A newborn baby may develop different skin conditions. Some of them are listed below.
- Baby Or Infantile Acne: red, pimply rash on the face; disappears over time
- Cutis Marmorata: skin looks like pinkish-blue marble on exposure to cold temperatures; improves with age
- Erythema Toxicum: common, splotchy red rash; red or white pale or red raised lesions scattered all over the body , gradually disappears
- Milia: tiny whiteheads on the baby’s face; disappear on their own
- Birthmarks: often fade with time( Please read Birthmarks section)
- Vernix: Losing vernix may cause skin peeling; subsides on its own.
- Umbilical Cord Care: The cord should fall off within 1 to 2 weeks of coming back home. Until then, it should be kept clean and dry. Water should be used to clean it. Do not pull on the stump even when it starts to come off; it will fall off on its own. Contact your doctor if your baby has fever or if the umbilical area appears red and swollen, oozes yellow pus, produces a foul-smelling discharge, or bleeds.
- Other conditions such diaper rash (caused by wet or soiled diapers or yeast/bacterial infection), cradle cap (crusty patches on a baby’s scalp or other body parts), eczema (dry, thickened, scaly skin, or tiny red bumps), contact dermatitis (on contact to allergens), heat rash (little bumps on the skin) might also be observed in infants.
General Skin Care Tips
Daily bathing is not necessary. Wash the face and hands often, and thoroughly clean the genital area after each diaper change. Bathe your baby in a warm room.
Use wipes only when extremely necessary. Dr. Divya Sharma prefers water wsh as compared to use of wet wipes. Always wipe from front to back.
A moisturizer is recommended even for babies with normal skin . If the skin is very dry, moisturize twice daily or even after every diaper change. Use one without fragrances or dyes. Please consult your Pediatric Dermatologist for recommending a skin care regimen.
An infant’s skin is very sensitive and can easily burn from sun exposure, causing real and even permanent damage. If the baby is going to be outdoors, it is important to avoid direct sunlight. Sunscreen is not recommended for infants under 6 months of age, so use protection whenever possible. For infants over 6 months of age, always apply sunscreen as well. If it’s suspected that the infant has a sunburn, call the doctor for advice.
Wool, including cashmere, can be irritating. Soft cottons are the way to go. Wash anything that will be in contact with the baby’s skin.
Shield skin from spit because saliva has enzymes that can irritate their skin. The problem gets worse when skin gets wet and dry over and over. Try coating the face with petroleum jelly. Wipe it off with a soft cotton washcloth when mealtime is over and reapply moisturizer.
Baby powder and other talc-containing powder should be avoided because there is a risk of accidental inhalation and subsequent lung problems.
Babies are very sensitive to perfumes and harsh detergents. Use a gentle unscented detergent when washing infant’s clothes and bedding to prevent allergies or sensitivities.
Most skincare products should not be used on very young infants because of the risk of exposure to active chemicals, which may be absorbed at higher rates in the thinner, less developed skin of infants. Always discuss with the doctor which products can be used on infants.
Most skin rashes in babies are not serious and require little-to-no treatment. Some rashes may require further evaluation. Any fever associated with a rash requires an evaluation by a physician. Rashes which involve blisters or other fluid-filled bumps (pustules, vesicles) may also need to be evaluated. In general, never hesitate to contact the doctor with concerns.