Rashes in babies

Is your child’s face covered in white spots or do they have a red ring around their neck?  Rashes in a baby can be pretty scary.  A rash is a reaction of the skin and can be caused by many things: an infection, an allergy, or a drug reaction.  The good news is that most rashes are not dangerous and will fade in time on their own or with a little help from a doctor.

To find out the rash you might be dealing with, check the list below.  If the rash is……..

  • a red rash in the nappy/diaper area of the baby – probably diaper rash. The rash is not usually itchy or painful except when the skin gets so moist it breaks down.  To treat: change diaper/nappy regularly, keep skin protected with a topical cream containing zinc oxide, and allow as much ‘air time’ as possible to allow the skin to dry and  recover.
  • intensely red, raised rash with discrete borders and surrounding “spots”candida rash.  The edges of the rash may have a ring of fine scales.  It is found in the diaper area of both boys and girls, or anywhere moisture remains (like skin folds in the neck).  This diaper rash is a yeast or fungal infection.  It may develop from prolonged diaper rashes.  This rash needs antifungal creams which you can get from your doctor.
  • red, raised bumps or pustules on the faceneonatal acne. This usually starts anytime in the first month or two after delivery and can look very angry. It causes no scarring and will fade away without treatment by the age of two months or so.  It is harmless despite sometimes looking very ugly. It is not associated with teenage acne, eczema, or any long-term skin problems.
  • small, clear or red bumps, often around the neck or where clothes are tight – likely to be prickly heat. Otherwise, known as “heat rash” it is very in the tropics.  It can affect everyone, but it is more common in children due to underdeveloped sweat glands. It rarely causes problems beyond a mild itching, and tends to come and go. Treatment is simple – take off some of their clothing layers and the rash will get clear up on its own within a few days.  Drying powders can help if the rash seems to be lingering or causing problems.
  • small (1 mm) white bumps around the nose, cheeks, and chin of a newborn it is likely to be Milia. It commonly develops at about 2 weeks of age, increases in intensity for 2 weeks and then resolves over the next month. It is not contagious and causes no problems or symptoms.  The bumps won’t cause any scarring on your beautiful baby if you leave them alone.  No treatment is needed.
  • a scaly, greasy, red bumpy rash covering your bubs scalp it is likely to be cradle cap. This rash can also occur behind the ears, in the armpits and in the diaper area.  It is not contagious and will not cause scarring, itching, or any problems at all.   It is not due to poor hygiene, but the exact cause is still unknown.  It will resolve itself if left alone, though it may last for months (or longer in the tropics).  Applying olive oil followed by gentle rubbing with a facecloth to remove the scales can help.
  • Red, itchy, flaky, usually in patches on different areas of the body, it is likely to be eczema. It can cause a baby considerable itching and discomfort.  It can just occur without a known cause, or may be caused by a food allergy (cow’s milk, whether in formula or from a mother’s diet is a very common cause), or a reaction to dust mites/ pets.  Moisturizers can help resolve mild eczema, but if it is more severe, see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and medication to ease the symptoms.

Written By: Dr Hamilton, International Medical Clinic – Paediatric



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