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Baby’s Delicate Skin

A baby’s skin is delicate and prone to a variety of irritations.  Probably the most common skin problem babies suffer from is diaper rash. Most rashes occur because either the...

A baby’s skin is delicate and prone to a variety of irritations. 

Probably the most common skin problem babies suffer from is diaper rash. Most rashes occur because either the diaper is too tight or wet for too long. Some babies are more sensitive to a particular brand of diapers. If you’re changing your baby’s diaper quickly after it’s wet and using a mild detergent, try another brand of diapers and see if that helps. Treat diaper rash by keeping the diaper area open to the air as long as possible, changing diapers as soon as they are wet, wash the area with a clean warm cloth and apply zinc oxide cream.

Another skin problem is often referred to as “baby acne”. It’s not really acne that teens and adults get, but looks similar. Tiny pus filled spots on the baby’s nose and cheeks may be more related to yeast than oil production. These tiny pimples usually clear up within a few weeks by themselves so there’s no need to apply lotions.

Eczema is an itchy, red rash that may or may not occur in response to a trigger. Children who come from families with a history of asthma, allergies or atopic dermatitis often will have eczema as a baby. Eczema may occur on baby's face as a weepy rash. Over time it becomes thick, dry, and scaly. You may also see eczema on the elbow, chest, arms, or behind the knees. To treat it, identify and avoid any triggers. Use gentle soaps and detergents and apply moderate amounts of moisturizers. More severe eczema should be treated with prescription.

Sometimes parents will notice that their newborn’s skin is peeling or very dry. Not to worry, this often happens when babies are born a little later than their due date. The underlying skin is healthy, soft and moist. If your baby’s dry skin persists, you should have your pediatrician take a look.

Sweating because a baby is overheated can cause prickly heat rash. It usually appears on the neck, diaper area, armpits, and skin folds. A cool, dry environment and loose-fitting clothes are all you need to treat prickly heat rash -- which can even be brought on in winter when baby is over-bundled.

Yeast infections often appear after your baby has had a round of antibiotics, and 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, while a yeast diaper rash is bright red, often with small red pimples at the rash edges. Talk to your pediatrician: Thrush is treated with an anti-yeast liquid medicine, while an anti-fungal cream is used for a yeast diaper rash.

Sunburn is a painful reminder that baby’s skin needs extra protection under the piercing rays of the sun.  You can use baby sunscreen on infants at any age. Hats and umbrellas are also good for babies. But for the best protection from sunburn, keep your infant out of direct sunlight during the first six months of life. For severe sunburn, take your infant to the pediatrician or hospital for treatment.

Instead of soothing or protecting a baby’s skin, some baby skin products can actually be the cause of skin irritation. Avoid products that contain dyes, fragrances, phthalates and parabens.

Most baby skin rashes and problems aren't serious, but a few may be signs of infection -- and need close attention. If baby's skin has small, red-purplish dots, if there are yellow fluid-filled bumps (pustules), or if baby has a fever or lethargy, see your pediatrician for medical treatment right away.

Source: Hansa D. Bhargava, MD http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/ss/slideshow-baby-skin-care

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About Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Dr. Sue Hubbard is an award winning pediatrician and medical editor for www.kidsdr.com.  She is a native of Washington, D.C. who travelled south to attend the University of Texas at Austin and never left.Read More

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