Along with your new bundle of joy come the worrisome and sleepless nights that are common with new parents. Even when you do your best, you tend to take it personally when your infant develops any illness. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your infant gets a skin condition. While the appearance of a rash or bumps can be distressing, the most common skin conditions of infancy are short-lived and minor. Read on for more information on common skin problems that your baby may have.
Looks like: Dry, rough areas that sometimes develop into tiny bumps that ooze clear liquid and become crusty. You will notice this mostly on their cheeks, elbows and knees.
Cause: Usually hereditary, but sometimes the cause is unknown. Baby eczema is a separate condition from adult eczema, and most babies outgrow it as they get older.
Treatment: The key treatment is to add moisture to the skin, since dry skin worsens the symptoms. Look for fragrance free, over-the-counter or prescription creams and use daily. See your dermatologist for badly inflamed skin; an antibiotic may be needed to prevent infection. Some dermatologists use ultraviolet light therapy to treat infant eczema.
Looks like: Appears on the head, behind the ears, cheeks and eyebrows. On the scalp and eyebrows, it appears as white flakes, similar to dandruff. In other areas the skin can be scaly and crusty in patches. It should not itch or be painful for your baby. It is sometimes known as cradle cap.
Treatment: This temporary skin issue can be alleviated with a mild shampoo and a gentle brushing of the scalp areas. It should go away on its own, but using a mild dandruff shampoo can help if it persists. A little olive oil on the scalp can loosen the patches if necessary.
Looks like: Red bumps that cause itching and discomfort. The bumps appear only in certain areas that have come in contact with an irritant.
Cause: Babies can be sensitive to fragrance in laundry detergents, soaps and shampoos, new clothing (that has not been washed), contact with a rug that may contain chemicals, contact with grass that may contain pesticides, and much more.
Treatment: If the area is dry and itchy, use a mild, fragrance-free cream to relieve itching. Hydrocortisone may be used sparingly.
Most of these skin conditions go away with treatment or with time, but you may need to see your dermatologist for more help if the same issues seem to keep reoccurring. Dermatologists, such as Stephen A Switlyk MD, have the specialized knowledge to diagnose and treat any skin problem and will give your baby's skin the care and attention that is needed.