You look at your baby’s newborn skin and think, “Oh my goodness what IS that?” Before your freak-out meter goes off the charts, remember that baby’s skin is transitioning during the first year after birth to life outside of the womb. Many rashes will come and go on their own but some will require treatment, or even a trip to baby’s healthcare provider.
Take baby to her healthcare provider when rash is present with any other symptoms such as:
blisters (not tiny acne spots) with puss-like liquid
reddish or purplish dots/spots over baby’s body that don’t lighten after you press on them
When it comes to rashes, just remember with all things baby: When in doubt, have it checked out!
Baby is likely to have her first bout of acne before her teen years. Often, in the first weeks after birth, acne may suddenly emerge on baby’s checks, nose or forehead. You’ll see small red pimples with fluid-filled centers. Keep baby’s face cleansed with a warm cloth and simply wait it out. Acne typically clears in a few weeks. Get expert care if it seems to be getting worse or bother’s baby.
Cradle cap is a common newborn rash that appears as thick, yellow, crusty or plates or scales on baby’s head, although it can also appear on his face. Cradle cap usually clears on its own in baby’s first 6 months of life but you can use a mild baby shampoo and a soft infant brush or comb to gently loosen and remove the scales. Tackle stubborn scales with a small amount of mineral oil, applied to soften the scale, and then remove with the brush or comb. It typically goes away by baby’s 6-month birthday. Alert baby’s healthcare provider if cradle cap continues to spread, especially to baby’s face.
This is redness you see around baby’s legs or bottom as her diaper chafes and irritates her skin. Apply ointment or zinc oxide until the redness clears up. Consider a diaper that includes emollients to protect baby’s skin. This rash should clear on its own with care. Call baby’s care provider if it continues to worsen.
Diaper erythema (irritant contact dermatitis)
Baby’s skin becomes irritated and you see red blotches and bumps in response to ingredients in products you’re using on her clothes or skin, foods she’s eating, urine or stool. Apply zinc oxide at every diaper change until this rash clears; call baby’s healthcare provider if it continues to spread despite your care.
This bright red rash that pops up with pinpoint bumps is actually a yeast infection and it requires treatment; time to call baby’s healthcare provider. You will typically see it in baby’s bottom area but it can also spread to the creases of his legs.
Tiny white bumps that cover your baby’s face are called milia, and many babies are born with it. It’s most common on baby’s nose, chin and cheeks. Keep baby’s face clean with a soft wash cloth and warm water; milia typically goes away on its own within the first month after birth.
Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
Patches of dry, rough, scratchy skin are typically eczema, often found on torso, arms and legs. Most babies will outgrow eczema. If the irritated skin begins to ooze and crust over, it’s time to see baby’s healthcare provider. You can help prevent eczema by bathing baby no more often than every 2-3 days, and keep bath times short to prevent cleansers from drying baby’s skin. Always pat baby’s skin dry—never rub. Use baby-specific ointments and lotions to moisturize baby’s skin. See baby’s healthcare provider if eczema bother’s baby or if it spreads or emerges in new areas.