Image: Unsplash/Purnachandra Rao Podilapu
Babies have the softest skin, or so we like to believe. Not all babies enjoy silky smooth and perfect skin from birth, sometimes a health condition or a small imbalance can become apparent. Often, these conditions are completely normal milestones that come at particular points in your baby’s development, but sometimes they indicate a bigger problem. Here are five common baby skin complaints and how to treat them:
- Diaper/Nappy Rash
Nappy rash can plague little ones throughout the diaper-wearing phase of life. It is normal for it to come and go, but there are many factors that can cause or exacerbate nappy rash. Naturally, it is recommended to change diapers as often as possible in order to keep the skin dry and prevent this rash. However, health changes and developmental milestones, like teething and fever, can also bring about a nappy rash.
The best way to treat this condition is to ensure that the skin is kept as dry as possible. You can also apply a good quality baby rash cream after each diaper change.
- Heat Rash
Heat rash is a sign that your baby may be overheating. It looks like a fine spray of red spots, often across the cheeks, back, or arms (but it can occur anywhere). It’s not uncommon to see the rash arise on your baby’s skin after a long car drive or shopping trip in summer, or even after a nap on a hot day if you don’t have air conditioning.
To deal with heat rash, simply remove the baby from the hot environment. Just be careful of sudden temperature changes as this can be dangerous. Gradually cool the baby and keep the temperature steady. If the rash doesn’t resolve quickly, contact your physician.
- Baby Acne
A few weeks after birth, many babies develop pimples. This can look similar to the acne seen on teens’ faces. Just like teenagers, babies experience these pimples as a result of hormonal changes. Babies that breastfeed are particularly susceptible. As the mother’s hormones (which affected the baby during the pregnancy) begin to leave the body, a new hormonal balance is achieved. During this process, it is common and normal to see acne. If it doesn’t resolve within 14 days, contact your pediatrician.
- Dry Scalp
Flaking skin and dryness can be part of a bigger problem. It is important to have these concerns checked over by your doctor. Dry scalp can also be a normal phenomenon known as cradle cap. This presents as flaking on the scalp and usually resolves itself after a few months. Cradle cap is caused by excessive oil production by skin glands. You can assist the body in achieving better balance by applying a very mild shampoo and baby oil once a day.
In most cases, eczema resolves after the age of three. Until then, it presents as dry, rough skin that is often scratched open (because it is so itchy). It is an autoimmune condition, meaning the immune system is attacking its own healthy cells. The skin battles to retain moisture and becomes terribly dry and damaged. The best care routine can be determined by consulting with a dermatologist.
Many of these skin conditions are common and harmless, but it is still important to clear any concerns you have with your doctor. Babies are unable to vocalize their discomfort and tell you if they are in pain or if they are itchy. Incessant crying and any visual signs on the skin should always warrant healthcare attention.