Baby dry skin rash is a common skin condition that typically affects newborn babies but can be experienced by children of all ages. Although most skin irritations are harmless and easy to treat, the discomfort, pain, and fever that accompany a baby dry skin rash can cause distress to both children and parents. If not treated immediately, a diaper rash can result in fungal infection, bacterial infection or more serious medical issues. In rare cases, babies and toddlers can die from severe diaper rashes that escalate to untreatable infections .
Instead of fretting over every red spot, parents should familiarize themselves with common types of rashes and simple home remedies.
Types of Baby Rashes
Diaper rash, also called nappy rash, is a skin inflammation that generally occurs in babies’ diaper areas. However, it can travel up the torso. Its symptoms include swollen or raised red bumps that sometimes include skin breaks or ulcers. The more severe the rash, the redder in color. Moderate or severe diaper rash can cause discomfort.
Nappy rashes have many causes. However, one of the main culprits is the prolonged wearing of a wet or soiled diaper. The combination of the friction of the diaper, irritants in the urine (ammonia) and feces (bacteria) causes redness and irritation. Sometimes, the skin irritation can also cause small openings in the skin’s surface that allow bacteria and fungi to generate a secondary infection.
An allergic reaction to the diaper material or diaper wipes may also result in a diaper rash.
The best way to avoid a diaper rash is to keep a baby’s diaper area clean and dry. Choose baby-friendly diapers that do not include harmful chemicals that further irritate the skin’s surface. Also, avoid using soaps and detergents with harsh chemicals that aggravate itchy skin. Finally, do not use wipes that are made with harsh chemicals that can be absorbed into a baby’s sensitive skin .
If a baby has a persistent diaper rash, schedule a visit to the pediatrician. Some rashes are caused by fungal infections. These must be treated by specific anti-fungal creams and may require prescriptions.
Prickly heat or heat rash appears as small, red blisters on a baby’s skin. It can cause extreme itching and spread around the head, shoulders, neck and the folds of the skin .
Prickly heat is caused by a high humidity level. When a baby’s sweat glands are blocked, sweat is trapped under the skin. This irritates the surrounding areas and results in a rash.
The best treatment for prickly heat is prevention. Dress babies in lighter clothing that is preferably cotton. In warmer climates, keep babies cool by turning on the air-conditioning or a fan. To eliminate sweat, use only fragrance-free skin care products specially formulated for babies.
Impetigo is highly contagious. Symptoms of this skin infection include red, itchy, raised and pus-filled sores or blisters. These sores develop for a couple of days before erupting, then they turn into honey-colored scabs. Scratching the sores and touching other parts of the skin can spread the infection to other parts of the body. Pain and discomfort due to impetigo range from mild to severe .
Impetigo is ordinary and harmless in children aged two to six, but it can be fatal for newborn babies. Impetigo is a superficial infection caused by Staphylococcus and Streptococcus bacteria. It can develop from any break in the skin including a cut, rash, insect bite or scratch. The infected wound becomes moist and red, then it develops pus. After four to six days, yellowish scabs form.
The best treatment for impetigo is prevention through proper hand-washing. Since this skin condition is contagious and caused by a bacterial infection, affected children should use their own drying cloths or towels. Consult a pediatrician as some doctors prescribe an antibiotic tablet, cream or ointment.
Baby acne is normal among children, especially in newborn infants. Newborn baby acne, also known as neonatal acne, is similar in appearance to teenage acne. Symptoms include rough, bumpy rashes that exhibit anywhere on the face and can also affect that mouth and back .
Baby acne is thought to develop during pregnancy. Mothers can pass acne-causing hormones to their babies while they are still in the womb. These hormones can also cause acne in mothers during pregnancy and after birth. Milk, spit, harsh soaps and rough fabrics that come into contact with a baby’s skin can also cause skin reactions that further aggravate baby acne.
Neonatal acne is harmless and usually clears up in a few weeks or months without applying any cream or treatment. Only use gentle baby skin care products during bath time.
Eczema is a skin condition that causes inflammation, dryness, redness, itching and scaling on the neck, hands, mouth and folds of the skin. There are three known types of eczema. The first is atopic dermatitis which causes itchy patches and is common in babies with food allergies in their families. The second type is seborrheic dermatitis. Unlike atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis does not itch, but it can cause scabbing on the scalp called cradle cap. Contact dermatitis, the third type, is similar to hives but with symptoms such as moist blisters .
The exact origin of eczema is unknown. It is believed that baby eczema results due to many factors. The most popular belief is that eczema is hereditary. If either parent has recurring eczema, chances are the baby will likely develop the same skin problem. Atopic dermatitis and cradle cap can also be triggered by allergens such as dust, mites, pollen, detergent, foods and itchy fabrics.
Since eczema in babies tends to create cracked skin, apply anti-inflammation barrier cream or skin care products that have moisturizing ingredients such as coconut oil. A moisturizer for babies can be used after every bath or two to three times a day if the child has an ongoing eczema episode. For persistent eczema, consider talking to a doctor about other healing creams or treatments.
Drool rash is typically found around a baby’s cheeks, mouth, neck and chest. This commonly appears as flat or slightly raised red bumps on the skin. Sometimes the rash may appear as chapped and flaky skin. A drool rash is not contagious .
The number one cause of drool rash is saliva. Too much saliva left on the skin for a prolonged period of time creates the perfect condition for drool rash. Teething or fevers are possible causes for outbreaks since these both increase the amount of drool created.
The best remedy and prevention for drool rash is to secure a soft cloth for burping, and promptly wipe saliva whenever it is present. If a baby develops the rash, wash the affected area with gentle skin products to avoid any further irritation. A doctor will also recommend healing creams or moisturizers that act as barriers and treatments for the baby’s skin.
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- Skin care for your baby. U.S. National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2528704/
- Babies and heat rashes. U.S. National Library of Medicine: Medline Plus; https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001966.htm
- Impetigo: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment. The Nemours Foundation; https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/impetigo.html
- Is that acne on my baby’s face? American Academy of Dermatology; https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/newborn-acne
- Infant Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis). https://www.skinsight.com/skin-conditions/infant/atopic-dermatitis-eczema?Imiw9cApl
- How Best to Treat and Prevent a Drool Rash. Jessica Timmons; Karen Gill, MD. (2017, August 7). Retrieved from Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/drool-rash#treatment