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Severe baby acne = dairy allergy?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
DS developed baby acne before his two-week birthday, and it rapidly got worse (and worse). The poor guy is covered - the pimples are right next to one another, covering his entire face and head - all over under his hair, and even has some on his neck and shoulders. He has huge white heads, black heads, just red bumps - all of 'em!

Everyone keeps telling me it's normal - but I just have a feeling there's something else going on, because I've never seen such a bad case before.

In my edition (probably ten years old) of Dr. Sears' The Baby Book, he mentions that their seventh child had early-onset acne that extended far past the face, and he turned out to be allergic to dairy in Martha's diet.

I'm going to remove cow's milk products from my diet, just to be certain. (It's going to be so very difficult. We have a stand-up freezer literally full of food I made for us, and every single container has some kind of dairy in it - mostly cheese or butter.)

I'm just wondering if any of you have ever heard of such a thing? He isn't colicky at all, no other such symptoms. Just wicked bad baby acne.
post #2 of 34
My DS screamed non stop for 3 months until we were able to eliminate everything he reacted to. He also had eczema until the dairy was cut out. Eczema like a rash, but not like acne. In my case I could not drink milk or have cheese. But I could eat things like muffins made with dairy.

My older son was diagnosed as allergic to dairy at age 5. We have had to cut it out of his food completely. Its not so hard when you get the hang of it. Rice milk works well for us in cooking and Smart Balance makes a vegan butter substitute which is actually quite good (and I am picky).

Another thought is to take a good look at the soaps you are using and moistuizer. Whenever my kids got actual acne it was usually a result of a soap not being totally washed off or lack of a moisturizer.
post #3 of 34
You might consider taking him in just to confirm it is only baby acne.
post #4 of 34
Thread Starter 
I would gladly run him into the doc this very minute if I was sure I wasn't just a crazy first-time mama of a three-week-old. Is this what baby acne normally looks like?


post #5 of 34
My son had very persistent, worse-than-usual baby acne which didn't clear up until I cut out dairy when he was around 10 weeks old. It wasn't as severe as the pictures posted, but it was pretty bad.
post #6 of 34
Are you on birth control of any kind? With my first, the dr. scared me into taking birth control, and my beautiful skinned baby developed baby acne just like your little one in a couple of days. When I went off the pill, the acne went away. Just a thought.

But if not, I do think it must be something in your diet.

I hope you figure it out
post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 
Okay, so I'm not crazy - either on the "this is a quite bad case" thing, or the notion that dairy could cause it. This makes me feel better. But not really, of course, because ... the poor little thing!

janiecakes - Did you have to cut out all dairy? Including cooked butter and milk, etc.?

MilkbarMom - Not on the pill. I take a children's chewable multivitamin, calcium, probiotics, and fish oil. But nothing else.
post #8 of 34
My baby's skin looked the exact same way up until about week 7. It has now cleared up and he is fine. I would say if he's not showing any signs of fussiness and only has the acne (not a rash) I would just keep an eye on it. It will probably go away within a few weeks Both my boys had severe baby acne but now they have beautiful skin!
post #9 of 34
My babe had severe acne (not quite as bad as yours) as well as a few other things (major diaper rash, green poop, etc.). It all cleared up when I went off dairy.

One thing to keep in mind - acne only makes you feel uncomfortable - it doesn't hurt your baby at all. With my little guy, he had a miserable diaper rash (i.e., it looked like I sat him on a stove burner) in addition to the acne. When I finally figured out dairy as a possibility, I eliminated it completely - anything with any type of dairy in it at all. Pain and discomfort on your baby's part would make me more likely to be strict with removing stuff from my diet. In your case, I would try seriously reducing your dairy, but I wouldn't worry about avoiding the stuff with a bit of butter in it... Just my opinion!

Good luck, mama!
post #10 of 34
DD also had pretty severe baby acne, and I too thought that it might be dairy. However, I cut out all dairy (which was very difficult for my cheese-loving self), and it did nothing. It ended up going away on its own after a couple of months. She still has pretty sensitive skin and I found that unless we use all unscented detergents, unscented lotions/soaps, etc. she still has problems. Not just on her, btw, on me too. No yummy smelling lotions, bubbles, or soap for mama right now. You can always try putting a little bit of breastmilk on it too just to try to clear it up a bit.
post #11 of 34
Originally Posted by ATD_Mom View Post

janiecakes - Did you have to cut out all dairy? Including cooked butter and milk, etc.?
I did - but a lot of mums find they can keep eating the hidden dairy without problems. I think my little guy may be growing out of it now, because I ate a cookie made with butter by accident over the weekend (it was right beside my non-dairy cookies) and so far he hasn't had any reaction. I'm going to try eating some cheese this week and see what happens.

You could always wait a while longer to see if it clears up on its own. If you decide to cut out dairy, it may take a couple of weeks before you see any change in your baby's skin (if dairy turns out to be the culprit).

Good luck and congrats on the new baby!
post #12 of 34
I cut out all obvious dairy at 7 weeks due to DS3 screaming. That got better within days but he still had "baby acne" all over his body - including his legs and feet. The sores weren't as large as your DS's but there was more of them, it was more like a carpet of bumps (more like eczema I think).

At any rate, a few weeks later I cut out all the hidden dairy as well and his rash cleared up and hasn't come back since.

I think cutting out dairy is worth a shot - the worst that can happen is no improvement, right? Remember it takes up to three weeks for dairy to clear out of your system completely.

Good luck!
post #13 of 34
Well, it really does look like just a fairly severe case of baby acne to me. It is reassuring to me to see that his overall skin tone is nice and rosy, and that he is obviously bright eyed and plump, as a baby his age should be. However I must say that if your intuition is saying this is something more than baby acne, then you really should go in to see a doctor.

good luck. And btw, that's a little cutie you have there - congrats!!!
post #14 of 34
My dd had acne like your ds- it came on when she was about 3 weeks old and stayed for 4-6 weeks. It was pretty annoying and I wondered if she'd ever get her perfect skin back, but she did. It went away gradually.

She was also super sensitive to any dairy at all in my bm. She has severe gas issues, so I cut out ALL dairy until she was about 6 months old. She tolerates it fine now. There very well could be a dairy/acne connection here for you. I'd recommend trying to stay away from dairy, even if that means calling on others to cook meals for you, or eating very plainly (i.e. chicken or tofu w/ veggies, etc.)

Don't fre too much--it WILL go away. It just takes awhile. Beautiful babe, btw.
post #15 of 34
I've had to cut out even trace amounts of cow dairy. Goat milk works fine for us though. The acne was the first thing to get my attention, but the symptoms progressed to eczema, rash, fussy, and pink in the poopy dipes. Turns out she can't have any wheat either.
post #16 of 34
My DD (now 4 months old) had really bad baby acne. Her first pimple starting showing up around 2 weeks (it looked similar to your pictures). It started on her face and got worse and worse. It even spread to her shoulders and chest. I suspected something more than baby acne was going on so I took her to the ped around 4 weeks old. He said it was an allergy.

I know you said that your DS was not colicky, but DD was starting to get colicky too (that was around the 3rd and 4th week so maybe you haven't hit it yet). I was already suspecting milk & dairy allergies because my ds was allergic to milk and eggs and his was very colicky, but I didn't think the baby acne was due to allergies. I read a lot about allergy symptoms in babies but never realized that her "baby acne" was a symptom.

It took a week or two, but her face and body did clear up. I had to take all milk and eggs out of my diet, even the hidden ones. I accidently ate some mayo on a sandwich once (it was only like 1 tsp) and she got really colicky for a couple of days.

Good luck & hope it clears up.
post #17 of 34
One other thing I forgot to mention in my post... with most babies it is a protein in the dairy they are sensitive to (not lactose, which is what a lot of people assume). The protein takes 1-1.5 weeks to get out of your system, then another 1-1.5 weeks to get out of theirs. So you have to take it out of your diet for 3 weeks before you can really judge whether it's made a difference or not... it took between 2 and 2.5 weeks for things to work themselves out for us after I stopped eating dairy.
post #18 of 34
My baby's skin was as bad or worse than your baby's until about 6 weeks of age, then it completely cleared up. Now he has days where he'll get a little bit of a rash on his face/neck, but not nearly as bad as it was in the early days. Our doc said it was contact allergy, probably from someone's perfume or laundry detergent on their clothes.
post #19 of 34
My little girl's face looked about like that for three weeks. It started at week three and went to about 5.5 weeks. There was a little bit on her shoulder's too. I didn't cut out anything, but I might have if it persisted.
post #20 of 34
My DD had acne that bad or worse. I didn't change my diet and it did eventually go away, I didn't like it and I have a family history of cystic acne, so I was a little worried, but it did eventually clear. You can try eliminating dairy or other things, and it may help, but it may not either! You be the judge and try it out...
good luck
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