There is nothing as troublesome for a parent as having your baby develop a skin rash. In this article, we will cover some of the common rashes along with some pointers on how to handle the issue.
1. Baby Acne (Neo-natal Acne)
Baby acne is a common symptom among infants. The rashes commonly appear on the cheeks and on the forehead. However, it can also occur on the child’s back, and neck. The rashes look like whiteheads, surrounded by reddish skin.
Baby acne usually develops 2-4 weeks after birth. It is caused by hormonal changes that took place during pregnancy. Therefore, there is little you can do to prevent it. Alternatively, there are steps you can take to speed up the healing process.
- Keep your baby’s face clean using warm water and a mild moisturizer
- Dry the baby’s face gently
- Do not attempt to irritate the acne by scrubbing or pinching as the condition will get worse
- Avoid overdressing the baby as this will irritate the skin further.
- Do not over-wash the baby.
One of the most common home remedies for baby acne is using apple cider vinegar. Use a cotton ball to gently dab the vinegar on the affected areas. Alternatively, it is important to remember that the best treatment is leaving the skin alone to heal on its own.
Although baby acne is unsightly, it usually goes away with time. However, if you are concerned about the condition, or it does not clear up within three months, then consult the baby’s doctor. The main thing to bear in mind is that it will clear-up and it is not contagious.
Eczema can occur in infants shortly after birth, between two to six months after delivery. This condition looks like red blotches on baby’s face. However, the condition can also appear in other places on the baby’s skin, including the back and the joints. Parents or families with a history of eczema are likely to have a baby with the condition, hence the name atopic eczema, meaning the condition was inherited. Eczema can cause itchiness, which is a source of discomfort on the baby.
The treatment of baby’s eczema depends on the severity of the condition. Mothers whose babies exhibit the condition are usually advised to use certain emollient creams or lotions. The creams and ointments are for the purpose of minimizing the itching or easing the symptoms. However, there is currently no miracle cure for eczema.
Managing your baby’s eczema can be a challenge. This is because aside from irritating your baby’s skin, getting the right product that works for your baby can be a challenge. As a consequence, it is advisable to consult your medical practitioner for the best approach to your baby’s eczema. Some people opt for natural remedies such as applying olive oil on the baby’s skin. However, this may not work well with other babies and there is the risk of allergic contact eczema or irritating the skin further.
Your best bet is getting the right emollient (moisturizer) and a topical corticosteroid. Here are a few tips to bear in mind:
- Go for fragrance-free products designed for sensitive skin
- Wash the baby’s laundry with fragrance-free soaps, detergents, and fabric softener.
- Pet hair and dust can exacerbate the condition. Therefore, keep pets away from your child’s room and vacuum often.
- Avoid woolen clothing and opt for cotton clothing.
- Avoid overheating to reduce the itchiness.
- The Department of Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding as a strategy for managing eczema.
When your baby goes to sleep, make sure they are dressed in a cotton made night suit. Cotton fabrics are the best for baby as they do not rub harshly against the skin. Also, the material permits aeration of the skin thereby keeping the baby cool.
According to Parents.com, applying a fragrance-free eczema cream is one of the best ways for managing eczema. The most common brands include Aveeno, CeraVe Baby Moisturizing lotion, Vanicream moisturizing cream, Aquaphor by Eurecin. Feel free to share the products that have worked for you and your baby in our comments section for our readers.
Chickenpox is a highly contagious condition that is triggered by a virus known as varicella-zoster. The telltale signs of the condition include red spots that develop into blisters. The condition starts with a fever, loss of appetite, and fatigue. Rashes begin to appear a day or two after the symptoms. The rashes appear like red dots. These dots may clump together giving the appearance of tiny pimples. Once the rash erupts, the skin progresses to the development of blisters. Chickenpox usually last 4-7 days. The last stage of the condition is the formation of scabs after the blisters. The scabs fall off after one or two weeks exposing freshly healed skin.
Chickenpox is relatively rare in the U.S due to the widely available vaccination. However, considering that the condition is contagious, there is a possibility of the baby getting infected. The good news is that chickenpox usually goes away on its own. Your job, therefore, is to soothe and reassure the baby. You can do this by giving the baby a cool bath after every three to four hours. Sprinkle some baking soda, or colloidal oatmeal into the water to help relieve the skin.
The best preventive strategy for chickenpox is to get the baby vaccinated. Alternatively, if you suspect that your child has chickenpox, then consult your baby’s doctor for the best way to handle the condition. Some mothers have tried Tylenol and oatmeal baths. Whereas these attempts have worked for some, nothing seems to work.
4. White Spots (Milia); Milk Spots
Milia is another common form of baby rash. This tiny white bumps usually occur on the baby’s face, including the nose, cheeks, or chin. The rash may also occur in other areas such as the limbs, and upper trunk. Milia usually disappears without treatment. These rashes occur due to blockage of the sebaceous glands probably by tiny skin flakes. If the milia does not clear up in a few weeks or months, then it is advisable to seek medical attention.
5. Heat Rashes/Prickly Heat/ Miliaria
Baby heat rash is another common type of skin rashes in babies. These rashes appear as little raised spots or tiny red bumps on the skin. The rash occurs in clothed parts of the body such as the armpits, groin area, and abdomen. As the name suggests, the common cause of the rashes is heat. The baby’s skin tries to respond to the heat by sweating but cannot, resulting in irritation and redness.
Treatment of baby skin rash includes:
- Avoid overheating the baby through overdressing
- Make adjustments to the baby’s room temperature. Cool the room during summer, and do not overheat the room during winter
- Dress the baby in loose fitting clothes, especially clothes made from cotton fabric
- Keep the skin dry. Pay attention to areas that are likely to get moist, such as the neck and the crotch area.
6. Nappy Rash
Nappy rash is a common condition in which the baby develops red blotches on the diaper area. The rashes may appear around the whole nappy area or may affect certain parts covered by the nappy, for example, the genitals, or the buttocks.
Nappy rash is caused by a combination of factors. A combination of wetness, friction, and heat generated inside the diaper area may trigger the rash. Alternatively, the rash may be caused by medication, certain creams and washing powders, or disposable nappy liners. If the child is experiencing viral diarrhea, or you have introduced a new food in the baby’s diet, then you are likely to notice a nappy rash.
Nappy rash can also be as a result of an allergy to a certain product. For instance, the child may be allergic to a certain brand or nappy, or perfumed baby wipes.
Nappy rash can vary from moderate to severe. In severe cases, the skin becomes damaged leading to a fungal/yeast infection, or candida. Most nappy rashes develop into a fungal infection together with the original rash within 70 hours if proper treatment or remedy is not administered.
If the nappy rash is mild, then you should:
- Change the nappy often. For instance, as soon as the baby has soiled the nappy.
- Go for good quality brands with high-absorbency. This will ensure the skin remains dry.
- When changing the nappy, clear the diaper area using clean water and cotton wool.
- Go for unscented baby wipes.
- Give your baby some nappy free time to allow the skin to breathe
- Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly (unscented), on the baby or any other barrier ointment to protect the skin.
- Do not bathe the baby too much if they have a nappy rash. A simple bath twice a day will suffice.
If you suspect that the nappy rash was triggered by a certain brand or product, then discontinue use. Proper care of the baby will ensure that the rash clears up in a couple of days. However, if the rash is getting worse, or the baby is restless, consult a pediatrician.
It is advisable to consult a pediatrician to get a proper diagnosis of the skin rash. Some rashes can be benign, whereas others can be an indication of a more serious issue, for instance, a fungal rash or infection. Once you have a proper diagnosis, then you can work closely with your healthcare practitioner to determine the best approach to treatment.
- Rachel Waddilove. The Baby Book: How to Enjoy Year One, Lion Books, 2006