It can be a challenge to figure out what’s going on with your baby’s skin. Because little ones’ skin is so sensitive, a number of concerns can arise. It’s important to treat them as soon as possible to prevent the condition from becoming more serious.
Most of the time, you won’t need to go to the doctor to treat the following skin conditions. Be sure to keep an eye on how they are improving—or potentially worsening—in case you do need to go to the doctor. When in doubt, it’s always worth it to give your baby’s doctor a call. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Here are 3 of the most popular skincare concerns that affect babies and how you should treat them:
1. Diaper Rash
No matter how hard you try to avoid it, diaper rash just happens. It usually occurs when a baby wears a soiled diaper for too long. It makes us moms feel pretty guilty, especially because it’s so uncomfortable for the little one. There are a few ways to prevent diaper rash, like keeping a baby’s diaper clean. Some parents also use warm water to clean the area and then give baby’s bottom time to air out before putting a new diaper on.
Sometimes, you just catch the diaper too late. This is likely to happen when you’re out and about or after a long nap. This leaves the baby with a raw, red bottom and some discomfort. This can be resolved easily in most cases. Pick up a barrier cream like A+D or Desitin. These will soothe the irritated skin and protect against further irritation. You can also apply petroleum jelly on top of the cream to prevent the cream from sticking to the diaper.
It’s also wise to stop using baby wipes while a baby is recovering from a diaper rash. Though they are fairly gentle, the ingredients might dry out the area and cause the rash to worsen. It’s a good idea to use a damp cloth or paper towel instead temporarily.
If the diaper rash gets worse over time or begins blistering, you should call the doctor. You should also contact the doctor if your baby is inconsolable or seems to be in a lot of pain in the diaper area.
2. Baby Acne
Baby acne is fairly common. It starts early on, within the first four weeks of a baby’s life. It’s usually caused by the mother’s hormones throughout pregnancy. Near the end of the pregnancy, these can be transferred across the placenta, which then gives the baby’s skin increased oil production. This causes baby acne. Lots of babies have it and outgrow it within a few months.
As mentioned, acne can appear within the first four weeks of life, but it may last a few months. The good part is that it won’t cause your baby any discomfort, itchiness, or pain. It usually clears up on its own.
It’s important to avoid picking at a baby’s acne. It may cause damage to their sensitive skin and could spread bacteria as well. The best thing to do is cleanse the skin gently with a damp cloth. You can also use cleansers meant for a baby’s sensitive skin once or twice a week. If in doubt, ask your baby’s doctor to be sure what you’re using is okay! Be sure to pat dry and never rub.
You should keep an eye on what irritates your baby’s skin and what doesn’t. For example, some laundry detergents may worsen the acne. Sometimes this is a warning sign to change the baby’s laundry detergent. In reality, the baby’s skin comes into contact with everyone’s clothing within a household. This also applies to the next skin concern, eczema.
Eczema usually appears as rough, dry patches on a baby’s skin. It’s itchy and red. It can occur if a family member has the condition. It’s also sometimes caused by skin barrier issues. There could be a link between asthma or allergies and eczema.
Most of the time when we see eczema on babies, it appears on their cheeks. It can be found in the joints as well, like the elbows and knees. There aren’t any limits as to where it could show up, but those are the most common spots.
By the time children go to elementary school, their eczema has typically cleared up. Sometimes this will last into adulthood. Other times, people simply have dry skin throughout their lives as a result of eczema as a child.
It’s important to find a good moisturizer to use on your baby’s skin. The doctor may have some recommendations, or you can look for one made for babies with eczema. To relieve some of the itchiness, you can run your baby a lukewarm bath. Always pat a baby’s skin dry, as rubbing could cause additional irritation. You may need to swap out more than a few household detergents and soaps. Look for mild options formulated for sensitive skin.