Human skin provides a waterproof barrier that regulates body temperature, protects us from the elements, and permits the sensation of touch, heat and cold. Newborn skin is delicate and susceptible to developing various rashes on different parts of the body. Most rashes on your bub are harmless and go away on their own, but if rashes are associated with fever, irritability, lethargy, and/or poor feeding, seek professional child health advice to identify any underlying cause. Here’s some advice on common baby skin issues and how you can curb it by a private skin specialist.
Common Baby Rashes
Five of the most common rashes your littlie can develop are cradle cap, nappy rash, milia, eczema and heat rash. These five rashes look slightly different from each other, are found on different parts of the body, and arrive and disappear at different times.
1. Cradle Cap
This is a thick, yellow, oily crust that appears on bub’s scalp and eyebrows and usually occurs before three months of age. Cradle cap is unsightly, but not serious or contagious. The crusts form as natural body oils get caught in dead skin cells that are shedding from bub’s scalp.
The oily scales can be carefully removed, by first softening them with natural products such as organic coconut oil or breast milk. High-grade (purified) petroleum jelly and baby oil are suitable options to use if natural, and nourishing products are not readily available.
Fix it: Leave softening product on the scalp for a few hours or overnight before washing area with a mild shampoo. Comb out scales using a soft brush, toothbrush, or nit comb then rough up scalp with a wet washer. Repeat the process as often as scales continue to appear.
2. Nappy Rash
This happens when the skin under your bub’s nappy becomes red, blotchy and inflamed. Skin wipes, washing detergents containing preservatives, fragrances, stale wee and poo, and other chemicals are harsh on delicate skin. When skin becomes damaged and broken it fails to act as a protective barrier and leaves the area vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections. Therefore, preventing nappy rash is your main aim.
Fix it: Regularly wipe away poo or wee with warm water and a soft cloth. If skin is badly damaged, hold bub over the bath and splash warm water on the affected area. If nappy rash continues and red blotches are spreading, a secondary infection has probably developed, which needs a medicated ointment applied under the barrier product.
These are tiny white cysts below the skin that are formed when keratin (natural protein) is trapped behind oil glands (skin structures that secrete oil).
Typically, the bumps are seen on the nose, cheeks and upper torso a few days after birth and are not painful or itchy. Milia spots usually disappear within a few weeks once bub’s oil glands mature and expand. Milia can be confused with baby acne, which are small red bumps on the nose, cheeks and forehead that appear a few weeks after birth and last three to four months.
Fix it: No treatments are required for either rash but avoid lotions or fragrant products as these can dry and further aggravate sensitive skin.
The eczema rash, on infant skin, tends to be red and weepy and appears during the first six months. The rash mostly appears on the face and scalp of newborns but as bub gets older the rash forms behind the knees, elbows and wrists. Eczema often needs long-term management, and teething, viral infections, chemicals, and
a change in the environment can flare rashes.
Fix it: Protect bub’s skin as much as possible by applying non-perfumed, non-plant extract moisturisers two to three times a day; wash clothes and linen in mild detergent.
5. Heat Rash
Also known as prickly heat, this consists of small red bumps that occur when sweat becomes trapped under blocked pores in the skin.
Fix it: Help cool these areas by dressing bub in clothing made from natural fibres, as polyester traps heat. Remove the waterproof cover from her mattress and keep the cot sides clear of bumpers to allow good airflow. Avoid bub spending long periods of time in car seats or strollers as these have poor air flow and trap heat.