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Rashes in Babies

Infants are quite prone to developing rashes on their delicate skin. Most of these skin conditions resolve on their own, but it is essential to seek medical help if the skin eruptions are accompanied by other symptoms. The following write-up provides information on some of the most common types of rashes in newborns.
Dhanya Joy
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2018
A rash refers to the change in color, texture or the appearance of the skin. Skin rashes are quite common in babies. Usually contact with irritants, allergens or pathogens such as bacteria, viruses or fungi is the underlying cause for the development of eruptions on skin. While some skin eruptions appear only on certain parts of the body, some are generalized.
Rashes may or may not be itchy. These may be flat or raised. While the appearance of such eruptions is often a cause of concern for parents, most of these eruptions on the skin are minor and heal quickly. However, some of these may require medical treatment. Medical assistance must be sought if the eruption is accompanied by fever and other distressing symptoms.
Types of Rashes
Diaper Rash

This is the most common skin problem that affects newborns. This occurs when the diapers are not frequently changed, due to which the baby's skin is in prolonged contact with bacteria, ammonia from the urine or feces, and moisture. This causes the skin to turn red. This might cause a burning sensation and itching in the affected area.
What Can be Done: The best way to prevent this kind of skin eruption is to keep the baby's skin dry. Change the diapers frequently and allow the baby's skin to breathe in between diaper changes. Use a mild powder before securing the diaper. If the rash persists even after following these measures, seek medical assistance.
Heat Rash

Since the sweat glands in infants are underdeveloped, their bodies cannot regulate their body temperature adequately. Usually such eruptions appear when the weather is hot and humid or in winters when the baby is covered in layers of clothing. Such skin eruptions appear in the form of small pink bumps around the neck, on the chest and on the back. These may cause a lot of itching.
What Can be Done: This skin problem can be prevented by cooling the room, using loose cotton clothes for the baby and by applying calamine lotion and powder.
Neonatal Acne

This type of skin eruption usually appears in the first month. The condition is characterized by development of closed comedones or whiteheads on the cheeks, nose and forehead. At times, inflammatory pustules or papules that looks like acne vulgaris may appear. The reason behind development of such eruptions is the stimulation of the sebaceous glands by maternal hormones.
What Can be Done: This condition resolves on its own. Typically, acne neonatorum does not require any treatment and will clear up within four months.

This dermatological problem develops in babies due to blocked sweat glands. These are 1-2 mm white papular lesions that may develop on the forehead, cheeks, chin, and nose. When the sweat glands open up within a few days or weeks, the lesions disappear.
What Can be Done: These lesions are benign. This condition is self-limiting in nature. The lesions disappear in a few days or a couple of months, without treatment. However, it would be best if a doctor takes a look at the lesions.
Cradle Cap

This kind of skin eruption appears on the scalp, eyelids, eyebrows, the sides of the nose, or behind the ears of the baby. This is an inflammatory condition that is characterized by patches that are greasy, crusty, and scaly. This is a form of seborrheic dermatitis that develops in newborns within the first three months. It is caused due to the presence of excess oil.
What Can be Done: Cradle cap can be treated by loosening up the scales, by applying baby oil followed by shampooing. Do not use nails to remove the scales. You can use a very soft-bristled comb to remove the scales. If these remedies don't work, mild steroid creams or medicated shampoos are usually prescribed.
Drool Rash

This is observed in babies who drool excessively, especially during the teething phase. The eruptions appear around the mouth, under the chin and sometimes on the neck.
What Can be Done: This can be treated by frequently cleaning the baby's drool and keeping the areas prone to developing such eruptions clean and dry.

Oral thrush usually develops inside the mouth due to an infection caused by candida yeast. Yeast infection can also develop on the top of a diaper rash, if it is not treated appropriately.
What Can be Done: Medical assistance is needed to treat this skin ailment, as it may also pass on to the mother, if she is breastfeeding the baby.

Eczema or dermatitis is a kind of skin ailment that can affect babies. Infants can develop atopic eczema or seborrhoeic eczema. These eruptions are characterized by skin that is thick, scaly, red, dry and, itchy.
What Can be Done: This can be treated by keeping the baby's skin moisturized and avoiding the use of soap. It is best not to make the baby wear woolen and synthetic clothing.
Erythema toxicum

The cause of this skin condition is unknown. It is quite common in babies. It may appear in 50% of the normal infants. It is characterized by small white or yellow bumps that are surrounded by reddened skin. The bumps may be filled with fluid. However, the fluid is not pus. Eruptions may appear a couple of days after birth. The rash usually appears on the face or chest. It could also appear on the arms and legs.
What Can be Done: This condition usually resolves on its own within a couple of weeks. While medical treatment is not required, do follow the guidelines on skin care given by the doctor.

This skin ailment develops due to an infection caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. The rash appears in the form of tiny red blisters on the face and hands.
What Can be Done: It is extremely contagious and needs immediate medical attention and treatment with antibiotics.
Fever Rash

Rashes can also appear when babies suffer from high fever, over 103° F. The skin develops pink blotchy patches due to the raised body temperature.
What Can be Done: This condition cures on its own, when the baby's body temperature returns to normal. If the rash persists for a few days, seek medical help.
Rashes can be caused due to a variety of reasons. The treatment therefore varies depending on the underlying cause. While many types of skin ailments resolve on their own without medical treatment, it is always better to consult a medical practitioner rather than following a home remedy to cure it.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.