Baby Rash: causes, types and treatments
There’s nothing like the softness of your baby’s skin. But because it’s so sensitive, it also means they’re more prone to irritations. Baby rashes are often not a risk to their health, but even small rashes can be worrying for you and distressing for your baby!
We’ve put together a guide on baby rashes, including what baby rash is, what may cause it, the different types of baby rash and how you can treat them if one appears on the body.
Baby rash: what is it
Babies can develop a rash at any time, from newborns to toddlers. Different rashes can present in different ways, from spots and pimples to red, itchy or dry patches. Babies can get rashes all over their body, from the top of their head to the bottom of their feet.
Most baby rashes are nothing to worry about and will pass on their own without needing to see a doctor. However, some can be a symptom of something more serious.
Baby rash: causes
Some of the most common causes of baby rash are:
- Chemicals and fragrances in soaps, detergents or creams
- Irritants like wee and poo
- Fungal, bacterial or viral infections
A rash is also a very common symptom for a range of different medical conditions or can be sign of a more serious condition like meningitis.
Types of baby rash
Because there are so many kinds of baby rash, we’ve put together a list on a few of the most common causes and how you can manage them.
Baby acne looks like spots and pimples on your baby’s cheeks, forehead and nose.
Baby acne: causes
It’s unclear what causes baby acne, although it could be caused by maternal or infant hormones.
Baby acne: treatment
Baby acne doesn’t need treatment and will usually clear up on its own.
Cradle cap looks like scaly, greasy patches on your baby’s scalp that are yellow or white. In some cases, it can also appear on the face and nappy area. It’s not itchy and does not irritate your baby.
If your baby has cradle cap, you may notice that they lose hair when the scales come away. Don’t panic! This is normal, and their hair will grow back.
Cradle cap: causes
It is not clear what causes cradle cap, although it is not contagious.
Cradle cap: treatment
Cradle cap can be easily treated at home. Massage an emollient into the dry patches and gently brush the scalp with a soft brush and wash it with mild baby shampoo.
Atopic eczema is an itchy rash that can affect around 20% of children in the UK. In babies with pale skin, it can look like a red rash. For babies with darker skin, it may look either red or darker than the skin around it.
Atopic eczema: causes
Eczema is influenced by genetics and can be triggered or made worse by irritants like soaps and detergents, allergies, changes in temperature and even some kinds of fabrics.
Atopic eczema: treatment
There is no cure for eczema, but you can help ease the symptoms with emollients or topical corticosteroids that may be prescribed by your doctor. If your baby has eczema, you should speak to your doctor.
It’s also important to look after their eczema-prone skin, which includes trying to stop them from scratching, avoiding things that may trigger eczema and considering dietary changes if their eczema is caused by a food allergy.
Hives, or urticaria, look like raised, itchy patches that can occur all over the skin.
Hives may be caused by an allergic reaction and will usually clear up on their own. The allergic reaction could be triggered by foods your baby eats (peanuts, shellfish and eggs are all common allergies), or it could be through contact with something like pollen or dust mites. Rarely, hives could also be caused by an allergy to antibiotics.
Hives will usually clear up on their own but can be treated with an antihistamine if they are very irritating.
Milia, or milk spots, are very small white or yellow spots that develop on newborn baby’s faces. They can appear a few days after birth.
Milia are caused by trapped dead skin cells that form cysts below the surface of your baby’s skin.
Milia will generally clear up by themselves in a few weeks.