Worried about the rashes on your baby’s face? Here are some of the common newborn skin conditions to watch out for.
As a parent, you can literally stare at your newborn baby’s face for hours in a day. So looking at her gentle face up close, you may notice tiny details that may bring you to worry. For instance, the redness or tiny bumps on her cheeks.
A lot of pediatricians would agree that rashes and skin conditions are one of the most common concerns of parents during their baby’s check-up.
However, in the newborn phase, many types of skin conditions in babies aren’t indicative of any serious conditions. If your baby’s rash isn’t accompanied by other symptoms, then it would be best to simply observe it for a day or two.
But if a rash appears along with alarming symptoms, such as high fever and difficulty in breathing, then that’s when you should be concerned.
Remember: It’s also best to bring your child to the doctor instead of describing it on the phone or sending photos of it online, as the doctor can best diagnose it up close. Questions you should be prepared to answer are: How long has the rash been there? How widespread is it? Is it itchy?
Let’s take a closer look at the various types of newborn skin conditions and the possible ways to treat them.
Most mothers are well-known that baby rashes do not entirely mean any serious health issues. But sometimes, rashes on a baby’s face or neck may indicate a more serious condition.
Rashes may include causes like eczema, acne, and infection. It is hard to believe that a baby’s rash is not at all alarming. But it is.
A simple knowledge to determine the difference between every baby’s rash can help mommies if they need to seek a doctor’s help.
Causes of baby’s rash
Newborn babies have very young and new skin. Their immune system is still underdeveloped.
Because of this, the baby’s skin is very sensitive and is prone to sources of irritation and infection, including rashes.
Causes of rashes include:
- Hot temperature
- Allergic reaction
- Friction (on the skin)
- Inappropriate fabrics
Rashes also come in different causes, so different body parts could be affected like:
- Bottom and diaper area
- Skin folds (like armpit)
Types of baby’s rash and how to treat them
1. Rash on cheeks with high temperature
Noticing rashes on both cheeks of your baby with a high temperature, runny nose, sore throat, and headache could be a slapped cheek syndrome.
Usually, it can be remedied in the comfort of your home.
What to do for a remedy:
- Let your baby take a rest.
- Let your baby feed and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
- Give your baby prescribed paracetamol if there is.
- Use a recommended moisturizer for baby’s skin
2. Hand, foot, and mouth disease
Signs and symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease are:
- Sore throat
- High body temperature
- Disrupted eating or feeding
After some days, mouth ulcers can be seen. These ulcers usually appear on the mouth and tongue of your baby.
It causes pain that results in difficulty swallowing and chewing, even drinking.
Raised spots then appear in your baby’s hands and feet. Spots could also appear on their thighs and bottom. These raised spots look pinkish, reddish, or darker than the surrounding skin.
The spots will turn into blisters and can be painful.
What to do for a remedy:
- Let your baby drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Fruity and acidic drinks are not included.
- Give your baby prescribed paracetamol if there is.
- Let your baby (3 months old and up) eat soft foods.
Other newborn skin conditions may have been connected with the baby’s rash that appears on their face and neck.
Newborn skin conditions
Neonatal acne or baby acne is a newborn skin condition that appears as tiny red or white bumps on your baby’s face. It is usually seen in infants from 2 to 4 weeks after birth but clears up on its own at after a month or two.
While there’s no exact cause for this, some believe that it can be related to exposure in the womb to maternal hormones.
What to put on baby acne? Some people believe in dabbing some drops of breast milk into the affected area to treat it. But Dr. Ruth Alejandro, a pediatrician from the Makati Medical Center, doesn’t really recommend it.
“If the condition is not severe, I don’t recommend putting anything on baby’s face. They say that breast milk has antibacterial properties. But I think (putting breast milk on baby’s face) is just an old wives’ tale,” she said.
As mentioned, this newborn skin condition usually goes away on its own. So unless advised by your child’s pediatrician, don’t put any products or medication on your baby’s face because it may do more harm than good. Picking on baby acne may also cause infections so resist the urge to touch them.
Have you ever spotted acne-like white bumps on your newborn’s cheeks, nose, or chin? This is most likely milia, which are skin bumps caused by dead skin clogging the skin surface.
What’s the difference between baby acne and milia? Dr. Ruth Alejandro sheds light on how to tell the two apart:
“They are both tiny rashes that appear on your baby’s skin. You can tell when it’s baby acne because you’ll notice that these are tiny red bumps, sometimes with pus in the middle.
Meanwhile, milia presents itself as tiny white bumps or whiteheads on baby’s face. These are usually cause by the blockage of forces in baby’s skin. You can notice that it’s prominent on the face or nose.
For both of these conditions, treatment is not needed as they disappear on their own,” she said in Filipino.
As Dr. Alejandro mentioned, just like acne, milia in a baby’s skin doesn’t need to be treated and usually resolves on its own.
To avoid this newborn skin condition from getting worse, remember to use a gentle soap when washing your baby’s face, and avoid hard scrubbing or using lotions.
This skin condition appears as red rashes, which can be itchy and painful. Eczema is often observed on a baby’s forehead, scalp, or cheeks and is commonly seen in babies under 6 months old. It may also appear on the baby’s face and neck.
According to Dr. Barbara Marcelo, a dermatologist from Quezon City, the common cause of eczema is genetics. It means that if a baby’s parents have eczema, there’s a big possibility that the child can have it as well.
Eczema can persist even after your baby turns a year old, spreading to the knees, elbows, and skin creases, but can still clear up on its own. This condition worsens due to accidental contact with an allergen or irritant, as well as saliva.
Dr. Marcelo pointed out that since eczema is a chronic condition, there is no treatment that can eliminate it altogether. However, you can prevent the flare-ups when it happens.
“As to treatment, like any chronic condition, you can just prevent or control the flares. The periods where the skin is acting up, but it will not really go away so there’s no treatment, really,” she said.
“But the mainstay in treating atopic dermatitis is preventing the skin from drying out,” she added.
You can manage your baby’s symptoms by bathing them using a gentle soap for only 5 to 10 minutes and applying moisturizer (thick cream or ointment) twice a day.
Ask your child’s pediatrician for the best ointment to use on baby’s skin. To avoid exacerbating eczema, use fragrance-free products like baby wash, shampoo and laundry detergent when washing your baby’s clothes.
This newborn skin condition commonly seen in babies aged two to three months results in crusty, scaly, yellowish skin patches with surrounding redness. These patches can also be found on a baby’s ears, armpits, or neck.
Dr. Alejandro explained what a cradle cap is and what usually causes it.
“30% of babies get dandruff, and the scientific term for that is seborrheic dermatitis. It occurs because in pregnancy, the hormones from the mother is passed to the baby in the womb through the placenta. This is why all the skin manifestation gets passed down to the newborn.”
Like other newborn skin conditions, cradle cap usually disappears after a few weeks even without treatment and it isn’t really a cause for concern. Definitely don’t pick at it or scratch it because the bacteria from your fingernails can cause an infection on a baby’s skin.
However, if symptoms persist after 6 months and it gets thicker due to sebum buildup, Dr. Alejandro recommends putting baby oil on the baby’s scalp and leaving it there for 30 minutes. Then you can gently brush it off using a soft brush before giving the baby a bath.
To control cradle cap and prevent oil buildup, wash your baby’s hair and scalp regularly using a mild shampoo. Use a soft hair brush and baby oil to make brushing easier.
This newborn skin condition occurs when sweat is locked into the skin by blocked pores because of hot or humid weather. In cases of heat rash, red fluid-filled blisters sprout up on the chest, armpits, shoulders, neck, or groin.
If it doesn’t go away within a few days or appears to be infected, bring your child to her pediatrician ASAP.
To avoid heat rash on your baby, choose loose, cotton clothing, especially during hot months. Experts believe one layer of clothing is enough to keep a baby warm in tropical countries like ours.
Similarly, diaper rash, which is caused by long-term dampness and contact with feces and urine, can be avoided by the frequent diaper changing and by making sure you wipe the baby’s buttocks dry when changing her diapers.
Also called Congenital Melanocytosis, this skin condition describes a birthmark that is bluish-gray in color. It normally appears after birth in the butt, shoulder, or lower back of a baby. They’re most common in babies of African, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, or Asian descent.
Rest assured that they’re harmless and do not require any treatment. They also fade on their own after a few years.
Baby’s rash remedy and treatment
Treating baby acne
This can be treated by taking care of your baby’s skin every day.
- Wash the baby’s face and skin gently with lukewarm water
- Do not scrub the affected area because it might cause irritation
- Avoid greasy and oily skincare products. Better ask your doctor for help.
Let your baby’s milia clear up on its own after a few weeks when the pores open up. Just bathe your baby every day.
Do not use any ointments as this will only prolong the opening of pores.
Even if eczema’s exact cause is unidentifiable, doctors believe that it is more likely genetic.
Avoiding the triggers may stop the severity of eczema. These triggers are the following:
- Hot temperature and sweating
- Dry skin
- Irritants like soap, washing detergents, and cigarette smoke
- Allergens like dust mites and pollen
- Fabrics such as wool and nylon
To lessen the severity of eczema, these are the remedies for your baby:
- Over-the-counter moisturizer products
- Prescription ointments and cream
- Immunosuppressive medicines
Consult your doctor and a pediatric dermatologist for a better way of treating your baby’s eczema.
Treating cradle cap
This condition and rash are harmless and may go away in your baby’s 6ht to 12th months. If the baby does not feel any discomfort, there is no need for treatment.
For babies with mild symptoms, using antifungal creams and medicated shampoo may help in relieving discomfort and pushes quick healing.
Ask your doctor first before using over-the-counter products.
If your baby has the severe symptoms of cradle cap, your doctor would prescribe a topical steroids to lessen inflammation.
A severe type of this condition may increase infection. See the doctor when your baby’s skin:
- Feels hot
- Secretes fluid
- Gives off an unpleasant smell
When to worry
While most of these newborn skin conditions are not serious, a few need very close attention. According to WebMD, Consult your child’s pediatrician right away if you notice the following:
- Fluid-filled blisters (especially ones with opaque, yellowish fluid) can indicate a serious infection, like a bacterial infection or herpes.
- Small red or purplish dots over the body (”petechiae”) that do not lighten with pressure can be caused by a viral infection or a potentially very serious bacterial infection. Any baby with possible petechiae should be evaluated by a doctor immediately.
If you have any concerns about your baby’s skin, don’t hesitate to consult your child’s pediatrician.
When to see a doctor
Baby’s rash on their faces and necks are usually harmless. But it may also indicate problematic health conditions.
Seek your doctor’s help if your baby’s rash gets severe, or if:
- When your baby has fluid-filled blisters
- Your baby has a fever
- When your baby has disrupted eating
- Your baby has extended streaks from the rash
- When your baby’s lymph nodes are swollen
- Your baby has tiny red or purples spots that do not fade when pinched
- When your baby coughs often
Remember, always be alert to the signs and symptoms your baby’s rash presents. Look for other signs in your baby’s face, neck, body, thighs, skinfolds, and feet to make sure.
Seeking a doctor and a pediatric dermatologist would be better prevention of the underlying conditions your baby’s rash indicates.
Additional information by Camille Eusebio and Nathanielle Torre
Healthline, Parents.com, MedlinePlus.com, NHS, Medical News Today
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