuck on their skin, transfer of makeup from an adult to their skin, etc. Once the pores are blocked, it traps germs, and causes acne.

4. Dairy Intake

According to a study, dairy consumption led to acne in individuals aged between 7 and 30 years. Similarly, based on a study done by PubMed Central, excess dairy products may cause acne in your toddler too.

5. Genetics

If you have a family history of acne, then chances are it may pass on to your toddler too. So, your toddler may be at higher risk of acne if the parents, siblings, or grandparents etc. too have acne.

Symptoms of Toddler Acne

Symptoms of acne in toddlers may include red colored bumps on skin

The symptoms of acne in toddlers are generally similar to those in older children and adults, but they may be less severe. Here are some common symptoms of acne in toddlers-

  • Small red or white bumps on the skin
  • Pimples or papules which are inflammatory
  • Blackheads or whiteheads
  • Inflamed, red, or tender skin
  • Pus-filled lesions on skin
  • Oily or greasy skin in affected areas
  • Mild itching or discomfort in some cases
  • Change in skin color

Acne in toddlers usually appears on the face, especially on the cheeks, chin, and forehead. However, it can also affect other areas of the body, including the neck, chest, and back. If you notice any of these symptoms in your toddler, it’s a good idea to consult with your pediatrician for an evaluation and to discuss any necessary treatment options.

How to Treat Acne in Toddlers?

In most cases, toddler acne clears up on its own without any treatment. However, sometimes proper diagnosis with the help of blood tests etc. may be required to ascertain the actual cause of acne if the condition is worsening.

Once the pediatrician finds out the cause behind your toddler’s acne, the treatment will depend on that. You can also check with your pediatrician for home remedies for a mild case of acne.

Top 5 Tips to Reduce and Prevent Acne in Toddlers

Do not apply over the counter medicines on toddler acne without consulting doctor

If your toddler has got acne, there are certain steps you can take to manage it so that it doesn’t aggravate further. Here are five tips to help reduce and prevent acne in toddlers-

  • Do not rub the area or use towel to scrub the affected area
  • Use gentle skincare products. Avoid using harsh chemical based soaps, and other skincare products that may irritate your toddler’s skin and worsen the acne
  • Avoid tight clothing as it can trap sweat and bacteria against the skin, leading to clogged pores and acne. Choose loose-fitting clothing made from breathable fabrics, such as cotton, to reduce the risk of acne
  • Avoid popping or bursting the pimples. Teach your toddler too, not to squeeze the pimples as it can exacerbate the condition
  • Do not self-medicate and use products available in market to treat your toddler’s acne

With proper skin care and hygiene practices, you can help reduce the risk of acne and promote healthy, clear skin for your little one.

[Read : Top 10 Baby Skincare Tips]

When to Visit the Doctor?

A sick toddler with father

Most cases of acne in toddlers are harmless and self-limited and do not require medical attention. However, you should consult with your pediatrician if:

  • Your toddler’s acne is severe or persistent
  • If your toddler’s acne is causing discomfort, such as itching or pain, or is affecting your toddler’s self-esteem or quality of life, it’s important to seek medical attention
  • Acne is accompanied by other symptoms: If your toddler’s acne is accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever or fatigue, it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition

Toddler acne can occur due to several reasons. It may not be that common condition, but if it happens it’s best to consult a pediatrician. Early diagnosis will result in faster treatment. Also, instill good hygiene practices to keep the toddler’s skin free of bacteria and germs caused due to sweat. Above all, remember there is nothing to panic about if your toddler gets acne.


1. Can Teething Cause Acne in Toddlers?

Teething can cause toddlers to drool excessively. This may irritate the skin around the lips and mouth and cause a rash. Teething rash is different from acne, which happens due to blocked pores or underlying medical conditions. Hence, teething can cause rashes but not acne.

2. Does Coconut Oil Help With Toddler Acne?

Coconut oil contains lauric acid that can help kill the bacteria which causes acne. Hence, you can try using coconut oil on your toddler’s acne after consulting with their doctor.

3. How Long Does it Take For Toddler Acne to Go Away?

A mild case of toddler acne will go away on its own within a few days. But, in some cases, where the acne is severe it may take a few weeks or months depending upon the severity and treatment.

Read Also: Bad Breath in Toddlers – Causes, Home Remedies and Tips to Deal With

Smita Srivastava, Bachelors (BA) in Mass Media and Mass Communication from Delhi University
Masters (MA) in Mass Media and Mass Communication from Kurukshetra University

With a background in Mass media and journalism, Smita comes with rich and vast experience in content creation, curation, and editing. As a mom of a baby girl, she is an excellent candidate for writing and editing parenting and pregnancy content. The content she writes and edits is influenced by her own journey through pregnancy and motherhood. When not writing- She can be found curled up with a book. Or, bingeing on Netflix.Read more.

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