Identifying Your Baby´s Skin Problem
Skin problems are common in babies
An overwhelming majority of baby pictures and images that the public are exposed to, are that of a smiling baby with perfect skin. It is no wonder that new parents are often alarmed when they see their newborn with a rash. In reality, babies rarely have perfect skin, as their skin is extremely thin and vulnerable, and their immune systems are still developing. In addition, it is speculated that the mother´s hormones during late pregnancy to which the baby is exposed to, can cause skin problems such as baby acne. These developments can be distressing for a new parent, however, these problems are actually very common, and usually resolve themselves in time.
Identifying common baby skin problems
While there are a large number of skin conditions or problems that can affect a baby, the only important distinction that a parent needs to know are, whether the baby´s condition can be treated at home, or whether a doctor needs to be contacted. A large number of skin conditions common in babies are actually quite harmless and resolve on their own, however, infections need to be treated with appropriate antibiotics.
Here is a list of the most common skin problems for babies:
Baby acne: An extremely common condition in babies in their first two weeks to about two months. The nose, forehead, cheeks, and chin are often affected. The acne is generally mild, and will resolve without treatment.
Contact Dermatitis: This is a broad category that accounts for allergic reactions as well as more general reactions to irritants. Babies are very sensitive to harsh ingredients as their skin is very thin and vulnerable. You may want to consult your pediatrician if you suspect contact dermatitis, as you may need to make appropriate adjustments for your baby.
Cradle Cap: Also called seborrheic dermatitis, this is a form of dandruff. It can also cause the face to peel with dry skin. This condition generally is self-limited, and resolves on its own.
Diaper Rash: Diaper rashes are common concerns that parents have. A baby´s diaper area becomes swollen due to the irritants such as stool, urine, sweat, and sometimes the diaper itself. Between the irritants, moist environment, and constant friction, the baby´s sensitive skin often reacts. Generally, changing the diaper faster, and allowing some diaper free time will clear this condition.
Eczema: Eczema is a partly hereditary, partly environmental condition that generally resolves on its own with age. With eczema, parts of the baby´s skin becomes dried and irritated, sometimes swelling, causing significant pain, itch, and discomfort. If you or a family member has eczema, hay-fever, or asthma, it is more likely that your baby has eczema. If you suspect eczema, contact your pediatrician for a good management regimen.
Infections: Babies are vulnerable to all sorts of infections from bacteria, fungus, or virus. These infections are generally easy to identify, as it causes a much more severe reaction than most conditions. In many cases, the infection will also make your baby ill, irritable, or lacking in energy. If you suspect that your baby has an infection, call the pediatrician as soon as possible. Most infections will not resolve on their own, and some can cause some serious damage to your baby.
Milia: This is extremely common, affecting up to 50% of newborns. Milia are white bumps that appear on the face. Milia should clear within the first few weeks of the baby´s life as its glands begin to open up.
Prickly Heat: This is a common condition for babies, as their sweat glands are still underdeveloped. When the baby is in a hot and moist environment, their pores may become plugged by dirt or bacteria, causing inflammation. The best defense is to simply keep your baby cool, and well ventilated. This condition is self-limiting, and generally does not require any treatment.
The list is certainly not comprehensive, but covers many of the common skin problems that affect babies. Chances are high that your baby will be affected by a few of these conditions when they are a baby. Most are harmless and temporary, but if the rash becomes severe, or if your baby seems otherwise ill, don't hesitate to call your doctor.