6 Common Skin Irritations in Infants You Should Be Aware Of
In newborn babies, rashes and skin problems are not usually a cause of concern since most of them go away on their own over time. But some of these skin conditions may require clinical care, especially if they linger for far too long than normal.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force families indoors, it is now crucial for parents to step up and discern skin conditions affecting their children. Although immediate medical help is still needed to tend severe cases, there are some common skin conditions that you can try to treat at home.
- HEAT RASH (Prickly Heat)
This skin condition appears on babies frequently as infants have yet to develop their sweat glands. Instead of evaporating, the sweat remains trapped beneath their skin, causing irritation and inflammation.
TREATMENT: Hot temperatures and humid climates usually trigger heat rash, so try to cool your baby's skin with a cool bath or washcloth. You can also dress them in loose-fitting outfits, particularly in breathable cotton fabric, to lessen perspiration.
- CRADLE CAP (Seborrhoeic Dermatitis)
Cradle cap causes a crusty, oily, and scaly patches on a baby's scalp, forehead, or around their ears. Although little is known about what exactly causes it, the skin condition isn't contagious and, in most cases, doesn't need medical attention.
TREATMENT: Wash your baby's hair using mild baby shampoo and loosen the scales with a soft-bristled comb before rinsing it off. You can also rub petroleum jelly on your baby's scalp if the scales don't loosen easily. If the condition doesn’t get better with bathing, talk to your baby’s doctor.
- NAPPY RASH (Diaper Dermatitis)
Typically forms when the sensitive skin around the areas covered by the diaper becomes irritated, a nappy rash occurs due to prolonged contact with urine and stools. Excessive moisture from prolonged use of diapers or friction from fabric or adhesive tapes
TREATMENT: To relieve the irritation, always clean your baby's bum, rinse the skin using warm water or alcohol-free wipes, and frequently change their diapers. You can also put a thin layer of ointment, antifungal cream, or even corticosteroid to protect the skin before putting the nappy on.
- BABY ACNE (Neonatal Acne)
Like pimples in adults, baby acne presents itself as red bumps with white pustules and reddish skin on the baby’s face, cheeks, or neck. In most cases, acne in babies resolves on its own over time. However, the American Academy of Dermatology Association suggests seeing a pediatric dermatologist if the acne develops after 6 weeks of age for it could be a sign of an underlying skin condition.
TREATMENT: If your baby develops acne, you can wash their face with lukewarm water to clean the affected areas. At their young age, face cleansers, creams, or lotions that are too strong might make the acne worse and cause additional skin irritation, so stay away from those products. Instead, be gentle with their skin and patiently wait for it to quickly resolve on its own.
- ATOPIC ECZEMA (Atopic Dermatitis)
If your baby develops eczema, their skin, particularly the cheeks and face, becomes rough, dry, flaky, and reddish all over. Infants who came from a family with a history of atopic dermatitis have a higher chance of acquiring the condition.
TREATMENT: Always keep your baby's nail short to prevent scratching that could aggravate the condition further. As sweat can trigger eczema flare-ups, make sure that your baby stays cool and moisture-free. Try using lightweight clothing and thin blankets. Contact your doctor for treating moderate to severe cases of eczema, so you can apply a steroid or antibiotic cream.
- CONTACT DERMATITIS
When the sensitive skin of an infant comes into contact with potential allergens or irritants, an allergic reaction ensues. Newborns who have contact dermatitis experience mild redness, swelling, blistering, itching, and temporary scaling of the skin.
TREATMENT: There's a two-part plan in treating contact dermatitis: easing the symptoms and identifying what factors have caused it. Avoid substances that may have caused the flare-ups. If the irritation already occurred, wash the baby's skin thoroughly with mild soap and lukewarm water after the exposure. You can also use wet, cold cloths to soothe inflammation.
It is important to understand that rashes, dry skin, and other skin conditions are normal to develop during the infants' first few months of life. There's no need to switch on the panic button as your baby is just starting to develop their delicate skin.
However, if the symptoms worsen despite all the home treatments available, please consult your child’s pediatric dermatologist for proper care as these skin irritations sometimes resemble other skin conditions.
In celebration of the National Child Health Day, let us embark on ways to keep our children healthy and promote actions to better their healthcare. The said commemoration is celebrated every first Monday of October to remind people, particularly parents, to think about nutrition, immunizations, and proper consultation with doctors for the benefit of their children.
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Thus, readers are encouraged to verify any information obtained from this website with other accurate references and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with their physician. As Cottonique strives to help those with allergies live with better days, the hypoallergenic apparel brand encourages everyone to always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
- Nathan Mariano