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Treating Baby Rashes: A Pediatrician’s Advice

treating baby rashes

Table of Contents

WHY DOES A BABY GET RASHES?

A baby’s skin is sensitive and still getting used to the elements of the world around it. It can react to different things like moisture, fabrics, chemicals, fragrances or heat. A rash can also present because a baby’s oil glands in their skin are still immature and thus produce too much oil that then goes on to clog up pores. In many situations, a baby rash will self resolve, but in some instances, certain management is required to make a rash go away.

TYPES OF BABY RASHES

  • Birthmarks

  • Infectious Rashes

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WORRISOME SYMPTOMS THAT NEED IMMEDIATE EVALUATION

Tiny blisters spreading on your baby’s skin make us worry about Herpes that could have been contracted during birth or if a relative with a cold sore kissed the baby. Herpes can spread through your baby’s body and affect their brain if untreated.

Pinpoint red/pink dots under the baby’s skin that don’t move or get faint when you press on them can make us concerned that your baby has an infection of the brain or spinal cord called meningitis.

Because babies have very innocent immune systems, infections can spread quickly all over the body.

If your baby develops extreme fussiness, fevers > 100.4°F, or becomes unresponsive, it could mean a newborn infection has spread throughout their body. This requires your baby to be seen by a Pediatrician or ER & possibly be hospitalized immediately.

TYPE OF BABY RASHES

BABY ACNE

This can be due to maternal hormones or the overproduction of oil from a newborn’s oil glands. It appears by 1-2 mos of age and self resolves within a few weeks. It helps to gently clean your baby’s skin with warm water and hypoallergenic baby soap. Avoid any fragranced lotions or soaps.

CRADLE CAP

This happens in the first few days of life as full-term babies shed their upper layer of skin that was exposed to fluids & substances in the womb. We don’t recommend any lotions or creams at this age. As this skin peels away, normal new soft skin comes to the surface.

DRY PEELING SKIN IN A NEWBORN

This happens in the first few days of life as full-term babies shed their upper layer of skin that was exposed to fluids & substances in the womb. We don’t recommend any lotions or creams at this age. As this skin peels away, normal new soft skin comes to the surface.

DIAPER RASH

Parents can easily be alarmed by pink discoloration in their baby’s diaper region.

This can result from:

1) irritation from frequent wiping

2) sitting too long in moisture or stool

3) an allergic reaction to contacts like diapers, wipes, lotions, or oils

4) an infection.

If airing out your baby’s private region, rinsing with water instead of wipes, and using your tried & true Zinc Oxide Cream with Topical Barriers like A&D Ointment or Vaseline doesn’t resolve the situation it’s time to see a Pediatrician for a possible prescription cream or compound. Here is a link to grab my recommended Newborn essentials list.

Also, if your baby develops sores or starts bleeding in their diaper region – seek medical attention.

DROOL RASH

Constant drooling, trapped saliva behind bottles & pacifiers, and your baby rubbing their food & saliva all over their cheeks can lead to red irritated cheeks. (It only makes it worse when we’re constantly kissing or rubbing those cute cheeks!)

Keeping their cheeks, chins & chest clean from saliva & food while applying barriers like Vaseline or Aquaphor to keep them from getting further chapped is all very helpful.

Again, if your baby begins to develop skin breakdown, redness, oozing, the warmth of the area or it just isn’t getting better – seek medical attention.

MILIA

This appears as pinpoint yellow or white bumps along the nose or cheeks in the first few weeks of life. It results from trapped dead skin cells and will self resolve. It is harmless, doesn’t bother your baby and no management is recommended.

BABY HEAT RASH

Sweat can clog a baby’s pores and create small red pimple-like bumps. The best thing parents can do is keep their babies in cool areas, use washcloths to wipe away excess sweat/drool/food & dress babies in cotton clothing to allow the skin to breathe easier.

ECZEMA

Red, rough, dry, flaky skin on the cheeks, in the creases of the elbows & behind the knees, can be a result of food allergies, exposures to certain irritants or even a response to changes in climate. Eczema can often run in families.

Frequent moisturization of your baby’s skin is key to the management of Eczema. Bathe your child daily for no more than 10 minutes, then cover their entire body with hypoallergenic lotion like Eucerin, Aquaphor, Cetaphil or Aveeno. In some cases, a thicker ointment like Vaseline is very helpful.

If the rash isn’t improving or is spreading or beginning to look inflamed (red/hot/oozing) then it’s time to see a doctor for possible prescriptions & a treatment plan to help your baby feel better faster.

THRUSH

This is a common fungal/yeast infection in the mouth of newborns that makes their tongue/inner lips/inner cheeks look like there are patches of cotton or cottage cheese on them. These patches don’t run away and are different from milk residue.

It is important for your child to see a doctor to get a prescription of antifungal oral medication. Sometimes it will cross-infect breastfeeding moms. They, too, will need medication to feel better.

YEAST INFECTIONS

A fungal infection of any part of the body is called a yeast infection. The medical term for yeast infection is called candidiasis because it is due to a fungus called Candida. (A yeast infection of the mouth is specifically called Thrush.)

Babies in the first few months of life can develop yeast infections in the creases of their necks, armpits, or creases of the groin because moisture gets trapped in these regions and allows Candida to thrive. Another place moisture gets trapped in the diaper region. Yeast infections are quite common in the diaper region as well.

Yeast Infections look shiny bright pink, sometimes with little pink dots/patches as they spread. Keeping these areas clean, dry and allowing them to air out is all very helpful. If the rash isn’t improving, or it is spreading, it is important to see a doctor to get the right medication to treat your baby.

COMPLICATIONS IF A BABY RASH GOES UNTREATED

  • Discomfort/Itching For Your Baby

  • Secondary Infection

  • Skin Breakdown/Bleeding

  • Spread of Rash

  • Worsening Rash

IN CONCLUSION

Baby Rashes can be bothersome for parents to look at and itchy/uncomfortable for babies. At BabiesMD, you get the Concierge Pediatrician who takes pride in listening to parents, thoroughly evaluating our patients, and helping families get to the right diagnosis, management and treatment for their child. 

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