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Baby Acne or Rash? : 5 Types and How to Treat Them

Pictures of Baby Acne

Baby Acne

Baby acne usually develops about two to four weeks after birth. Tiny red or white bumps appear on the baby’s cheeks, nose, and forehead. The cause is unknown, and it typically clears up on its own in about three to four months without leaving marks.

To treat baby acne, don’t use any of the over-the-counter acne products you’d use on yourself. These can damage your baby’s delicate skin.

Regular home care should be enough to treat baby acne:

  • Wash your baby’s face daily with a gentle soap.
  • Don’t scrub hard or pinch the irritated areas.
  • Avoid lotions or oily face products.

If you’re concerned that your baby’s acne isn’t going away, your doctor can recommend or prescribe safe treatments.

Learn more about baby acne

Eczema

Eczema is a skin condition that causes a red, itchy, and sometimes painful rash. It’s more common in children, often developing in the first six months of life. The condition can continue as the child gets older, or your child may grow out of it. In babies up to six months old, eczema often appears on the cheeks, forehead, or scalp. As the baby gets older, the rash may move to elbows, knees, and skin creases.

It flares up when the skin is dry or when it comes into contact with an allergen (e.g. pet dander, dust mites) or other irritant (e.g. detergent or household cleaner). Drooling can also irritate eczema around the chin or mouth.

There is no cure for eczema, but there are ways to manage your baby’s symptoms:

  • Give short baths (between 5 and 10 minutes) and use gentle soap.
  • Use a thick cream or ointment as a moisturizer twice a day.
  • Use fragrance-free laundry detergent designed for sensitive skin.

Your child’s pediatrician may be able to prescribe a steroid ointment to help reduce inflammation. Use this as directed by your doctor.

Milia

Milia are tiny white bumps on a newborn’s nose, chin, or cheeks that look similar to acne. They can also appear on the baby’s arms and legs. The bumps are caused by dead skin flakes becoming trapped near the skin’s surface. Like baby acne, Milia go away without treatment.

However, you can use the same at-home care:

  • Wash your baby’s face daily with a gentle soap.
  • Don’t scrub hard or pinch the irritated areas.
  • Avoid lotions or oily face products.

Learn more about Milia

Cradle Cap

Cradle cap looks like scaly, yellowish, crusty patches on the baby’s head. This usually develops when a baby is two or three months old. There may also be redness surrounding the patches. This rash can appear on the baby’s neck, ears, or armpits as well.

While it doesn’t look pretty, cradle cap isn’t harmful to your baby – it’s not itchy like eczema – and will go away on its own in a few weeks or months without treatment.

Some things you can do at home to control cradle cap are:

  • Wash your baby’s hair and scalp with a gentle shampoo.
  • Brush scales out with a soft bristled hairbrush.
  • Avoid washing hair too often, it will dry out the scalp.
  • Use baby oil to soften the scales so they’re easier to brush out.

Heat Rash

Heat rash is caused when sweat gets trapped under the skin because of blocked pores. It’s usually caused by exposure to hot or humid weather. Babies get tiny red fluid-filled blisters on their neck, shoulders, chest, armpits, elbow creases, or groin.

The rash generally goes away within a few days without treatment. However, if your baby’s rash doesn’t go away, looks worse or infected, or the baby gets a fever, see your doctor.

To avoid overheating, dress your baby in loose-fitting cotton clothing during hot summer months, and take off extra layers if he or she gets too hot in cooler weather.

The 11 Best Diaper Rash Creams

Mongolian Spots

Mongolian spots are a type of birthmark that appear shortly after birth. The spots can range in size, and have a bluish gray color that ranges in darkness. They can be found anywhere on a baby’s body, but are usually seen on the butt, lower back, or back of the shoulder.

The spots are also most common in babies with African, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean or Asian background. They’re harmless and fade over time without treatment.

Outlook

These skin conditions are generally harmless and usually go away on their own with little or no treatment. You can help your baby avoid irritating the area by keeping her nails short and putting soft cotton gloves on her at night.

If you’re concerned, or feel that your child is dealing with something more serious, talk to your pediatrician.

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