Common baby skin conditions
What you need to know:
- Treatment may include more frequent feedings or light therapy (for more severe cases). If your baby looks yellow, talk to your doctor.
Many times, a baby’s skin is prone to irritations and other skin conditions. A diaper rash is a red skin around the diaper area and it appears when a baby is left to wear diapers that are too tight or wet. Some diaper brands may also cause diaper rash.
Birthmarks are areas of skin discolouration at birth and a lot of babies have them. Some might show up a few months later. Generally, birthmarks are nothing to worry about and need no treatment.
Eczema is an itchy, red rash that is common in babies who have a family history of asthma, allergies, or atopic dermatitis. It may appear on the elbows, chest, arms, behind the knees and face as a weepy rash and becomes thick, dry, and scaly over time. Use gentle soaps and detergents, and apply moderate amounts of moisturisers. More severe eczema should be treated with prescription medicine.
If your baby is born past their due date, it is normal for them to have peeling dry skin. The underlying skin is perfectly healthy, soft, and moist.
Too much oil can cause the baby to have a scaly, waxy, red rash on the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, the sides of the nose, or behind the ears. It is called a cradle cap and usually clears within the first year but you can see a paediatrician for any cream recommendations.
Small pinkish-red bumps (prickly heat) usually appear on the neck, arm pits, diaper area and all skin folds where the baby's body is prone to sweating. A cool, dry environment and loose-fitting clothes are all you need to treat it.
Baby yeast infections often show up differently, depending on where they are on your baby's skin.
Thrush appears on the tongue and mouth and looks like dried milk. A yeast diaper rash is bright red, often with small red pimples at the edges. Talk to your paediatrician who will prescribe an anti-yeast liquid medicine or an antifungal cream used for a yeast diaper rash.
Reduce the likelihood of itching and irritation by using a gentle detergent for washing everything that touches your infant's skin, from bedding and blankets to towels and even your own clothes.
It is important to note that babies should not be powdered because they can inhale the very fine grains of talcum powder which can cause lung problems.
More common in premature babies, jaundice is a yellow colouration of a baby's skin and eyes. It usually shows up two or three days after birth and is caused by too much bilirubin (a breakdown product of red blood cells).
Treatment may include more frequent feedings or light therapy (for more severe cases). If your baby looks yellow, talk to your doctor.