Baby Skin Conditions
Your newborn baby’s skin is extremely sensitive. It should be expected that some form of rash or skin irritation will develop in the first 12 months of life.
Most of these will clear up without treatment, needing only a small amount of extra attention to bathing routines. There are some bacterial or fungal infections that are common that do need medicines. Most of these medicines can be bought over the counter and come mainly as a cream to be applied to the affected area.
Baby skin conditions symptoms
Due to the range of conditions your baby can get, the symptoms differ.
Very young skin has to grow and adapt to the world outside the womb. This growth stage takes about a year. After this time the skin is better at dealing with irritation and better at resisting everyday bacteria.
One of the earliest skin conditions that half of babies get is milia. Milia presents as small white spots on the face, these will disappear without any intervention in the first few weeks of life.
Because of the tenderness of the skin, rashes due to irritation form easily. Nappy rash or sweat rash are examples. Both of these present as a red rash or blisters. Nappy rash can sometimes be a fungal infection, but is usually due to prolonged exposure of the bottom to urine and stools or chafing of the nappy.
There are many other types of fungal infections or irritation rashes, such as ringworm, eczema and cradle cap. While these may have rashes or spots as symptoms they do not always bother the baby. While many of these skin conditions will resolve themselves, special attention should be paid to them to stop any discomfort to your baby.
With any rash or discomfort your child shows you should also get the advice of your GP. They may recommend certain treatments or prescribe creams or medicines.
It is important to take care of your baby's skin during this sensitive period. Keeping your baby's skin clean and dry will help stop rashes and irritation. Using mild and fragrance-free soaps and hypoallergenic creams and lotions are important. Keep in mind to clean under folds of skin, as this is a high risk area for chafing and sweating.
If a rash does break out, barrier creams with zinc oxide or petroleum based products help protect the skin. Letting the skin breathe by uncovering the skin or loose fitting clothing help stop rashes and chaffing. This also stops irritation and reduce the risk of conditions like sweat rash.
Allergic reactions are very common in babies as their immune systems need time to develop. If you are breastfeeding, your diet affects your breast milk and can cause reactions in your baby. Common allergic triggers are peanuts, dairy milks and shellfish.
Breast milk is widely thought among doctors to be best for babies however in some case breast milk can cause problems and you may be advised to switch to formula.
When your baby is around 4 to 6 months old you should start introducing solid foods to their diet. Do this slowly so you can see if your baby has any problems. Rashes and hives are common at this stage. Introducing solid foods one at a time will allow you to see which foods cause problems.