Common Baby Skin Ailments and How to Manage Them

November is National Healthy Skin Month, and a great time to talk about baby’s delicate skin.  As a new mom, you may tend to worry about every little mark you see on your baby.  The good news is, you are definitely not alone.  Pediatricians provide parents with the basics of caring for baby’s skin, but what about those other weird skin issues we commonly see? Here are some common baby skin ailments and how to manage them.

Cradle Cap

Although it may be jarring to look at your newborn and see scaly patches or flaky skin on her dainty little head, rest assured it is a common occurrence known as cradle cap that usually goes away within a few months.  Nobody knows what causes cradle cap but we do know it isn’t contagious or a sign of poor hygiene.  For a simple remedy, rub a natural oil (such as almond or olive) on her head and leave it on for about 15 minutes. Before removing the oil, use a soft-bristle baby brush to loosen the flakes then shampoo well to keep her pores open. There is no need to overdo it, shampooing 2-3 times a week will keep her scalp clean and prevent further drying.   Cradle cap usually goes away on its own.

Baby Acne

No, it is not a sign of his teenage years to come, only proof of his connection to you.  Red or white-headed bumps on your baby’s face, or a rash-like appearance, can often appear in his few weeks of infancy.  Pregnancy hormones that cross into the placenta during the last few weeks of pregnancy stimulate a baby’s oil glands, which can sometimes lead to baby acne.  No “treatment″ is usually necessary; simply wash his face with mild baby soap. And remember: less is more- he doesn’t need oils, creams, or harsh scrubbing. Baby Acne usually clears up after a few weeks but in some cases may last until he is 6 months old.


The most common infant rash is diaper rash that is caused by prolonged dampness.  To prevent or clear up diaper rash, be sure to change your baby often.  Also, carefully clean her bottom between diaper changes and ensure the area is completely before putting on a new diaper.  You can also try an over the counter diaper rash treatment. Dr. Greene explains that baby rashes come in many shapes and forms. Just like adults, babies sometimes get rashes because something has irritated their skin. Another possibility of rash like symptoms could be an allergic reaction to a type of food eaten.  As always, if you have any concerns, talk to your doctor.

Caring for Baby Skin

Keep in mind that your baby’s skin is much more fragile than yours. It is less resistant to bacteria and environmental substances, especially if it is irritated.  Here are a few things you can do to protect your baby’s skin:

  •       Use only baby-safe laundry detergents
  •       Do not use adult skin care products on your baby
  •       Use gentle, baby-friendly skin cleansers
  •       Try to use organic products and clothing when possible
  •       Avoid feeding your baby common allergens during his first year of life

Always talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns.

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