22 Apr 2021
Babies are usually born with soft skin with no rashes. Rashes in the newborn period are common and many times improve on their own.
Cradle cap looks like dry, yellow, greasy patches on a baby’s scalp. It is likely caused by maternal hormones crossing the placenta before birth. These hormones cause the oil grands of the baby to produce more oil than normal. Cradle cap is not painful or itchy. It usually clears within a few months. What you can do to help it clear is that you can wash the baby’s hair with mild shampoo and loosen the scales with a small, soft brush. For stubborn scales, rub a greasy ointment or baby oil onto your baby’s scalp, wait a few minutes, and then brush and shampoo your baby’s hair. If cradle cap persists or gets worse, ask your doctor about other treatment options.
Bright red skin on your baby’s bottom is probably diaper rash. It is typically caused by occlusion and prolonged contact with urine or stool. Sometimes a secondary, superficial infection can result from bacteria on the irritated skin. To prevent and treat diaper rash, make sure you change nappies often to prevent skin contact with stool. Clean the bottom and skin folds with cotton wool and avoid baby wipes as they can sometimes irritate. Try and air out your baby’s bottom throughout the day. Apply a diaper skin barrier cream or ointment at each diaper change. You should see an improvement within a few days. You should see a doctor if the rash doesn’t improve or begins to blister.
Almost 1 in 2 babies are born with milia — tiny white bumps that appear on the nose, chin or cheeks. They are also known as milk spots. They are caused by dead skin cells trapped under the skin which form bumps. They can appear on the eyelids, forehead or cheeks and around the nose. Milia disappear within a few weeks without treatment. In the meantime, wash your baby’s face once a day with water and a gentle soap and pat the skin to dry it.
Baby acne appears as red or white bumps on a baby’s forehead or cheeks. The condition often develops within the first month after birth, perhaps due to exposure to maternal hormones during pregnancy. Baby acne usually disappears on its own within a few months. In the meantime, wash your baby’s face once a day with water and a mild soap. Consult your baby’s doctor if the acne doesn’t improve within a few months or you’d like to discuss other treatment options.
Baby eczema is characterised by patches of dry, scaly and itchy skin. It can sometimes be confused for seborrheic dermatitis, a benign, self-resolving red, scaly rash which is not itchy. Occasionally the patches ooze and crust over. Many babies outgrow eczema. To treat baby eczema, bathe your baby with a soap-free wash and pat dry afterwards. After bath use a good amount of an unscented moisturising ointment or cream. Sometimes a mild topical steroid may be needed. If the eczema is difficult to manage or you are concerned about cow’s milk allergy you should see a doctor to advise you.
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