10 common baby skin rashes and where they come from

Home » 10 common baby skin rashes and where they come from

There’s a reason why we say skin is as smooth as a baby’s – most babies are born with flawless skin. But here’s a secret that many first-time moms learn within a few months of giving birth: there are also many common skin rashes that babies suffer from. Most are pain-free and harmless, while others can cause mild to sever discomfort. It’s important to know that they are all completely normal.

Here are 10 of the most common skin rashes that babies get:

1. Erythema Toxicum Neonatorum (ETN)

ETN appears as small yellow or white bumps surrounded by red skin blotchy. It’s a completely normal new-born rash usually appears within the first few days after birth and disappears after a week. Although it freaks out many first-time moms, it’s completely harmless and not contagious at all.


2. Milia (blocked oil glands)

Babies with Milia develop small white spots on their face, particularly the nose. It’s caused by blocked pores and usually clears within the first four weeks of life. You can gently wash baby’s face with mild baby soap, but do not squeeze the pores.


3. Baby acne

Unfortunately, baby acne can last up to six weeks and it normally gets worse before it clears up completely. It’s caused by your hormones which are still working their way out of your baby’s system. Your little one’s brand new and sensitive skin is also under-developed, which means it’s a soft target for dirt. You can gently wash your baby’s face with mild baby soap, but do not use any adult acne remedies or squeeze their spots. Mostly though, you just need to be patient and wait for the acne to go away on its own.


4. Eczema

Baby eczema can be a long-term condition, although many babies tend to outgrow it before the age of one. This is not a pain-free skin condition. Depending on its severity, it could cause the skin to become red, dry and cracked – and itchy. Older babies that scratch their itchy skin could end up with raw, painful patches. The most common form is atopic eczema, which mainly affects babies and children and usually occurs in areas with folds of skin, however eczema could also indicate an underlying allergy. If your baby suffers from eczema, it might be a good idea to consult with an allergy specialist.


5. Nappy rash

Almost every baby suffers from nappy rash at one point or another. Nappy rash is an inflammation of the skin and is caused by several things, including the irritation of urine against the baby’s skin. You will notice that nappy rashes become more prevalent when your little one is teething because of an increase in acidity in their urine. While there is no specific cure for nappy rash, keeping baby dry is essential. If your baby is suffering, try and let them lie in the sun for a few minutes each day without a nappy, and even go bare-bottomed when possible to keep them dry. Barrier creams also protect their bottoms from their own urine in wet nappies.


6. Heat rash

Heat rashes are tiny red bumps or blisters and they flare up when babies start to sweat. It’s important not to overdress your little one, particularly during hot summer days. The good news is that they normally clear up quite quickly.


7. Drool rash

‘Drool rash’ refers to red, sore skin around the mouth and the cheek due to excessive saliva. If you wipe your baby’s mouth after every feed and when they drool – especially when they’re teething – you should be able to avoid it.


8. Cradle Cap

Cradle cap appears as deep-red bumps and yellow crusty scales and flakes on a baby’s scalp, although it can spread to the eyebrows, neck, and shoulders. Without proper treatment it can be very itchy, and some infants may scratch affected areas, which can lead to redness, bleeding, and even an infection.


9. Keratosis pilaris (chicken skin)

Chicken skin looks like your baby’s body is covered in goosebumps. It looks much worse than it is though. It’s completely harmless, very common and shouldn’t bother your little one at all, although there isn’t a cure for it.


10. Slapped cheek syndrome (fifth disease)

Slapped cheek syndrome, also known as fifth disease, is a viral infection that is common in both babies and small children. It causes a fever and a bright red rash on both cheeks. It’s a mild condition that usually passes within a few days. While most babies will not need treatment, you should monitor their temperature and call your paediatrician immediately if their temperature is over 39.5 degrees.


Healthy skin care routines for your baby

Although these conditions are not caused by anything you do (or don’t do), you should still look after your baby’s sensitive skin. Your baby’s skin is much thinner than your own and loses moisture five times faster than you do. It’s therefore important to keep his or her skin barrier healthy and intact.

  • Clean your baby regularly with a gentle baby cleanser that won’t dry out their skin
  • After cleansing, moisturise their skin with a mild moisturiser suitable for their skin
  • This is a great time to massage your baby’s skin and bond with them, and activity that you should both love.