Common Baby Skin Conditions

There is nothing quite like the soft skin of a baby. Unlike adults, the brand-new skin of a baby has not been affected by the damaging rays of the sun or environmental factors. Although the skin of a baby is soft and supple, it is not necessarily blemish-free. Babies often have rashes and blemishes that are quite common. Many of these skin conditions do not require special care and eventually correct themselves, but some do require special treatment.

Erythema Toxicum

This skin condition sounds rather serious, but it commonly affects up to 50% of all newborn babies. This skin condition is characterized by red flat blotches that appear on the trunk and face of newborns, generally before they are five days old, and it does not require any special treatment. These harmless blotches usually disappear on their own within seven days.

Newborn Acne

Babies often develop a harmless case of acne on their nose, forehead, chin, and cheeks. This common skin condition is called acne neonatorium. It appears in newborn babies most often by the second and fourth weeks after birth. These mild cases of newborn acne are caused by hormones passing from mother to child.

Tiny white spots commonly seen on the nostrils of a newborn baby occur due to excessive oil in the skin. This harmless skin condition is called sebaceous gland hyperplasia. This excess of oil is also a result of hormones. The skin cells sometimes gather and form small white bumps. The bumps sometimes rupture, thus releasing the accumulated skin cells, and they ultimately disappear without treatment before the baby reaches his first birthday.

Heat Rash

When sweat glands are still in the process of development they often become blocked and cause small red bumps on the neck, trunk, and folds of the skin. This skin condition commonly seen in babies and small children is also referred to as malaria or prickly heat. Baby powder and lukewarm baths can be helpful, but the most effective way to prevent and remedy a case of heat rash is by maintaining a cool and comfortable environment which will in turn minimize sweating. Heat rash can also be avoided by dressing your baby as you would dress yourself. Contrary to popular belief, healthy babies do not require any more clothing than anyone else.

Cradle Cap

Babies often develop scaly scalps that require treatment. Also known as seborrheic dermatitis, cradle cap is often itchy and irritating. This hormone producing condition is identified by crusty, oily raised patches of dead skin.

Products used to treat seborrhea in adults and older children should not be used on babies. Instead, gently scrub the baby’s scalp with a soft brush. If the dead skin is not easily removed, apply baby oil to the affected area, and allow it to soak in for several minutes before brushing the scalp. Warm water can also assist in the removal of crusty lesions.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

If the condition does not improve or worsens, a trip to the doctor may be necessary. Severe cases may be complicated by a bacterial infection and samples of dead skin may be needed to make this determination. In addition, your baby’s doctor can prescribe cortisone cream to help alleviate discomfort and itching.

Diaper Rash

No matter how prudent you are with diaper changes and cleanliness, the day will come when your baby develops a case of diaper rash. This commonly occurring rash is caused by continual dampness and ammonia contained in urine. Diaper rash is most commonly identified by red patches and bumps on the genitals, buttocks, and in more severe cases, on places beyond the diaper area.

Over-the-counter creams containing zinc oxide can effectively prevent and cure mild to moderate cases of diaper rash. Petroleum jelly can also help prevent diaper rash by forming a waterproof barrier on the skin.

If a rash on your baby’s bottom is more pronounced in the creases and folds of the skin, the problem may require medical attention. It could be a case of intertrigo or seborrhea. A more serious case of diaper rash that appears on the legs, back, or abdomen, may be monilial diaper rash and will also require medical attention.


If your baby has a rash characterized by raised blotches with light-colored centers, he may have a case of hives. Hives are sometimes caused by an allergic reaction to medication, food, or even an insect bite, but viruses are most often the cause of hives in babies. This skin condition is often itchy and quite uncomfortable, and it can appear anywhere on the body. The blotches sometimes come and go for an indefinite period of time, and they often change positions. Hives are not usually serious, but watch your baby for signs of breathing difficulty or problems swallowing. A visit to the doctor may become necessary if the problem does not go away on its own, or if the condition becomes progressively worse.


This contagious and common skin infection is characterized by a crusty yellow sore or sores. Although impetigo can occur anywhere on the body, it occurs most often around the mouth, nose, and diaper area. The characteristic sores often ooze and crust over.

To prevent impetigo from spreading, keep your baby’s fingernails trimmed to prevent him from scratching. Also, wash hands often to avoid spreading the problem to other areas of the body, and to other people.

Impetigo may be treated at home by keeping the sore clean and applying antibacterial ointment to the affected area. Take your baby to the doctor if the sore spreads, a fever develops, or if he appears lethargic or visibly ill.�¯�¿�½

Use your parental instincts when determining whether or not your baby requires medical attention. When in doubt, contact your doctor or health care provider for professional medical advice regarding the health and well-being of your baby.

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