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Skin Conditions

Skin is important to act as a protective barrier to our bodies preventing excessive body fluid and mineral loss and helps to regulate heat and protect against infections.  Your baby’s skin is fragile and rashes and other skin conditions are common.  The confusing aspect is that a lot of the skin conditions can have similar presentations so it sometimes can be a mystery on the cause.

There are the more obvious ones like Diaper rash, Cradle Cap and Milia which we will share some relief strategies below.

There are times that other rashes on other parts of the body can happen.   If it is the first time they are experiencing any rash, redness, raised bumps on their skin, red or yellow spots and any oozing of fluid from the spots on any other part of the body – it is recommended to arrange an online or in-person consult with your Family GP or Paediatrician to check out what is going on.  It can be tempting to message other mums or community groups with your baby’s symptoms for advice.   But every child is different and the cause of their rash or skin condition may be different to another and may waste time trying recommended treatment methods for the wrong skin condition.

Which is why a Medical opinion is best to help diagnose their skin condition and give the right advice and treatments asap rather than trying out different methods first which may or may not work.

Below are some common skin conditions that babies can show:

Diaper Rash

Diaper Dermatitis commonly referrred to as Diaper Rash is to describe inflammatory reactions of the skin in the diaper area.   It is common with 50-65% of babies suffering from Diaper rash in their lifetime.  It is caused by prolonged overhydration, friction and presence of irritants from stools and faeces.   There are simple measures that can help prevent and treat including carrying out gentle cleansing and frequently changing nappies, using superabsorbent and breathable disposable nappies and applying barrier emollients after cleaning.

Safety – Do not use any powders that contain Talc – the American Academy of Paediatrics has recommended not to use for along time.  If a baby or infant inadvertently inhales the powder it can get in to its lungs and lead to respiratory obstruction or even severe damage to the lungs.  

Find out More Info on Managing Diaper Rash

Cradle Cap

Cradle Cap is a crusty, oily and plaque like rash on the scalp.  Other areas can be affected such as face, ears and neck.    It can range from being very mild almost like dandruff to being more severe with thick crusts covering most of the scalp.  A simple baby shampoo once a week (no more) can help with mild cases.  If more severe can try apply baby oil to the area for 15 minutes to soften the scales then helping removal by gently brushing with a soft brush followed by a wash with a baby shampoo wash to remove the oil.  There is some evidence for using a Tar containing shampoo if baby shampoo has failed in improving but it can be potentially irritating.  As always if concerned see your Paediatrician to review.


Milia is characterised by tiny pearly white or yellow capsules or bumps caused by skin gland secretion.  They occur most often on the forehead, cheeks, nose or chin but also can occur on the upper body, limbs, penis or mucous membranes.    There is nothing that needs to be done and usually spontaneously resolve in the first month but sometimes can persist into the 2nd or 3rd month.

Miliaria ('Heat Rash' or 'Prickly Heat')

Miliaria is called ‘Heat Rash’ or ‘Prickly Heat’ as its cause is being in hot humid climates or being overbundled in too many clothes.  It is a red pimply rash and can often feel like sandpaper.  It tends to show in skin folds and on areas of the body covered in clothing.   To manage the condition measures that avoid overheating should be taken such as removal of excess clothes, cool baths and using air conditioning in hot environments.  The symptoms should then resolve within a week.  If the rash becomes worse or fails to resolve seek the help of your Paediatrician or Family GP.

Erythema Toxicum (E.tox)

This is a common rash that can be present at birth but usually can appear within a few days after birth.  It is characterised by multiple red splotches with yellow areas or pustules in the centre and can be classically described like a ‘flea bitten’ appearance.  Usually shows on the face, upper body and top of the arms and legs.  The symptoms usually fade withn 5-7 days but may occur for several weeks.  No treatment is needed if diagnosed but like with all rashes it’s best to seek an opinion when they first appear as there are other causes of Pustule like rashes in newborns such as infections like Candida and Staphylococcus.

Baby Acne and Eczema

Baby Acne and Eczema can have similar appearances with redness, oozing and yellow.  If it’s the first time your baby is experiencing these symptoms it is advised to see a Doctor who can help with diagnosing the cause and then give the right advice and treatments if needed.

BFR German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment.  Talc Containing Baby Powder is a Health Risk

Blume-Peytavi U & Kanti V (2018) Prevention and Treatment of Diaper Dermatitis. Paediatric Dermatology.

O’Connor N, McLaughlin M, Ham P (2008) Newborn Skin: Part I. Common Rashes.  American Family Physician 77 (1), 47-52

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