Your baby’s skin is sensitive and fragile, and rashes are quite common in newborns. Many parents are surprised to see that their newborn’s skin is not as clear as they would have expected. Do not worry, most of the skin conditions in newborns are transient and self-resolving.
- After birth, many parents notice that their baby’s skin is dry, scaly and shedding. This is a perfectly normal reaction that occurs within the first month of life because the skin of your newborn is adapting to life outside the womb. This happens mostly in babies that are born after 40 weeks of gestation but can be seen in all babies. You don’t need to worry as this condition will get better without medical intervention, so no need to use lotions or creams to moisturize at this point. When it comes to baby skin care, less is more.
- You might notice that your 2 month old baby has developed an outbreak of red pimples over the face (usually the cheeks, nose and forehead). This is probably neonatal acne. This self-resolving rash will clear up without treatment. So no need to rush it.
- Erythema toxicum is a common and transient rash that develops in newborns. It usually consists of vesicles or small red bumps that are surrounded by a characteristic erythematous blotchy halo. These usually resolve quite rapidly within a few days without leaving a mark. So although they can be quite extensive no need to worry.
- Milia are little white papules that are mostly found over the nose or on the cheeks of newborns. They are usually asymptomatic and do not need any treatment. They will resolve on their own.
- In the winter, many parents make the mistake of overheating the house and covering up their baby too much. This may cause your infant to develop a heat rash, otherwise known as “prickly heat”. This is a bothersome and itchy condition that occurs mostly over the folds (mainly the neck fold in babies), the chest and the abdomen. When the baby has gets too hot, the sweat may get trapped under the skin causing this rash. The best way to treat it is by cooling your baby down. No need to overheat the house or overdress your little one. The rule of thumb is that your baby should just have one more layer of loose fitting and breathable clothes than yourself. Avoid using ointments over the area as they may cause worsening of the situation. If you notice your baby becoming too fussy you may consult your dermatologist or pediatrician who will prescribe an appropriate treatment for this condition.
- Craddle cap (infantile seborrheic dermatitis) is a very common skin condition that we see in newborns. You may notice thick and flaky yellow scales on your baby’s scalp although it may also occur on his eyebrows and around his nose. It is a harmless condition that occurs in the first few months of life and may last for a few months before clearing up on its own. It is not contagious and has no long term repercussions. You may try gently scrubbing the scales while shampooing your baby and removing them with a gentle gauze. However if the condition is too severe you may want to consult your pediatrician or dermatologist who will prescribe a medical shampoo or other topical treatment to help it clear up.