It can be alarming when you see a rash, blemish or dry patch on your baby’s skin, but don?t panic. A skin problem can be completely normal and nothing to worry about. It can however be a symptom of a more serious illness, so it can be a good idea to familiarize yourself with typical skin problems in babies.
Always contact a doctor if you are at all concerned about a rash or other problem with your baby’s skin. Take action quickly if your baby develops a rash that does not fade under pressure (run a glass over your baby’s skin and see if the rash fades) as this is a sign of meningitis and you should have your baby seen by a doctor as a matter of urgency.
Common Baby Skin Problems
Milia ? tiny white spots, usually on the face, occur often in newborns. These are simply blocked oil glands and will go away on their own.
Nappy Rash ? inflammation and redness, often very sore, in the nappy area can be caused by contact with moisture. A nappy is an airless place, and it is only natural that baby’s delicate skin can sometimes suffer. Change nappies as soon as required, use a good nappy cream and always dry baby’s bottom well before putting a fresh nappy on. Let baby have time without a nappy on (watch out for little spills!) and if the skin becomes very inflamed or broken, you can get stronger cream from your doctor.
Eczema ? this is a dry skin condition that many babies grow out of. It causes patches of dry, inflamed skin which can become very rough and painful. A doctor can prescribe cream to apply topically and emollient for use in baby’s bath. Eczema can be caused by irritants your baby is in contact with, so choosing a gentle non-bio washing detergent and looking out for triggers in the food you eat if you are breastfeeding can help you to prevent outbreaks. If you think a patch of eczema is infected, contact your doctor.
Prickly Heat ? heat rash is common in babies and it can look alarming. Prickly heat usually looks like red pinpricks or blisters on the body and can occur anywhere. It is caused by heat and occurs mostly in summer months when baby sweats. Adults can get prickly heat just as often as babies so you may recognise the rash, and it disappears quickly.
Baby Acne ? these are little spots or pimples which form over baby’s face. This might look bad but it usually fades before baby is more than 6 weeks old.
Cradle cap ? this is usually found on the head but can be found elsewhere on the body too. Cradle cap looks like scaly, flaky dry patches, sometimes yellowish and crusty. This will go away by itself but you can help by washing baby’s hair regularly and brushing it gently with a soft brush; there are shampoos developed to deal specifically with cradle cap.
When Baby is Unwell
If your baby is unwell, has a fever or other symptoms such as stomach upset accompanying a rash, then it is best to see your doctor. Common illnesses that cause rashes include measles, chicken pox, roseola and rubella. There are many illnesses that are unlikely to affect a young baby that cause rashes; illnesses such as fifth disease (slapped cheek) but if you suspect your child has a particular illness, even if you believe them to be too young, you should get a health professional’s opinion. If in doubt, have it checked out.