When you are looking into the face of the wonder that is your new baby, it’s hard not to want to do anything and everything to make sure his or her life is perfect. Here are some common skin problems babies face and simple approaches to treating them.
Head to Toe
Cradle cap—yellow, crusty patches on the scalp—is common in newborns. Parents can wait for cradle cap to clear up on its own or treat daily with mild shampoo, loosening scales with a soft-bristle brush.
Parents might be surprised to find their brand-new bundle of joy has tiny white bumps all over his or her face. Milia, which can appear on the chin, cheeks or nose, are skin cells trapped at the surface of the skin. The condition does not require treatment and should go away within a few weeks.
Baby acne develops within the first month of life and is characterized by red or white bumps on the cheeks or forehead. These more pronounced bumps are due to hormonal changes that can stimulate oil glands. Never scrub or pinch baby’s acne. Instead, gently wash your infant’s face with a mild soap and call his or her primary care provider if the outbreak is not resolved within three months.
Appearing at age 8 to 10 months, diaper rash often goes hand in hand with baby’s first solid foods. Parents can minimize the risk of a breakout by changing diapers promptly, using gentle, alcohol-free wipes and applying a diaper cream with zinc oxide to create a barrier against moisture. Talk with your baby’s primary care provider if the rash does not respond to care within 72 hours.
Overzealous parents should resist the urge to bathe their babies daily, a practice that can be drying to the skin. Opting to bathe your baby every other day and choosing soap and detergent with little or no scent can help limit the risk for skin reactions.
For more information about bathing basics as your baby grows, search for “baby’s first bath” above.
Reviewed by Beth Brogan, M.D., dermatologist, Hoosier Dermatology.