Here is Simple Tips to Keep Baby’s Skin Healthy. Babies develop a myriad of skin conditions during the first few months of life. These include cradle cap, diaper rash, toxic erythema, milia, infantile acne, and others. Some are caused by normal hormonal changes or immature pores, while others are caused by inflammation or, rarely, an infection. Here is Simple Tips to Keep Baby’s Skin Healthy.

Newborns Get Rashes Easily

Because most newborn’s rashes are “normal”, there is generally no treatment needed except for patience. It’s important to ask the doctor for some guidance about what to expect when it comes to rashes and which require some additional treatment.

How to Avoid Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is often caused by irritation to the skin due to contact with urine, stool, and detergent. Sometimes it can be caused by yeast infections, bacterial infections, or even due to an allergy to diaper material. In general, most diaper rashes can be prevented by changing diapers when they are wet or soiled and allowing the diaper area to dry between changes. Using a topical barrier cream or ointment such as zinc oxide or A&D ointment can help.

Baby’s Skin Acne

Acne neonatorum also called neonatal or baby acne is caused by maternal hormones. The same hormones (estrogens) are involved in causing acne in adolescents. The big difference is that this will resolve on its own within a couple of weeks, and no treatment is needed.

Erythema Toxicum Neonatorum

Erythema toxicum neonatorum is the most common pustular (fluid-filled) eruption in newborns. More than half of all newborns develop this rash usually within two to three days after birth. Generally, the rash appears on the face or extremities and initially as a red raised eruption. Then they develop into a pustule with a “blotchy” appearance. The cause is unknown, however the lesions fade after a week, and there is no treatment needed. Sometimes this is confused with more serious infections of the skin. If there is fever associated with the eruption, further evaluation is needed.


Birthmarks can be found in 5%-10% of all babies. Most of these are common nevi (areas of skin discoloration) and need no further evaluation. Birthmarks are generally divided into three groups: pigmented, vascular, and anatomic. Some birthmarks develop over time, and some are present at birth. Always talk to a pediatrician about any concerns about birthmarks.

Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a pruritic (itchy) rash that occurs in response to a specific exposure or allergy. It is generally seen in children over 3 months of age and appears most commonly on the scalp, face, trunk, extremities (elbows and knees), and even in the diaper area. Treatment is focused on avoiding the trigger and then allowing the skin to “heal.” This may include using moisturizers and even topical steroids.

Newborn’s Dry Skin

Newborns often have very dry peeling skin in the initial period after birth. This is due to the fact that the infant has existed in a fluid environment for several months, and after birth, the skin cells start to regenerate, which results in the peeling of the old skin cells. There is no need to do anything since this will resolve on its own.

Cradle Cap

Cradle cap, also called seborrheic dermatitis, is a very common rash seen in newborns. The rash, usually seen in the first month of life, starts on the scalp and has a red, waxy, and scaly appearance. Sometimes the rash can extend to the face and neck. It is not generally itchy, and although it will resolve on its own, the treatment may include a special shampoo, petroleum jelly, and even a topical steroid.

Prickly Heat Skin Irritation

Prickly heat is also known as miliaria rubra. It is due to a sweat gland dysfunction. The rash appears on the neck, diaper area, armpits, and any skinfolds most likely to be prone to increased sweating. The rash may itch as well. Keep the infant cool (in the summer and winter) and it’s likely the baby will avoid this reaction. In most cases, prickly heat resolves within a couple of days, but speak to a pediatrician about other options if it persists.

Baby’s Skin Doesn’t Need Powder

Although “baby powder” seems like an important item to have for an infant, it is generally not needed. Regardless of that, it is extremely important to avoid talc-containing powder, since there is a risk for accidental inhalation and subsequent lung problems.

White Bumps (Milia) on Baby’s Skin

Milia occur in 50% of newborns. These appear as small white papules and are caused by poorly functioning newborn skin. Milia are generally seen on the forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin, but they can be seen elsewhere. Leave them alone, as they will disappear on their own within a month without any treatment.

Baby Yeast Infections

Oral thrush is caused by a yeast infection in the mouth. It appears on the tongue and gums and is bright red with white plaques (looks like dried milk curds). It is a common infection in infancy and may be brought on by poor oral hygiene, antibiotic usage, or other immune problems. In babies, it is most often associated with either antibiotic usage or poor oral hygiene. The doctor may need to prescribe an antifungal medication such as nystatin (Mycostatin, Nilstat, Nystex).

Laundry Tips for Baby’s Skin

Babies can be very sensitive to perfumes and harsh detergents. Use a gentle unscented detergent when washing infant’s clothes and bedding. Doing so will help prevent allergies or sensitivities.

Yellow Skin May Be a Sign of Jaundice

Jaundice, also called hyperbilirubinemia, is commonly seen within a few days of birth. It appears as a yellowing of the skin, mucous membranes, and eyes. Oftentimes it is caused by a normal breakdown of red blood cells which releases bilirubin (hence the name hyperbilirubinemia). Most commonly the condition resolves on its own, but occasionally when the jaundice is severe, treatment may be required. Always speak to the pediatrician about any concerns.

Baby’s Skin and Sunburn

Babies don’t benefit from a tan! An infant’s and child’s skin is very sensitive and can easily burn from sun exposure, causing real and even permanent damage. If the baby is going to be outdoors, it is important to avoid direct sunlight. Sunscreen is not recommended for infants under 6 months of age, so use a hat, umbrella, or other protection whenever possible. For infants over 6 months of age, always apply sunscreen as well. If it’s suspected that the infant has a sunburn, call the pediatrician for advice.

Skin-Care Products for Baby

Most skin-care products should not be used on very young infants because of the risk of exposure to active chemicals, which may be absorbed at higher rates in the thinner, less developed skin of infants. Avoid products with dyes and fragrances, since these may result in allergic reactions. Always discuss with the pediatrician which products can be used on infants.

Bath-Time Skin Care

Bathing an infant can be a gratifying and enjoyable experience for both the parent and child. Remember, however, that an infant’s skin is very sensitive so try not to “scrub” too hard. Never leave an infant unattended in any amount of water, since drowning is a real risk.

Massage for Baby

A number of recent studies suggest that gentle massage can improve an infant’s sleep and decrease stress. It also is a great way to bond with an infant. Try not to massage too vigorously after feeding, since it might cause the baby to spit up.

Know When to Seek a Pediatrician

Most skin rashes in babies are not serious and require little to no treatment. There are some rashes which may require further evaluation. Any fever associated with a rash requires an evaluation by a physician. Rashes which involve blisters or other fluid-filled bumps (pustules, vesicles) may also need to be evaluated. In general, never hesitate to contact the pediatrician with concerns.

11 Causes of Common Children and Baby’s Skin Rashes

Wearing sunscreen is necessary to guard against damaging UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Excess sun exposure and sunburns increase the risk of skin cancer, including potentially deadly melanoma. However, sunscreen may cause a skin rash in those who have sensitive skin. Steer clear of sunscreens that contain para-amniobenzoic acid (PABA), an ingredient that may trigger a skin rash in sensitive individuals when exposed to the sun. Apply broad spectrum sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher before going into the sun. It is not advised to put sunscreen on babies under the age of 6 months old. Ask your child’s pediatrician how to protect your young infant from the sun.

Exposure to the sun and heat may also cause heat rash (prickly heat or miliaria), which looks like a cluster of small blisters or red bumps. Prickly heat rash resolves by itself with a few days to a few weeks. If your child develops a mole that changes shape, color, or size, seek medical attention. Itching is another symptom that is cause for concern. Sun exposure may also trigger a skin condition called granuloma annulare. Symptoms of this condition include raised red or skin-colored bumps that are in ring patterns on the hands and feet.

Potential Dangers of Triclosan

Triclosan is an ingredient found in some antibacterial soaps, toothpastes, body washes, and some cosmetics. It may cause a contact dermatitis rash in some kids who have sensitive skin. Authorities are concerned that use of triclosan may contribute to an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Short-term use of triclosan is associated with decreased thyroid hormone levels in animal studies. It is not known if triclosan has the same effect in humans. Ongoing studies are investigating the safety of long-term use of triclosan. If the chemical is an irritant and causes rashes for your child, encourage hand washing with plain soap and water.

Lotion May Trigger Eczema

Lotions may contain fragrance, phthalates, parabens, and other ingredients that may trigger eczema, a condition that causes red, inflamed skin. Another name for eczema is atopic dermatitis. Besides redness, other eczema symptoms include itching, dryness, bumps, peeling, flakiness, and fissures. If your child suffers from dry, itchy skin, steer clear of moisturizers that have irritating ingredients. If your baby or child has eczema, bathe with mild soap. Be especially careful when toweling off. Pat skin dry. Do not rub. Ask your child’s pediatrician for recommendations about moisturizers that are safe for babies and children who have eczema. Some moisturizers may help minimize scaly skin, itching, and other common symptoms associated with the skin condition. If your child’s skin often breaks and oozes, it may lead to an infection. Talk to your child’s pediatrician. Some doctors recommend over-the-counter hydrocortisone to treat mild eczema and relieve itching.

All about Wipes and Washcloths

Baby wipes may contain ingredients that can irritate baby’s skin and contribute to skin rashes. Alcohol, fragrances, and preservatives in baby wipes may trigger contact dermatitis. The symptoms may include red, itchy skin, dry skin, hives, blisters, burning, and stinging. Ditch the baby wipes and use wet washcloths to clean baby instead. If you are traveling or on the go, pack wet washcloths in a resealable plastic bag. Chemical sensitivity to baby wipes may lead to diaper rash, which appears as a red rash on the buttocks. Peeling, blisters, and pimples may also be signs of a diaper rash. Some pediatricians recommend the use of hydrocortisone cream to ease this type of rash. Talk to your baby’s pediatrician if diaper rash is a continuous issue. Recurrent rashes may lead to an infection.

Treatment for diaper rash center’s around exposing your baby’s bottom to air, frequent diaper changes, and using creams to soothe irritated skin.

Laundry Detergent and Rashes

Some laundry detergents contain chemicals that trigger contact dermatitis. This is a rash that occurs when something that irritates the skin touches it. Babies and children who have eczema may be more likely to get contact dermatitis than those without this skin condition. Wash your child’s clothes using laundry detergent that does not contain perfumes and dyes. Look for hypoallergenic laundry detergent. Run the clothing, bedding, and towels through multiple rinse cycles to remove all traces of laundry detergent before placing items into the dryer. Ask your dermatologist for a recommendation about what kind of laundry detergent to use if you or your child get dermatitis from these products.

What about Shampoo and Conditioner?

Shampoo and conditioners may contain ingredients that can irritate skin on the scalp and lead to a rash. Fragrance is a potentially offending agent, so are chemicals like formaldehyde, phthalates, and 1,4 dioxane. If your child develops contact dermatitis after using a certain shampoo or conditioner, switch to natural unscented products that have the least amount of ingredients. Minimizing your child’s exposure to chemicals and fragrances in shampoo and conditioner may help reduce or eliminate red skin, rashes, irritation, and urticaria (itching) on the scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis is a scaly rash that occurs on the scalp. It makes the scalp red. Special shampoos may help keep this type of skin condition under control.

Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softener

Fabric softener and dryer sheets contain chemicals and fragrances that can irritate sensitive skin. If you notice itchy, red patches on your baby’s skin after using dryer sheets or fabric softener, they may be to blame for the skin irritation. They may also irritate the eyes, skin, and nose. They may even lead to a sore throat. Keep clothes soft and avoid harsh chemicals that can irritate skin by adding 1/2 cup of vinegar or 1/2 cup of baking soda to the washer during the rinse cycle. If dryer sheets and fabric softener make your skin red, switch to nontoxic dryer balls instead to soften clothes and ease your symptoms.

Irritating Cleaning Products

Just because a product is labeled nontoxic does not mean that it truly is nontoxic. Certain chemicals in cleaning products, like ammonia, may cause lung and skin irritation. It is poisonous if swallowed. Another type of chemical in some disinfectants and detergents, alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), may disrupt hormone function. To be safe, clean with baking soda and water or vinegar. If you do use commercial cleaning products, choose ones that have the least amount of added chemicals. If your skin looks red after contact with certain cleaning products, they may be to blame.

Ingredients in Soap

Soap may contain ingredients that cause dry skin, a skin rash, or red skin. Even soap that is formulated for babies may contain harmful ingredients like formaldehyde that may irritate the eyes, lungs, and skin. Soap is also a common trigger for eczema. Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is one of the most common rashes in babies and young children. Infants and children who have allergies or asthma are at an increased risk of developing eczema compared to babies and children who do not have these conditions. Look for mild soap that will not make your child’s skin red (erythema) and produce a rash. Ask your pediatrician for recommendations.

See your doctor if your child develops any unusual rash. Several conditions may cause rashes in children including chicken pox, pityriasis rosea, fifth disease, impetigo, psoriasis, ringworm, roseola, and many more. Lyme disease produces a distinctive bullseye rash in people who are infected.

Avoid Sunscreen with DEET

Do not use sunscreens that have the insect repellent DEET in them. Ingredients in commercial sunscreens enhance the absorption of DEET into the skin. DEET also makes sunscreen less effective. Experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend using insect repellents that have 10% to 30% of DEET on children older than 2 months of age. The lower the percentage of DEET that is in a product, the less time it is effective. Read the label on your product. Parents should not use DEET on babies younger than 2 months of age.

Do Not Bring Pesticides Inside

Toddlers, babies, and children spend a lot of time outside crawling and playing on the ground. Small children pick up pesticides and other pollutants on the ground and can track them inside. If kids touch the ground outside or floors inside and then put their hands in their mouths, they ingest pesticide and other chemicals. Keep your home clean and use nontoxic products to mop floors and clean and disinfect hard surfaces like countertops in the bathroom and kitchen.

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